2019 has been a very exciting year, celebrating 15 years of Ancienne Ambiance in June and then November marking five years of the Ancienne Ambiance boutique opening in Chelsea Green. To celebrate these extra special occasions, we’ve put together five top Ancienne Ambiance facts.
Read on to explore and perhaps discover a few things you didn’t already know about us…
In her final year of Uni doing a product development degree, Director Adriana Carlucci began turning an obsession for scented candles and fragrance into reality. Inspired by ancient scents, Adriana launched her six candle collection the same week she graduated in 2004. Initially given a small category for the candles in her family’s online ancient art gallery and later jewellery, within a year Adriana had her own website. Teaming up with good friend, talented jeweller Claire van Holthe, they collaborated on a small collection of jewels with ancient beads and amulets. Ancient artefacts which were authentic and beautiful, they differed from pieces Adriana’s parents’ gallery offered and the concept of ‘wearable’ history came to mind. Claire has an expert eye for working with stones, so you’re immediately drawn to them- and these pieces sold to some wonderful collectors.
As Adriana shares:
“Some people find it funny the shop came 10 years after the website. It’s hard to believe the shop opened 5 years ago, time has flown by. My stepdad/mentor was urging me to open the shop earlier, but I knew the timing had to be right, as the venture would require much more from myself in time, energy and creativity. The shop location fell through a couple of times, but it all worked out in the end and at the right time.”
Now a luxury goods brand specialising in sublime Candles, Jewellery, Home Fragrance, Face and Bodycare, plus Niche Perfumes and Lifestyle Accessories, the Ancienne Ambiance journey continues to evolve.
Candles are sought after throughout the year and even in Summer our savvy customers appreciate luxurious home fragrance. Imperium is a timeless classic which appeals to just about everyone, but equally popular are the Tuberosa and Romana scents.
On the face and bodycare front, Goddess Oil (which turned 10 this year!) and Goddess Argan Soap, followed by Rosa Jasminum Salts and Signature Bath Body Oil each hold a place on the Ancienne Ambiance bestsellers list.
Finally, Colonia Nine EDP is the most beloved scent for clients. And, funnily enough, it is the fragrance Adriana initially thought would sell the least!
A little-known fact is that Adriana’s childhood dream was to become a ballet dancer or window dresser (possibly influenced by the iconic film Mannequin). Nine year old Adriana wrote to several London stores to ask if she could come in to learn how they did their windows. Indeed one large store wrote back and she was allowed the day off school for a fun “visual merchandising” experience.
The first Ancienne Ambiance shop window themes showcased ancient artefacts- from a beautiful 2000 yr old Roman marble head to Etruscan pottery and even Egyptian relics c. 5000 yrs old. The windows evolved into mini in-store exhibits designed to celebrate occasions and events, for example the Greek and Roman Ancient glass display when we launched La Soufflerie glassware in-store, stunning Ancient jewellery for the launch of Jewellery collections in-store and Ancient perfume bottles during National Fragrance Week.
Some windows are planned 6-12 months in advance, while others are finalised just the day before- on occasion Adriana has scrapped a whole idea last minute if it doesn’t feel right. That is how important reflecting the Ancienne Ambiance ethos and brand ideas will always be. Working seasonally, an ancient element is intertwined and other creatives enhance the wider vision too. Working alongside Carly Rogers and her team of floral artists boosts baseline Ancienne Ambiance ideas, adding in their own unique fresh style. Also, French artist OlivierR helped put the ‘graffitti’ columns idea in place. Looking to specialist printers for other elements of decor, such as the Roman mosaic imagery and neon orange Autumn leaves used in the recent AW19 display, we constantly want to maximise creative flair. Continuing in the same vein for 2020, Adriana explains she is always on the look-out for new artists to work with.
Beginning with chic, simple branding, this featured an ancient column logo and our first candle glasses even had real golf leaf print. Purple came when designing gift boxes. Exploring different ideas, burgundy red papers were an initial thought because of tones used in Ancient Rome. Purple was then discussed due to its widespread use across ancient cultures so integral to the brand, such as Egyptians and Phoenicians. In those ancient times, it was a rare and costly dye to make. As a result, Adriana felt purple perfectly summarised Ancienne Ambiance’s opulence, beautifully standing out for branding.
Over time, the single column became a wraparound print before being dropped altogether. Now featuring in a completely different way, columns are represented by artwork in the shop’s main wall. Created by Canadian-based American artist Kathryn Lipke, she took a mould of a real Roman capital from Adriana’s family’s collection and made the artwork in papier mache (her specialism). It is a show-stopping sight to behold, with people often thinking it is a real column set into the wall.
Finally, the logo underwent a complete refresh a few years ago and that is what you see now. Taking the A’s from the old logo and pushing them together into an AA pyramid, this represents our Ancienne part. Sticking to luxe simplicity, the Ambiance sits neatly below. Working over several years to reach the right branding has mirrored Ancienne Ambiance’s passion and attention to detail.
We’re so thrilled to be part of the brilliant Chelsea Green community and Adriana’s favourite place is within the shop and chatting to clients. Regularly asked when the next Ancienne Ambiance shop will open, this has never been part of the plan, with Adriana explaining, “Small and exclusive doesn’t translate with multiple locations, so I don’t envisage another store in the UK”.
Focusing on the feel-good factor of ensuring clients can find what they’re looking for, Adriana shares her most common in-store request to be those buying a gift for their “very chic friend”. This never fails to delight us at Ancienne Ambiance, highlighting that all-important experience and bespoke gifting we offer.
* Many clients are waiting for the next Perfume but tweaks still need to be made, so it remains an exciting work in progress.
* 2020 will start with an exciting window display which Adriana has had in mind for over a year- it took time to find the right artist to collaborate with. The theme stems from SS19’s Goddess to the 3 Graces in Greek mythology. These beauties represent: radiance, joy and Spring blossom. Watch this space for our big reveal in the New Year…
Ancienne Ambiance beautifully presents your gifts in signature hand-crafted gift boxes and package all orders with care. Forget wrapping and that Post Office queue, the Ancienne Ambiance Christmas Elves do it all, so you don’t have to.