Perfumery racks up 3,000 online orders per year
Along a quiet, narrow street in St George’s is Stewart Hall — home to Bermuda’s biggest online retailer.
Isabelle Ramsay-Brackstone owns and runs the Bermuda Perfumery which is housed at 5 Queen Street, and as a perfumer, creates the beautiful fragrances that sell there, in shops throughout the Island and from their website as well.
The first floor of Stewart Hall is a charming boutique so elegantly furnished and decorated it could be a lady’s home — while unbeknown to the visitors who move between the tranquil sales rooms where they may select from the Perfumery’s many perfumes, visit their small museum, or take a ‘Creating Scents’ workshop, upstairs is a thriving offshoot of the company where the 3,000 online orders they receive each year are filled.
Ms Ramsay-Brackstone, showing the stockroom on the top floor of the historic building, where rows of storage shelves holding the iconic perfumes and the work areas for packing up the orders for posting, picked up a thick sheaf of orders, each one representing an order for Bermuda Perfumery fragrances, to show how many come in, day after day.
On her clean-lined desktop Apple computer, she pulled up The Perfumery’s website, and demonstrated the online sales section, which lists 18 fragrances which they create, from their newest, Calypso — an amalgam of fresh neroli, loquat and seagrass — and other popular aromas including Coral — her first creation — along with Petals, Pink, Fresh Water, South Water, to traditional fragrances such as Lily and Oleander. Men’s fragrances include Somers, which is created from Bermuda cedar, sweet liquorice and olivewood bark, as well as Cedar and Navy, a fresh aroma produced from fresh lime, bergamot and vetiver.
While fragrances designed for women are packed in oleander pink boxes “I call it a ballet, powdery, dirty pink,” she said, the colour scheme for the men’s collection is dark navy with ribbons to match the particular fragrance.
The classic Perfumery boxes which contain the perfume bottles are then wrapped in pink bubble wrap and boxed again. They are shipped to the consignee via the Bermuda Post Office, a 10-14 day service which allows the progress of the package to be tracked. It also allows Ms Ramsay-Brackstone to use Bermuda stamps, which she does to further promote Bermuda around the world. “If it hasn’t arrived after 14 days then we send a replacement. We are very much in the ‘yes’ business. That’s when we can make a really bad experience into a really great one — it makes all the difference in the world.”
Ms Ramsay-Brackstone said the various facets of the Bermuda Perfumery means she is busy all year long. While the orders never stop arriving, her very busiest period runs from mid-November through December 31, when she makes about a third of her sales.
“We have been growing at a rate of about 15 percent each year over the last five years.”
Ms Ramsay-Brackstone explained during the times when the shop is quiet, the staff spend their working hours there, packing the perfume boxes for overseas shipments to countries all over the world.
“So while it is quiet outside after the tourist season during those weeks, we are very busy upstairs here,” she said.