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Wonder Woman Wednesday: Jane Helliwell

Jane Helliwell, owner of scent styling service Champagne & Flamingos, is next up in our Wonder Woman Wednesday series…

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Jane Helliwell from Champagne and Flamingos
Jane Helliwell from Champagne and Flamingos

Tell us a bit about your brand

Champagne and Flamingos is a luxury scent styling service that pairs signature scents for couples’ wedding days.

Learn more about fragrancing your boutique here.

After a process of consultations with the couple, the selected scent is weaved through the wedding day using candles, diffusers and scented ceramics, creating new and lasting memories for both the couple and their guests.

All products are hand poured in-house and perfectly matched to the colour and theme of the wedding. Scent styling is also available for branding in business, corporate events and interiors.

How about your personal background?

I grew up in a beautiful part of the country, the Peak District. I left school at the age of 16 without many GCSEs and the idea that I wanted to go into the police force, but my father wouldn’t let me!

In 1991 I set off to London and worked with a company called Steiner. That led me onto a 35-year-long career, where I worked for reputable international hair care companies as a Technical Manager and then went on to own three successful hair salons.

I was briefly the proprietor of a woman’s boutique, stocking occasionwear, but unfortunately, I opened this just as we went into recession in 2008. I managed two and a half years before I had to close the business. Owning this business taught me tremendous valuable lessons - more than any of my successful salons.

Find out more about the importance of fragrance by reading Amanda Connock’s Wonder Woman Wednesday.

What inspired you to set up your own scent styling service?

In 2016 I wanted a complete career change. I have always been intrigued by scent and the memories they trigger. As a lover of fine fragrance and candles, I researched and did endless testing to produce my first candle, and then went on to produce luxury home fragrances.

Why is it important that couples fragrance their big day?

Scenting a wedding day adds a touch of luxury and personalisation, whilst it also creates an emotional reminder because when we smell something we link it to an experience.

We all have an olfactory bulb and an area in the brain called the limbic system, this is associated with the memory and emotions and this is the reason why we can instantly be transported back to someone or somewhere.

Read Maddie Dawkins’ Wonder Woman Wednesday profile to learn more about the importance of creating great ambience in your boutique.

Why is it important that bridal boutiques scent their shops?

Shopping for a wedding dress is one of the most memorable shopping experiences in a brides’ life. In an ever-competitive market, boutiques need to give more of a retail experience; these days it’s no longer enough to offer a sofa and a glass of champagne, they need to differentiate themselves from the rest.

Scenting the boutique will create a unique and memorable environment and a connection on a deeper level, making the customer more likely to refer others to the boutique.

How can this impact the brides’ buying experiences?

It takes 15 seconds for a customer to decide whether they want to stay in a shop. Creating a subtle scent will make brides want to linger for longer.

Also, scent has a positive effect on mood and will change how the bride looks at products as well as how they feel. Scent enhances the whole experience, creating long-lasting memories.

Read more: Wonder Woman Wednesday: Rosanna Garden

What are your secrets to success?

Work hard and constant research. I also keep my standards high; I pride myself on using only the finest ingredients in all my products.

It’s also important to surround yourself with like-minded people who support you. Be open to suggestions whilst remaining on your path. And trust your gut instinct, it’s usually right.

What’s your greatest achievement so far?

My greatest achievement with Champagne and Flamingos is the satisfaction of building a premium, luxurious brand from scratch.

The feelings of joy when complimented by clients and customers also feel great.

Read more: Wonder Woman Wednesday: Kirsty Voce

What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned since starting your business?

Don’t try to do everything yourself; this frees up time for you to do what you are good at.

I have also learned to say ‘no’ sometimes and be more aware of what will work for my brand.

Who is your greatest female inspiration?

I admire many women, in fact, any woman who has determination in business because it takes strength, passion and perseverance to maintain your place. I also admire women who make or have made a difference to the world in many ways, like Mother Theresa or Florence Nightingale.

Also, one of my longest clients in hairdressing, a lady called Margaret, she always seemed very wise and helped me see things in perspective.

Read more: Wonder Woman Wednesday: Regine Ellis

What’s your favourite part of your job?

I love the challenge of pairing a scent to either a couple or a business. I also love the times when I am pouring the candles or producing the products, it’s very calming as well as giving me immense satisfaction.

What does a typical working day look like?

I don’t have a routine; each day is different. My day could be research and admin, or it could be pouring candles and producing products, or I could be travelling somewhere in the UK to see couples or clients.

I like variation, and I am not good at working from the same place every day.

Read more: Wonder Woman Wednesday: Sanyukta Shrestha

Can you tell me five interesting facts about yourself?

  1. I jumped out of a plane at 12,000 feet for charity and one day I will wing walk!
  2. I do Épée fencing - it’s the only active sport I enjoy but I can be a bit lapsed at times for going to the club.
  3. I have a love for champagne and my friends call me Champagne Jane. I am also fascinated by pink flamingos – can you tell where my business name comes from?
  4. I have travelled all over the world, including sailing down the Amazon and going to the Antarctic.
  5. I am a fully qualified hairdresser, I have owned three successful salons and won Apprentice of the Year in the 1980s.

Interested in finding out more? Read Tara Derakshan’s Wonder Woman Wednesday profile to find out about her innovative fragrance brand, Sniph, and why this expert thinks it’s important for couples to fragrance their big days.

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