…and get intimate with it.
A love of perfume – that was what drove Ken Lim of Ken’s Apothecary to leave behind his job as a financial controller and open his business selling fragrances and skincare products.
“It’s important to follow your passion… (being in finance) was more of a routine,” he remarked.
Actively studying and searching, Ken is always on the lookout for opportunities – even during his recent trip to New York, he’s exploring to promote niche laundry detergent to Malaysians. “We must always be the trendsetter.” Ken sees increased demand for niche brands, and credits the Internet and social media.
Displayed prominently in his flagship store in Bangsar Shopping Centre is a brand that is dear to him – Diptyque. Before you step into the outlet, Diptyque’s latest Florabellio fragrance sits in front, luring potential customers. A quick introduction to the brand – founded in 1961, Diptyque produces scented candles, perfumes and skincare products. Ken’s actually started distributing Diptyque more than a decade ago, driven by his liking to what the brand had to offer. A re-launch a few years back sought to reestablish its brand presence, and the effort proved fruitful.
Diptyque, like other niche brands in Ken’s Apothecary, targets the affluent urbanite. It doesn’t really matter if you’re a 20-something or a senior citizen, because, as Ken puts it, “who doesn’t like coming to a nice-smelling home?” It was then that I also got a nice introduction to Diptyque candles. Each candle is named after its scent, so “Baies” (Berries) is fruity, “Jasmin” is jasmine and “Roses”… you get the picture. According to Ken, “Baies” is a favourite among customers in the region. That said, culture does shape one’s preferences, so there is no be-all, end-all to choosing a Diptyque product.
Diptyque’s most recent release is the aforementioned Florabellio. It is an attempt by the founder in describing his childhood summer journey amongst nomads in France, with a lot of apple blossoms in sight. With this story in mind, it contains hints of apple blossom as well as an interesting complement – coffee. Unlike commercialised products that bombard the olfactory receptors with “freshness”, Florabellio is pleasant without being overpowering, and that hint of coffee is a wonderful touch.
For Malaysia’s hot and humid climate, Ken does advise that one stay away from “spicy” smells. His reasoning is it’s going to be overwhelming if you wear it in hot weather although that’s not a hard and fast rule. “If it’s a perfume you can’t live without, that’s your scent,” he adds, which is perhaps a good shopping tip.
As we approach the end of 2015, with the holiday season just round the corner, what’s a good Diptyque gift for friends and family? “Candles would be nice…” Ken comments; no surprise there.
For holidays like Hari Raya and Christmas, candles can enhance the atmosphere and the well-received “Baies” candles are a good option. If you prefer some variety, there are also sample packs available – a set of three small candles with different scents.
Shopping for candles is also comparatively easier than perfume, as one would need to know the recipient’s preferences. “There is no one scent that fits everyone,” Ken says. As it’s a bit more personal, it is more suited for more intimate relationships. So do your research before you fork out that cash. ◆