Bespoke Aroma - fragrances from the Lake District
PUBLISHED: 00:00 13 January 2016 | UPDATED: 10:30 14 January 2016
The word is out about a Windermere woman with a passion for natural ingredients, writes Jane Watson
When Jo Evans opens the door to her home in Windermere the most amazing perfumes greet you. Waves of lavender, chamomile and rose usher you over the threshold into what seems like the most relaxing home in the Lake District.
But this isn’t the home of a woman obsessed with air fresheners - in between looking after two young children, Jo runs a business that is surrounded by the sweet smell of success.
Bespoke Aromas are produced in her kitchen-cum-workshop, where she creates new scents. She is surrounded by all kinds of fruit, seeds and herbs in little dishes, where they are tested to check the strength of aroma and to see which work together.
‘I had a friend who was battling an illness and struggling to find a mild product she could safely use on her skin,’ says Jo. ‘ I began researching which essential oils were the best for different skin types and needs – it was a fascinating journey looking at base oils, butters, waxes, as well as herbs, spices and all the combinations and how they help our skin care.
‘I enjoyed it so much, I became a qualified aromatherapist and began developing a range, which led to the launch of my brand of natural bath and body products in January 2014.’
She and her husband, Paul, moved to Windermere in 2010 and she was able to work with the team developing the prestigious Lake House Jetty Spa at the Gilpin Hotel. ‘It was a wonderful place to develop my skills in the luxury market and get an understanding of the quality people demanded in skin care and in scented, aromatic products. It really inspired me to want to do something like that as my own business.’
Her range includes six hand-creams and complimentary bath tea infusions, facial oil, a selection of pulse point oils and a lip balm. All ingredients are carefully researched ensuring not only a wonderful aroma, but customers can be assured they are suitable for all types of skin conditions such as dry skin and eczema.
‘This summer I added a new brand to the range – ‘Bespoke Active’ – for people in the outdoors and adventurous types. We’re an outdoor family who are always out and about in our camper van, so I came up with a lip balm ‘Clip Balm’ which is 100% natural and on a karabiner which hooks onto rucksacks, bags, coats etc and is going down really well.
‘I continue to look for new herbs and scents to fit my range, and you might see me foraging around, and trying out different combinations to see how they work. My friends and family are the guinea pigs as I try lots of new things on them – they don’t seem to mind!’
Her Bath Tea infusions were recently shortlisted for the ‘Free From’ Skincare awards in London, 2015 along with 300 other entrants. The judges loved the originality of the product, and described her as an exciting newcomer to the business.
Jo is now working with Andrew Wildsmith, who owns the Rybeck and Hipping Hall hotels, and the Forest Side in Grasmere. She and head chef Kevin Tickle and his team select a special blend of garden scents inspired by the landscaped gardens at Forest Side and will be working together to create a ‘house blend’ which will then be made into Bath Tea Infusions and soap for the rooms at the three hotels.
‘My toiletries are Soil Association certified organic and I’m working on ‘de-mystifying ingredients’ – keeping things as simple as possible,’ she says. ‘My soaps have simple ingredients such as olive oil, coconut oil, shea butter and pure essential oils. I am also developing a mild, unscented aloe soap for sensitive and problem skins. It’s a really exciting time for me and I want to keep slowly building my business in the right way - its always about the quality of the ingredients.’
You’ll find Jo’s products out and about in the Lakes: Low Sizergh Barn, Gear, Love the Lakes, Detail, Yew Tree Barn, Brockhole, Beetham Nurseries, Cedar Manor Hotel, Shades of Green Kirkby Lonsdale, and at www.bespokearoma.co.uk