Introducing the home fragrance industry's best kept secret

When Bentley Motor Cars recognised Parks as one of 100 great British manufacturers in 2019, buyers were surprised at what the home fragrance industry had known for years. What began in 1989 as a small London boutique selling a few hand-poured candles had quietly become one of the world's leading home fragrance manufacturers. It’s only recently that garden centres have caught up.

“It was such a surprise”, says founder Carol Symons, “we’ve always let the product do the talking and to beImage removed. recognised by a company like Bentley was such an honour. We see ourselves as a family business that just loves doing what we do. I think there’s a different mindset between a passionate manufacturer and a brand. We don’t sell “aspirational lifestyles” with adverts featuring beautiful models in luxury houses, we wouldn’t know how to. We aspire to making beautifully fragranced homes.”

Parks customers agree. Independent reviews on sites such as Trustpilot aren’t like reviews for other home fragrance brands - you can almost smell the enthusiasm.

“I think customers know the difference between lip service and genuine passion. Over the years we’re lucky to have attracted clients with the same values as us. And the market has moved in our favour -  for example, when we started, everyone was making candles with paraffin. We didn’t jump on any “eco-bandwagon”, we pioneered it for home fragrance. Something like “Coreless Cleanburn technology” takes commitment and a long time to develop – and that commitment comes from a genuine passion for 100% natural wax candles.”

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Gardeners first met Parks face to face at the Chelsea Flower Show in 2018, but until recently, there hasn’t been much presence in garden centers. Why is that?

“When lockdown started, enquiries increased from European garden centres. Places like Baumsgartner Blumenpyramiden in Austria became stockists. They’re passionate about what they do, know what qualities resonate with their customers, and lead from the front – communicating those qualities when introducing brands and products. That’s our perfect partner. We’ve been approached by UK garden centres, some with great purchasing power, but it’s important to get the right fit.”.

Is there a difference between best-selling fragrances for garden centres and other outlets?

“There’s some overlap on fragrances, the main difference is collections. We’ve a Ceramics range that gardeners love. You can re-use the vessels for potting house plants, and they look great. We also have a collaboration with Designers Guild that’s very popular. It’s the first collaboration we’ve done with two price points – one range at £35 with beautiful hand-blown green vessels for candles and diffusers, the other with ceramics at £55. Again, all re-usable”.

And finally, do you shop at Garden centres ?

“Absolutely. I’m a fan of Petersham nurseries – a terrific restaurant, the team are lovely and it’s in Richmond Park. Also, Clifton Nurseries in Maida Vale – I’ve been a customer there for as long as I can remember.”

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