On Sunday morning at Columbia Road, as the flower sellers entreat you to exchange your pounds for “Tulips, Daffs and Roses,” and the smell of freshly cut stems and even fresher espresso from the rows of boutique coffee shops pull you through the crowds, there is somewhere else your nose should really take you.
Angela Flanders Perfumery has been a presence on Columbia Road since 1985. Behind the beautiful Victorian shop front, Angela herself is there to advise you each Sunday on the perfumes she has lovingly made at a workshop on site, and I would really recommend the experience.
If you’re visiting on a different day, then let me direct you to Angela’s other shop on Artillery Row, close to Spitalfields Market. This is where I found myself last week, accompanied by my friend and Angela Flander’s devotee. We’d heard that Angela Flanders had just launched a new scent, Breath of Hope Eau de Perfume and we needed to see … or smell at least … what the fuss was about.
Well the scent was delicious, there is no other word. Fresh and spring like, with plenty of warmth to brighten up a rainy day. As we ambled round the shop, admiring the scented candles, shower products and gorgeous little bottles of Angela Flander’s labelled perfume, our shop keeper told us a little more about the Angela and what makes the shop so special.
A former costume designer for the BBC, Angela set up her first shop on Columbia Road, restoring the Victorian store to its original glory. Soon after opening, Angela started attracting clients from across the world, all after something special from London. She also gained industry recognition in 2007 when her scent Figue Noire was nominated for a FiFi Award by the UK Fragrance Foundation. In 2012, Precious One was awarded the FiFi for Best New Independent Fragrance. Also in this year Angela expanded her business, setting up her second shop on Artillery Row, still in East London. All her perfumes continue to be made onsite at Columbia Road.
Marketing is limited, so it’s word of mouth or one of the glowing reviews you might find in the paper that will lead you into the shop. Angela always wants the scents to win you over, and they certainly do.
So what to buy? Well for those peeps that you might not know well enough to choose their perfume, how about one of the delicious scented candles, which would make a nice edition to a warm bath at the end of the day. Or, if you visiting London with your loved one, why not tell them how special they are with some Precious One Eau de Parfum? For me though, in need of some sunshine this February, the Breath of Hope is on my wish list.
Megan Donnelly is a writer and former Londoner, currently residing at London-by-Sea, or Brighton as it’s otherwise known. You can read more about her travels at: