The sweet aroma of roses fills the room…as I sit at the table, I gaze at the white avalanche roses which have been beautifully arranged by Lauren. With beautiful soft white petals and a subtle hint of green on the outer petals, the roses stand tall, are fully open and look stunning. Lauren’s personal favourite are the pink sweet avalanche roses, but today she has opted for a simple and natural display, with a selection of foliage and a few elegant white roses.
I have been invited to Islington, London to meet Lauren Rogers-Martin and learn about the lady behind the romantic British Brand – Lola Darcy. Her Islington based Studio is welcoming and the smell of candles brings a warmth, which is delightful on this cool April day.
Lauren gracefully makes her way to the table with a teapot full of Fortnum & Mason Darjeeling Tea, “the champagne of teas” as Lauren calls it. Lauren is dressed in an elegant, fitted while polo neck dress and nude Christian Louboutins. As she pours the tea I catch just a glimpse of a classic medi Rolex, which singly pops out when Lauren moves about.
Lauren takes a seat opposite me and smiles, I catch a sweet fragrance and ask Lauren what perfume she is wearing. “Taif Rose by Roja Dove.” Her face lights up and her eyes dance with excitement. “I am a massive fan of Roja Dove and his work, so I treat myself to a couple of sprays a few times a week. It makes me feel sophisticated and fills me with confidence. Strange that a perfume can do that.”
Before arriving at Lauren’s home, I had spent my train journey running through the questions I had prepared, I had felt a little nervous, as this was my first interview of this sort, but in her presence I find myself at ease and as if I were having a cup of tea with a friend. So I turn over the page and start with the one question I’m dying to ask. Lauren is already a successful Interior Designer, Property Consultant and Fine Artist. Why create Lola Darcy? “I am a hopeless romantic and a believer of happily ever after.” The passion in Lauren’s voice is evident. “Its learning to dream, and dream big and love unconditionally. Lola Darcy started with a story, a story of classic British Romance. Long courtship, love letters, roses, fine fragrances. The way our grandparents would have dated. I want to bring this classic romance into our today.” I ask what inspired the creation of Lola Darcy. “Love films. Really old love films such as; High Society with Frank Sinatra and Grace Kelly, Gone with the Wind with Vivian Leigh and The Sound of Music. Growing up, my Grandmother loved Danielle Steel and would tell me about the characters in her books and what they were up to.” Lauren is beaming as she draws upon memories and pauses before continuing. “Later in life, books like The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the film Great Expectations and my favourite poem Immortal Beloved by Beethoven. At university, my paintings were all heavily floral and romantic, borderline kitsch actually. My dissertation was based around the economics of courting. So I guess all of the above inspired me to create the characters Lola and Darcy.
This leads me onto my next question – who is Lola and Darcy? “Good question. Lola is you and me, or any woman around the world and Darcy is the man we call boyfriend, husband or life long friend. Lola to me is sophisticated, likes the finer things and loves London. She's social and confident but also enjoys her own company. Darcy is the classic English Gentleman, Chelsea type, calm, refined, well spoken and is completely and utterly in love with his Lola. Through their growing relationship, Darcy spoils Lola, with beautiful gifts, candles, flowers etc. The fragrances transform them back to different moments in their ever growing relationship. We use sketches to portray this, because Lola and Darcy can be any of us. It is a state of mind.”
On the table in front of me are of the Lola Darcy Candles. As I pick up one of the beautiful candles and admire the little black bow. I’m curious why Soy Based Candles? “I have a sweet tooth and I find it hard to say no to unhealthy foods, but deep down its very important to me to try and live a healthy life in every way I can. I didn’t want to create a product which would effect our health or the environment. Soy Wax is natural, GM free and completely clean burning. Plus, it has fantastic fragrance holding qualities. So you actually get a stronger scented candle whilst being health friendly.”
The candle I am holding is the Marylebone Soy Candle. I ask Lauren how she captures a scent into a candle. How does she go from inspiration to a finished product? “ I am in a long term love affair with London and I am married to English history.” Lauren laughs. “This city inspires me everyday. Marylebone is our first fragrance which is based around a feeling. A state of mind. I wanted it to be sweet but strong with a glamorous flare. We are moving away from our traditional scents such as Lola Loves Fresh Linen
and creating our own signature fragrances later this year. I am really excited.”
