We caught up with Michelle Feeney, the powerhouse behind fine fragrance brand Floral Street whose Sunflower Pop scent is featured in our limited edition Female Founders Edit.
This uplifting blend was created in collaboration with the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, and Michelle was honoured to visit in person and select a masterpiece to be her fragrance muse. “It had to be positive, and it had to be flowers. So obviously it had to be Van Gogh’s Sunflowers!” she says.
“This is a fragrance you cannot help but smile when you put it on. A sunflower is just such a positive symbol of brightness, and I hope people feel connected to energy and happiness when they wear this.”
The moment that set me off on this journey was…. a walk in Covent Garden, I happened to look up at the Floral Street sign, and thought ‘that would be a great name for a fragrance brand’.
The thing I wanted to change about the fragrance industry was.. practically everything. I thought it was just completely old fashioned. You were expecting a consumer to part with a lot of money for a cellophane-wrapped box on a shelf and perhaps a celebrity commercial. I’d seen how MAC had really democratised make-up by having good products at a reasonable price, and artists at the counter to teach you. I thought, ‘Well, why don't we do that with fragrance?’ and also make it about sustainability too.
One thing I’d do differently would be… well, I launched with eight fragrances and who does that as a self-start up? It’s insane. Would I have done that now? No. But there again, you'll never start a business if you think it through too much.
I’ve never used celebrity faces because… I want our customer to be the celebrity. We started with eight scents because I wanted women to see fragrance as this addition to their wardrobe, but also a helping hand in feeling more upbeat and confident. But ‘sexy’ is a word we’ve never used. I don’t think it’s a brand's role to tell you if you buy this or wear this, it's going to make you feel sexy.
One secret to my success is… moodboards. I’m not a fragrance nose, so I teamed up with one of the best in the world and gave him moodboards of my different ‘mood muses’ so he could create the fragrances to fit in with those personas. He was so inspired because normally the bigger companies just go in and say things like, ‘CK one is selling the most, recreate this in a different guise’.
The biggest compliment I’ve had about the brand is… hearing it’s made someone feel good. If you can do that for someone, especially busy women in the morning, wow, that’s amazing.
My best bit of advice for someone who wants to start their own business is… learn to be resilient, take criticism on board and use it for your own personal growth.
Also surround yourself with mentors who have done it before, who can help support you because it's really, really hard. The level of resilience I've had to have for Floral Street is the most I've ever had to summon.
If I’m feeling unsure… I will put it out to the universe, and say ‘okay send me a sign this is worthwhile’ and often an email will come through, or something. I'm often called the White Witch, but I think being a female leader is about tapping into that sense of gut and then backing it up with proof.
I power myself for the day by… doing an hour of yoga, then I burn some essential oils to match my mood, have a good cup of tea and I coach myself with positive talk.
If it’s a big work day, I try not to listen to the news when I’m getting ready, so my head has the space to wake up.
My beauty confidence boosters are… a massive collection of matte lipsticks, Iconic Underglow, Maybelline mascara, Pat McGrath eyeliner and a spritz of Floral Street Wild Vanilla Orchid. It's like a hug but in a ‘come on, you can do this!’ kind of way.
My best fragrance hack is… have a little bottle of your fragrance in your handbag, and before you go into a meeting, spritz it on, walk in and just own the room.
The DIY beauty treatment I swear by is… an LED mask. Whether or not it works, I don't know but it is very relaxing and it does make you feel good. Something that gives you space in your day for a break is so important
My top anti-ageing tip is… happiness.. People say to me, ‘How do you look so young at 59?’ and I just say ‘happiness’. It really is the best beauty treatment.
Want to read more about the Floral Street Sunflower Pop? Click here to see the full reveal >