“A product needs to perform, but if it can do so with a little poetry, so much the better." These are the words of Dennis Paphitis, founder of Aesop, in an interview for The Talks. These words define what Aesop means. And yes, Aesop is pronounced I-soap.
This Australian brand founded in 1985 has never taken itself for an original brand. On its website, a quote by Carlyle reads: "The merit of originality is not novelty; it is sincerity." Aesop does what other brands do: they create effective and enjoyable products. This means the what is relatively common. The important thing then is the how, and that how is simply enveloping. Every millimeter of the (much copied) packaging corresponds to one decision made. Zadie Smith writes about Aesop in her magazine. The stores, those stores we look for in maps and always visit, have been designed by no others than Snøhetta, Luca Guadagnino, the Campana brothers... The amber colour of the bottles, the tubes, the typeface (Helvetica and Optima) and the messages, everything in Aesop is just unmistakable.
Aesop generates an unusual form of loyalty in cosmetics, a treacherous territory by nature. If not, listen to those who use the Resurrection Aromatic Hand Wash or the Geranium Leaf Body Cleanser. When Aesop does something, they do it consciously. They do not follow trends —if anything, they set the trend.
Aesop makes formulations for skin, hair, body, fragrances and home. There is a whole universe here. Everything is produced obsessively, selecting the most exquisite ingredients, testing and retesting, adapting the release frequency to avoid flooding the market. Everything is easy to use, enjoyable and, of course, very effective —Aesop dedicates between 2 and 10 years to formulate each product. So rest assured, you’ll find good cosmetics inside that packaging.
Paphitis goes on to say in that same interview: "I like ideas and products that reveal themselves slowly – more whisper than scream, something that becomes part of our own personal universe.” Aesop users know what that means. Aesop makes good company, it integrates into your life and home with no distortion, like that old friend coming to visit.