Having personally never made a candle before, I ask Lauren how long it takes her to typically create a candle. “It doesn't take long, its like baking your favourite cake, you know exactly how much or even how little sugar to add to make it perfect, because you’ve made it so many times before.” The word perfect stands out to me. I ask Lauren if she is a perfectionist. “Perfectionist? Errr, when it comes to the packaging yes, 100%. I love gift wrapping and we are definitely known for going that extra mile in this department.”
Lauren’s candles are compared to those of Jo Malone. If you’ve read her story you will know she went from making products in her kitchen to being the brand she is today. Lauren reminds me of Jo Malone. Lauren creates all of her candles at her Studio here in Islington or at her mother’s home in Palmers Green. Lauren grew up in Southgate/Palmers Green in North London with her mother. Her father passed away when she was 6. I ask her what her favourite childhood memory is and what scent transports her back to this memory. “Whenever I smell the combination of sandalwood, oak, moss, a touch of vanilla and a lavender twist, it can only be the iconic and popular 60s scent BRUT by Faberge Paris. It instantly transforms me back to my late grandad who would get all dressed up in his Shirt-jack (a light jacket cut, has a short sleeve shirt with four pockets). His aftershave would fill the entire house and linger long after he had left.”
The memories of her grandad have left a smile on her face. I ask Lauren who her biggest inspiration in life is. “My Grandmother and Mother. Known to me as Nana and Mum. They are my biggest cheerleaders. Their love showed me how to love unconditionally.” Although I hardly know Lauren. Just sitting here drinking tea with her, I feel I have known her for years. I ask her what what her favourite thing to do in London is. What doe she do when she isn't working? “ I am such a home bug. I love chilling snuggled under a duvet watching bad TV and exploring Instagram.” She giggles. I ask Lauren if she likes to travel and whether travel inspires her creativity. “Love love love travelling. India, Grenada, Dubai. All these places take me to that happy place where I can create freely.”
My attention is drawn back to the Lola Darcy candles and I ask Lauren which stores in London stock Lola Darcy and where she would like to take the Lola Darcy love story to globally? “We are stocked in a number of shops around London. Outside of London, we would like to be stocked in the US and UAE. I am in love with Dubai.”
I ask what the aspirations for Lola Darcy are. “That would be telling.” Lauren shoots me a cheeky smile. “It would be a personal achievement to see our range in Harrods.” Everything about the way Lauren dresses and the beautiful interiors of the room ooze with Luxury. It is clear to see Lola and Darcy is a Luxury Brand which Lauren has created from inspiration in her life. “ There isn't one Luxury Brand that has influenced me more than another. All of the high end brands, Gucci, Hermes,
Louis Vuitton all provide their customers with over the top luxury packaging. It was important to me to provide my customers the same experience but without the heavy price tag.”
All of these brands are made up of teams, teams far bigger than Lola Darcy is currently. “Officially it is just me. But actually we count our freelance Photographers, Event Staff, Creative Directors, Illustrators, Social Media help and Fragrance House as part of our team. We are always looking for new creative souls to collaborate with. It makes the journey that bit more interesting.”
As the flicker of the burning King Charlie’s Pineapple and Vanilla Candle catches my eye, I ask Lauren what her favourite Lola Darcy candle is. “Our new range definitely contains my favourite fragrance. But you will have to wait and see…” Does that mean we can expect a new Lola Darcy candle soon? “Yes, a few. We are getting all sophisticated and grown up.” Lauren smiles proudly.
I’m excited to see where the Lola Darcy love story will take us next, whether their relationship continues to flourish here in London or whether Lola Darcy will make an appearance overseas. What I do know is that, the lady behind Lola Darcy is driven and full of passion and she has only just gotten started.
Written by: NISHA PATEL
Photography: KERIA COURTT
*Get intouch if you would like to write our next blog!