How does someone who studied Philosophy and Aesthetics at King's College end up in the world of perfumes? How does an English designer end up founding a French perfume house? James Heeley is the answer to both questions.
James Heeley landed on the world of perfumery by chance. He was not sure which path to follow after university and he moved to Paris. He did not speak a word of French, so he took on graphic design —that was a visual job, no need to master the passé composé.
His career in graphic and product design was a success. He launched his own line of objects, furniture, lamps, and accessories in Paris, and then thought that maybe a perfume would fit in that collection. To him, design has its own language in its own world, and so does perfumery, so he began to explore. First, he learned the basics at the APF laboratory in Grasse. He learned about the importance of raw materials, blends... In the process, he came up with the idea of what would become his first launch. Menthe Fraiche shock the market in 2006. Years later, Heeley is one of the most interesting signature perfume houses.
Born in Yorkshire but living in Paris, James Heeley is a rarity in this industry, especially in Europe. Founder and sole owner of the house, he is absolutely free and autonomous to create his own formulas and update them in time.
Heeley enjoys the best of both worlds, the English and the French. France is the cradle of modern perfumery, but it was in the Victorian era that many scientific breakthroughs were made in the industry. Heeley’s fragrances speak of one and the other alike.
Heeley’s collection is best characterized as clean and fresh, even in the presence of woods or spices. There is always a fresh note. One other thing in common is the outstanding quality of the raw materials. And perhaps the most remarkable fixed value of the house is that his fragrances are designed with neither men nor women in mind.
By the way, Heeley is also responsible for the design, packaging and brand image of the house. Meet James Heeley.