Bricks and Mortar: Peony Haute Parfumerie

By Catherine Harvey Straight away, I feel the need to confess two things - Firstly, I must admit that I have never been an avid wearer of perfume and, secondly, that after I left Peony I really did want to keep this store my own little secret!

Jill Timms started Peony Haute Parfumerie nearly ten years ago and it is clearly evident that her passion for artisan perfumery has remained strong. Rather than stocking mass produced fragrance brands, her store contains (as she calls it) "a curated collection of historical and contemporary brands."

Photo - Catherine Harvey

Jill is a self professed 'storyteller' and after spending only a short time in her store, it is the stories behind the fragrances and their creators that adds another dimension to the experience. There are so many brands in this store that are unique, such as: James Heeley - one of the few owner-founders of a luxury perfume house in Europe, Olfactive Studio - where perfumeurs have teamed up with photographers to draw inspiration from their works and also Naomi Goodsir - who had previously spent more than a decade being a milliner creating couture hats prior to turning her talents to perfume. Jill shares their stories and invites you into a sensory experience that is quite captivating.

Photo - Catherine Harvey

Whilst in the store, I had a brief perfume consultation where Jill chose a selection of scents to ascertain which fragrances I preferred. After all, perfume is an emotional purchase and one that differs for each individual. There were quite a few scents that I actually liked but didn't feel quite reflected my personality - a realisation that made me aware I had never put much thought into the perfume I wore.

Jill discusses with me that it's about translating the purchase of a perfume into your everyday reality. And this is where the skill and expertise of Jill comes to the forefront. Whether it is based on your career, your upcoming wedding or purely your love for wearing perfume, Peony provides a personalised service that takes into account individual tastes and circumstances.

Jill has created a retail experience that feels as though she has allowed you into her own private sanctuary. An experience that you can't buy online and also an experience that would be difficult to replicate.

Photo - Catherine Harvey

Photo - Catherine Harvey

I left the store with more knowledge than I walked in with, a greater appreciation for the creators themselves and a newfound love for the scent I had purchased (Still Life by Olfactory Studio). I was a completely  happy and satisfied customer - and how rare is that these days?

So now I have shared my 'secret' store with you and my new perfume has now become like my favourite pair of jeans - we are rarely apart. As to Peony Haute Parfumerie, I am now a customer for life.

Peony Haute Parfumerie, 107 Auburn Road Hawthorn 3122. Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 10-5pm, Saturday 10-4pm.

Catherine Harvey lives and breathes design. Working at one of Melbourne’s top studio’s, she is rarely ever away from her computer. She loves to keep up to date with the design industry in a global and local context and follows too many blogs to count! You can follow her findings here.