Our story began in 1989 when ARRAN founder, Janet Russell, began her journey to create a skincare line inspired by the natural, vibrant and evocative scents that surrounded her at her home on the Isle of Arran. Over the next decade, after extending the collection from soaps into skin and body cleansers and lotions, she eventually stepped into the world of fine fragrance and, with the help of our Perfumers, crafted After The Rain Eau de Toilette.
Cliché as it sounds, After The Rain still remains my absolute favourite and I always have some close to hand – the hand cream especially is always in my handbag!
Fast-forward 20 years and this renowned fragrance is still our most-loved product, having truly secured its place as a beauty icon in the hearts, minds and homes of our customers. Refreshing, reviving and loved by men and women alike, it continues to present ARRAN devotees throughout the world with a long-lasting, luxurious and affordable fine fragrance for them to enjoy every day. In recognition of our 30th Anniversary and After The Rain Eau de Toilette's 20th Birthday, we chat with Janet Russell about the memorable moment this inspired icon came to life… and its remarkable journey since.
Had you always planned to extend the ARRAN range into fragrance, or was it down to natural progression… and, of course, natural inspiration?
Having founded ARRAN and started producing mainly bath and body products, the team and I had always hoped to extend into fragrance… it was the natural progression for some of our collections. Fragrance is, of course, most enduring when introduced to the skin in ‘layers’... from cleansing with soap or body wash, to the application of a moisturising body cream or lotion, finishing with a generous spritz of same fragrance to complete. Because we’re inspired by the many natural scents of our island home, the choices available to us here at ARRAN are unlimited! Back then, as is still the case now, so many of our customers loved our After The Rain collection and had started asking about a fragrance. When an opportunity arose in our Product Development Programme, the time was right and After The Rain became our first fine fragrance.
Do you recall the moment the inspiration for After The Rain came to you?
Yes I do! Arran has a fairly high rainfall, which, of course, keeps everything looking so fresh and lush, with a pure clean air quality. It was after one summer shower that I stood in my garden in the sunshine and breathed in this wonderful blend of fresh air, cut grass, roses and honeysuckle (to name but a few). Beneath it all was a warm, earthy scent. I just loved it. That moment, for me, was perfectly captured when our Perfumer so cleverly reproduced those notes.
How long was this inaugural fragrance in the making?
I can’t recall exactly but we spent quite some time in development, working with our Perfumer on at least four of five different blends before we found The One. I knew instantly the moment we’d finally captured those initial, inspirational fragrance notes that formed our brief – it was very exciting! We then brought in our Designer to create visuals for the packaging. We worked hard to ensure After The Rain’s story was told properly; that its provenance, purity and freshness were represented in the best possible way by the packaging. The initial packaging was pure white with gold printed labels, hand finished in a crisp white drawstring muslin bag and embellished with cut grass and rose petals. It was a touch of my garden and the inspiration for this scent in every bag!
After The Rain must hold a special place in your heart… though, since crafting a wider portfolio of stunning scents, which is your favourite?
Cliché as it sounds, After The Rain still remains my absolute favourite and I always have some close to hand – the hand cream especially is always in my handbag! However, all our collections take fragrant inspiration from the island, so, of course, I love them all! How could I not, having been so involved in their creation?
After The Rain was your first fragrance yet, twenty years on, it still remains so relevant and in demand. What do you think it is that makes After The Rain so special and timeless? Did you expect this would be the case when you first created it?
We introduced After The Rain first as a one-off collection for Christmas only, but demand became such that we simply had to keep it going into the next year at the very least! As more products were added to this collection, it very quickly became our largest and best selling range. When we refreshed our brand image a few years ago and simplified our range, After The Rain still held on to its bestseller status… it’s popularity has never waned and demand for more products in this collection continues! I believe the secret of its success is the fact it is a classic, timeless scent; warm, comforting, quite unisex and has such appeal to a wide age group. Still, we could never have imagined that its popularity would endure for more than 20 years or that it would become such an iconic signature fragrance!