What with the Beauty Project and the excellent Fragrance Lab and the evening lectures on looking Hot at 100, I feel as if I’ve been living at Selfridges recently. I returned again last week to meet Bella Crane, founder and hard working innovator behind the Bella Bellissima range of fragrances.
Now, I’d never heard of Bella’s range, despite it being seven years old and regularly being in the top three of the best performing fragrance brands on Selfridges beauty floor. Often she is THE best selling brand. Now just take a moment to think about what else is being hard peddled on the fragrance floor; Chanel, Dior, Giorgio Armani, Jo Malone, Tom Ford. Bella frequently beats them all. I know. That’s some achievement from a relatively unknown brand.
The range is beautiful, using high quality and well balanced combinations of ingredients. But Bella -unusually- spends a lot of her time on the shop floor talking to her customers. If you go to find her brand (it’s one of the first ones you encounter if you go through the main doors at Selfridges on Oxford Street) the chances are she’ll be there serving. Or maybe you’ll meet her in Manchester. Now in retail, people usually can’t wait to get off the retail floor into ‘management’ positions away from the pesky consumer. When Bella told me how she loves serving her customers and being behind the counter, I could have hugged her. I think her success reflects this real knowledge of her customer.
Another reason she’s done so well is that she is completely exclusive to Selfridges, which is something the Selfridges fragrance customer seems to like, she’s like their secret. Well we’re blowing the cover here at TWR and suggest you go and try Bella’s range as soon as possible. After a mass sniff-in last week, I got Bella to suggest where to start….
The first fragrances she launched were the Perfect Range, well priced for the quality at £48 and all delightful. Middleagedad or teen sons should try The Perfect Man Alternative cologne, a herby, citrusy wash of summery sunshine. Each of Bella’s perfumes smell consistently the same on your skin, that is they don’t start off smelling of one thing and then change half way through to something else as the perfume develops. She thinks that’s just not what customers want, so what you smell is what you get, with no late-arriving surprises, which makes sense to me.
My favourites came from the Eau de Parfum Signature Intense range, the Vetiver Spice, at £74, a really good, fresh, non-soapy vetiver that I would end up nicking off Middleagedad if I bought it for him and Orris Florentina, £110, a really unusual iris based, warm floral that is highly addictive.
Bell’a Essence of Oud Parfum range has many fans among Selfridge’s discerning middle eastern customers, who really know their fragrances. The best seller is Noble Incense £148, and I’m inhaling it deeply as I write this, it’s like a drug, an oud for people who don’t like them too heavy or overpowering. Totally delicious.
I recommend a trip in to visit the Bella Bellissima counter if you want a really helpful guide to finding yourself a beautiful new fragrance from a quality source. The perfumes last for ages on the skin. And before you know it, Bella will be the next fragrance ‘big name’ and you will be ahead of the curve. You’re very welcome.