As soon as we laid eyes on Noble Isle, we knew it was a match made in heaven. Fondly known as ‘Britain in a bottle’, this luxury brand travels the length of the country to source the local ingredients that make up its signature scents. Just one bubble bath can transport you anywhere from Yorkshire’s ‘Rhubarb Triangle’ to Scotland’s malted barley fields. We speak to founder, Katy Simpson to find out more.
Katy, at what point did you think I’m going to make bath and beauty products?
I’ve been creative from a young age and enjoy making an idea into something physical. I was working in the fashion industry in my twenties and was given accessories and fragrance to look after. Fragrance turned into gift sets and I found myself really enjoying perfume and packaging. A few years later I applied for a job at a luxury British cosmetics house and that is where I fine-tuned my product development skills in beauty and home. After eight years as Head of Product Development, I was eager to explore my entrepreneurial spirit.
You describe Noble Isle as ‘Britain in a bottle’. How do you go about sourcing all the homegrown ingredients and natural extracts that make up your products?
Luckily, ideas come to me when I see something visually or smell something in nature. I take this idea and research it and once narrowed down, I visit the producers, find out more about them, their story and the raw ingredient, taking photos and samples – I’m then ready to brief into my fragrance house. I send my ‘nose’ (perfumer) a brief about the story, including evocative imagery of the raw ingredient and landscapes. The most exciting part is when the fragrances are presented – closing your eyes and letting the aromas create a story in your mind. Finally, I blend the extracts, fragrance and formulation together to get the final product through my formulator.
Looking back at where you started and where you are now, what’s been your highlight?
More than anything, I really love seeing the end results – a beautifully developed product sitting proudly on the shelves of great British retailers. The cherry on the top, is getting enthusiastic and positive feedback from customers, it makes all the hard work worthwhile. Another highlight was discovering Brad Pitt is a fan of Whisky & Water and requested it in his changing room while on the set of filming ‘Fury’!
You’ll find Noble Isle in the bathrooms of some of the world’s most luxurious boutique hotels. Given that we’re both British brands, where’s your favourite place to escape for a staycation?
I’m a huge fan of the west country and I always seem to end up in Cornwall, near St. Ives and Carbis Bay. I find the scenery and landscape inspiring and very British, you could be nowhere else but the British Isles. The changing weather, rugged coastline, the moors and the sea are wonderful tonics. Due to the landscape, it attracts many artists and I love the cobbled streets of little galleries and pasty shops (I’m a big fan of the traditional Cornish pasty!).
‘I’m a huge fan of the west country and I always seem to end up in Cornwall, near St. Ives and Carbis Bay. I find the scenery and landscape inspiring and very British…’
Your products are the perfect accompaniment to a relaxing night in. How would you spend the dream evening at home with Noble Isle?
One must ‘set the scene’, in order to get the mind into relaxing, so at this time of year, I would start by lighting the Willow Song Candles around the house, dimming the lights and putting on some lounging music. Willow Song is a clean, green, floral with woody base notes fragrance and the overall feeling it creates is peaceful and tranquil, like sitting on a bank of a stream on a summer’s day with a cool breeze and shade provided from a weeping Willow tree.
I would then give myself the luxury of time by having a luxurious bubble bath, using Willow Song Bath & Shower Gel – including a glass of crisp white wine. Baths can be very cooling and tranquil, even during the hot evenings of the summer, if you set a tepid temperature which can help with a good night’s sleep. Once I have the body and mind in a relaxed state, I would watch a movie or read a book or at this time of year, sit in the garden and watch the colours change.
Out of all your lovely lotions, scrubs, candles and scents, what’s your go-to Noble Isle product?
Willow Song is my favourite fragrance – Rose Petal, Ivy, Lily of the Valley and Cedarwood. It is green, fresh and tranquil and reminds me of summer, new beginnings and all the good things that come with a change to a warmer season.
What’s your favourite Crew item?
My office is located in the old building of my house and therefore very cool due to thick walls, so it would have to be my padded lightweight sleeveless gilet, I wear it almost every day in my office over casual and smart clothes.