Last night I did a complete overnighter with Jo Malone’s new brand, Jo Loves, which opens this morning at 9.30am in Selfridges beauty hall. It’s never really occurred to me what happens when a pop-up, er, pops up, and of course, it is all done in the dead of night. I’m leaving the post as I wrote it during the night apart from any tiredness related hideous errors! It’s now 8.30am, Monday 7th November and the post was written during the very small hours.
|All wrapped up!|
|Moving the pieces of the puzzle into place.|
So , here we are – it’s midnight and I’m in a spookily empty Selfridges Beauty Hall ; but for one or two cleaning staff, the shop fitters (who think if we finish by 6.30am that would be good) and the guys filming the building of the counter, there’s just me, Jo Malone and Charlotte (Jo’s right hand woman). It has to be said that we’re boiling. The store switches of the A/C at night and it’s got to be over 70 degrees in here.
I’m here to watch the counter for the new Jo Malone creation, Jo Loves, being built, literally from the wooden parts in brown wrapping paper to a brand, spanking new counter, complete with smell pod and ravishing red fittings. How brand new counters emerge isn’t something I’ve given a lot of thought to, but of course it has to happen in the middle of the night.. it’s not a viable option to have machinery (the noise, for one thing, never mind health and safety), workmen and shelf-stacking during the day when the store is full. The shop fitting team are working flat out but they’re estimating a build time finish of 6.30am. And at 9.30am, Pomelo goes on sale. Tuesday is Green Orange and Coriander, Wednesday is Orange Tulle and finally on Thursday it’s Gardenia. You can score the lot on Thursday. Jo will be in store signing bottles if you want to pop along between 4 and 6pm on Thursday. The three-layered candles (two of them) launch in December.
|The empty beauty hall.|
|Jo pulls off the brown paper wrapping so the build can begin.|
With all the pieces finally on the shop floor, it’s really all happening now – the Jo Loves counter and Smell Pod are coming to life: the guys have miraculously fitted carpet over the marbled flooring and half the pod is up.
The Smell Pod is a new way to experience fragrance; you enter the pod that’s fitted with touch screens and hear and see the inspiration behind the perfumes from Jo. Press one of four buttons that signify the fragrance you want to try and the pod releases a fragranced vapour of your choice. You can then feed back via video exactly what you think to let everyone know if it is love, loathe, indifference or devotion. Your views are uploaded on-line and hey presto, you’re an instant fragrance expert with your opinions and thoughts to pass on to the world. Neat. (I’m discovering that there are more people around at this time of night than I’d previously thought in the twilight zone of Selfridges. Apart from security, there are other works going on – I can hear the drilling but not sure where it’s coming from, and also an army of cleaners on little trucks and with giant size brooms sweeping away, polishing and wiping to get everything gleaming again.)
|Everything is manoevred using soft blankets to slide and stop any marks or chips on the woodwork|
|With one side of the Smell Pod intact (in red), the other is positioned|
Charlotte and I have just done a much needed coffee run – we ended up in a shisha place on the Edgeware Road.. so much for London being a 24 hour city – everywhere else was closed! We picked up teas, coffees, cokes and water because the heat in the beauty hall is phenomenal so everyone is getting really thirsty. But progress was made while we were gone: the electricals are nearly ready to be installed and the Smell Pod is well on the way. I’ve just glanced over at the now Lauder owned Jo Malone counter and cannot help noticing that they’ve also incorporated red into their colour scheme; the signature shade of Jo Loves. Hmm.
I’m sitting on the floor of the perfume section behind the massive front doors to write this because it is where the nearest working plug-point is. It’s a bit like Night At The Museum.. but no Ben Stiller. Jo can’t keep still – it’s clearly all so exciting for her – but like all of us, she is looking tired now. We just want to start putting bottles of Pomelo on the shelves but the fitters are nowhere near ready for us, but they couldn’t go any faster – they’ve already done a phenomenal amount. When you consider that all the electricals have to be in exactly the right place to be wired correctly and that an inch out on the fittings and the whole thing doesn’t work – there’s really a lot at stake and there just isn’t room for any error at all. There’s nothing we can do but watch and let the fitters, well, fit. It’s a very complex structure because of all the technology involved.
|Crates of Pomelo waiting to be put out on the shelves.|
The counter is really taking shape properly now with the last major pieces being put gently into place; there’s a box of Quality Street on the go to keep everyone energised, and it really does just feel like us again on our own; even the cleaners have all but disappeared.
|The best laid plans…|
|It’s starting to look like the drawings!|
Eek – it’s all really tense: something in the fitting isn’t, er, fitting and you can cut the atmosphere with a knife. Andy, the fitter has his head in his hands. Awkward. We know something’s gone wrong but daren’t ask what and the fitters are whispering so we don’t hear what it is. Jo is remarkably laid back at this stage and is actually lying on the floor while Charlotte and I sit on our stools (thanks Shu!) and try to evesdrop. It seems one part isn’t slotting in as it should which in turn throws the entire structure out.
|One bottle of Pomelo|
|The rubbish piles up.|
Thankfully, the problem seems to be smoothed out (hammers, nails and screwdrivers everywhere!) and Jo can at last be the first to add a bottle of Pomelo to the black shelves. My car arrives to take me home and it is clear that there is no way that the counter is going to ready in time for 7am when more of Jo’s team arrives to start putting out the stock.
I get home at 6.30am and have 40 minutes sleep: Charlotte has promised to send pictures and updates.
Upate: With less than an hour til opening time, the Jo Loves shelves are stacked (as of ten minutes ago!) – the till is in, the architects are on site and the Selfridges team have come in early to see the stand. Everyone is agreeing that it’s been a full-on shop fit rather than a pop-up because of the complicated structure and the sheer amount of man-power it has taken.
And here it is!!
Thank you Team Jo Loves for letting me be part of this!
Fans of Jo Malone aren’t going to be disappointed with Jo Loves which has the familiar Jo signature written all the way through. Pomelo is a fizzy, sparkling, fruity-fresh scent that just makes you smile. Green Orange and Coriander is to my mind, more masculine, with a herby edge making it the one for those who like their fragrances less girly. Orange Tulle, in contrast, is everything girly and feminine. Inspired by the movement of a ballet dancer’s tutu, it’s sweet and light. Finally, Gardenia, is creamy and ultra-floral and the perfect olfactory reminder of summer. The bottles come in one size; 100ml, and will cost £95.
*all products are sent to me as samples from brands and agencies unless otherwise stated. Affiliate links may be used. Posts are not affiliate driven.