Suzanne Santos and Aesop
Suzanne Santos and Aesop in London
Australians can't hear the word "Aesop" without imagining their hands being soothed with the most amazing creams and fragrances. Aesop product names are both delicious and delightful: Damascan Rose Facial Treatment, Blue Chamomile Facial Hydrating Masque, Geranium Leaf Hydrating Body Treatment to name a few.
Apart from the catchy name, geometric labels and pharmaceutical inspired bottles, the Aesop brand is most associated natural ingredients and beautiful fragrances. For Australian entrepreneurial women thinking about breaking into the London market, Aesop's success under the guidance of Suzanne Santos provides inspiration.
The Aesop range started out in a hairdressing salon in the Melbourne suburb of Armadale in 1987 where Santos was hired as an assistant. It now has stores dotted all over the world, including London. Spartan and designer beautiful, these stores are a home away from home. The company achieved early business success when high-end department store/ retailer, David Jones, stocked its products. Now Aesop is shipped all over the world and its products are featured in all sorts of films and media. The product has become a reference for quality, luxury and naturalness.
I love reading about Santos because she grew up with in my home state Victoria. The story of how she developed the brand and nurtured the fledgeling company may like to look at this video about Brand Integrity.
Santos speaks passionately about having faith in one's ethics and vision. The company's journey into international expansion is filled with creative risk and experimentation and I love the sensitivity taken in terms of globalisation. There is no flatpack roll out of the Aesop brand which approaches each new country with individuality and collaboration with local architects, materials and artists. Santos's vision has enabled the company to remain passionate, ethical and aware. A rare achievement. She remains an inspiration for Australian women setting up business in London.
You can read more about Suzanne Santos and Aesop here:
Vistors to London can find a list of Aesop stores here: http://www.aesop.com/uk/