Luxury Leader | Katy Simpson, Founder and CEO of Noble Isle
Inspired by the unique botanicals found in our ‘Noble Isle’, CEO Katy Simpson discusses what being British means for her luxury bath and fragrance brand, as well as her advice for those looking to set up their own luxury company…
Katy Simpson is originally from Northern Ireland but spent her youth moving around the world with her family, growing up in Ireland, England, New Zealand and America. She travelled back to London to attend university and after studying Fashion Buying and Marketing for four years, worked in the buying offices of several high street and designer houses in the UK. From garments, Katy moved to accessories, shoes, bags and leather gifts, and soon found herself working with jewellery, fragrance sets and bath & body – where she soon discovered she had a hidden passion for fragrance, as well as a love for taking an idea and developing it into something physical. In 2001, Katy left fashion and moved to Bath & Body and Beauty within a well-known British cosmetics house where she was Head of Product Development for eight years. Noble Isle was born in 2012 after a year and a half in development.
What does British luxury mean to you?
British luxury means quality and heritage and that creates trust and loyalty – customers trust the brands they are buying into. As the world becomes more accessible and cultures are mixing and merging together, there has been a trend coming through for defined brands with clear backgrounds and heritage. Britain has had a huge impact in world history – arts, culture, music, manufacturing, invention, economic, politically and has produced world famous strong brands producing high quality luxurious products across all industries. People are buying into these strong brands as they represent strength, quality and longevity – stability in a fast changing and unpredictable world.
What’s your vision for Noble Isle?
We are proudly British and it is very important for Noble Isle to remain manufacturing in Britain. We promote farmers, charities, conservationists – people doing exceptional things in our country. So the most important factor when making our products is that we use British extracts from celebrated producers from the British Isles. Perry Pear from Gloucestershire Orchards, Barley from the Balvenie distillery, Beetroot from Monmouthshire, Elderflower from Cornwall, Samphire from the Irish coastline and Willow Song from Suffolk – to name just a few!
What do you see as the future of luxury?
Sustainable, locally sourced, ethical, kind products and brands.
What inspires you?
When I created Noble Isle, I had a passion to produce something truly British; a British company making products in the British Isles, sourcing ingredients from celebrated local producers. I wanted to promote and highlight what is happening in the country with stunning places, people and ingredients. The British ingredients are unique to Noble Isle and the name and logo celebrate this idea. Noble Isle was the first term used for Great Britain in the 15th century by Kings and Queens and our Coat of Balms show the four flowers that represent the great countries within the British Isles.
What piece of advice would you give to someone entering the luxury industry now?
You need to have thick skin and be resilient. It’s normal to experience a lot of knock backs during the first few years while you make your brand present in the marketplace. I one hundred percent believed in Noble Isle and knew we would find our core client out there. You must pick yourself up, dust yourself off and move on!
In a parallel life, what would you be doing?
Running an animal shelter
What’s your favourite luxury?
A bottle of English Sparkling Wine!