We met Alex from Haeckels, a natural fragrance and skin care brand we had worked with to develop a custom room fragrance for our concept shop, in their boutique at the Ace Hotel in Shoreditch. It was founded in 2012 by his friend Dom Bridges, who at the time was working in advertising and was dismayed by the synthetic ingredients used by the skincare companies he worked with.
The aha moment came during a trip to China and realising the seaweed was valued there, often eaten as part of a meal. A stark contrast compared to back home in Margate (an old British seaside resort that had gone deserted with time but is seeing a resurgence of artists and artisans lately), where locals complain about the seaweed that just lays there on the beach, unused and rotting.
“You can eat every type of seaweed in the world,” Alex explains. “They’re all high in vitamins. It’s all about uses and how they taste. So he looked into what he knew about: skincare. He decided to start making soaps in his kitchen, looking up recipes on YouTube and googling everything.”
Dom’s friends were quick to request more than his beautiful soaps and he started to develop “a skincare range, haircare, everything that goes onto skin or hair is seaweed based. The he started to get into home fragrance, which is all plant based.”
Wondering what the numbers on the perfume bottles are? They’re the GPS locations of where the plants used in one particular fragrance were found. Alex points out that “the names are less important than the documenting. If I give you perfume and say that it’s rose, you're going to smell the rose.”
In Haeckels parlance, their boutique at the Ace Hotel in Shoreditch would be 51°31’33”N 0°4’40”W, whereas our studio in Somerset House is 51°30’38”N 0°7’4”W. And what would that smell like? Somerset House is near the river and you can breathe, so it would have notes of “water, open air and wooden doors” while the more concentrated Shoreditch area reminds Alex of “food, sweat and concrete.”
Since neither of these have been bottled yet, you can find Haeckels perfumes here, for Valentine’s day or literally any day of the year.