Linda Pilkington, Founder, Ormonde Jayne
The beginnings of Ormonde Jayne are far from glamorous, started almost by chance and at the time little more than the passionate hobby of an uncompromising perfectionist. Linda’s interest in perfumery started as a teenager, intrigued by the passion and romance of perfume and perfume bottles. This passion led Linda to her first career, growing and selling flowers by the roadside outside her Cheshire family home. She also learnt to make scented candles and bathing oils from craft sets and courses, and created beautiful scented cushions for birthday and Christmas presents.
The following fourteen years were spent travelling and working around the world. With a keen business sense and an eye for detail, Linda gained invaluable experience working in South America, Africa and the Far East, owning and running a boutique hotel, a soya bean farm and even a small chain of ice cream parlours where she created her own exotic ice cream mixtures. It was in these fantastic locations, surrounded by luscious flora and intoxicated by heady scents, that Linda first learnt to appreciate and research exotic oils and essences – an extension of her childhood hobbies.
On returning home, Linda continued with her love of scent and began creating a breathtaking new collection of perfumes which were shown at a London trade show. For two consecutive years, she was awarded the first prize for style and innovation. When later asked to create ‘the perfect scented candle’ for Chanel, she rose to the challenge. It wasn’t long before her inspirational vision thrust her into the limelight. Spurred on by her own demanding standards, Ormonde Jayne’s breathtaking perfume range was born. Each product is passionately created by Linda and bottled and packaged by hand in her London workshop. The Ormonde Jayne perfumery opened on 30th November 2002 in London’s Old Bond Street.
In order to be a successful luxury entrepreneur what are three pieces of advice you would give?
Excellent customer services – treat your clients like an A1 celebrity.
Knowledge, know the intricate detail of every product, down to what time the flower was picked.
Stick to your style and philosophy, proper craftsmanship and luxury doesn’t follow trends.
What are the most important lessons you have learned along your journey?
Don’t over stretch yourself. Understand challenges ahead, so babysit the cash flow appropriately, I expanded too fast but managed to dig myself out of a hole.
What are the watch outs along the way?
If it seems too good to be true, it normally is. Check big sales, there are a lot of gangsters.
When you were started out who was your biggest inspiration? And what did they tell you that helped make you a success?
I was always a bit slow, liked to do everything myself but Walpole gave me advice, introduced me to many people and I had a great mentor, James Henderson of Bell Pottinger. Business began to take shape after that. James was very proactive and opinionated, but it was what I needed.