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"Craftsmanship is my love" - fragrance entrepreneur John Molloy

Words by Rob Chilton

Banker, tailor, perfumer – he's done it all. Irish entrepreneur John Molloy introduces EDGAR to his high-end boutique fragrance brands

Sometimes you meet people who just seem to be good at everything and skip through life without a care in the world, succeeding at whatever they turn their hand to. John Molloy is one of those people.

The Irish entrepreneur started his working life making gentlemen’s fishing, shooting and hunting clothing. He did a banking degree in Dublin before setting up an Irish clothing brand that he sold from the back of a horse box at Pitti Uomo and which was eventually snapped up by Barneys in New York. All this was done before the age of 20.

He took a year off to travel, did an MBA in France, worked at Kenzo menswear and then landed an executive position at L’Oreal in Switzerland. Somehow, amid all this, he managed to find time to marry a poet named Clara.

John Molloy

Excited by the idea of an entrepreneurial lifestyle, Molloy and his wife set up the luxury fragrance brand Memo Paris in 2007 that aimed to “capture the emotions of places we visited while travelling,” he explains. “We didn’t have a clue if it would work but it’s now the best selling cosmetic brand in Harvey Nichols in London.”

In 2016 they established Floraiku, a fragrance company themed on Japanese haiku poems that was acquired by Harrod’s. Their most recent project is Hermetica, which Molloy describes as “the first ever collection of non alcoholic, long-lasting, strong, clean, green fragrances. It’s not perfume, not skincare, but something in between. Our perfumer Aliénor Massenet had to unlearn and reformulate everything from the last 20 years of her career – it’s alchemy.”

Hermetica’s other perfumer, Philippe Paparella admits, “Sometimes fragrance can be boring but this project was completely new and experimental and refreshed my creativity. It forced me to look at materials in a different way.”

Molloy started out in banking

For Molloy, the joy is in the making. “Coming from the countryside in Ireland meant I had to build and fix things all the time, it fascinated me,” he smiles. “As a kid, I liked Lego and Meccano and my dream was to take a Land Rover apart and rebuild it. At the end of the day, my love is craftsmanship.”

Memo Paris is available at Bloomingdale’s, The Dubai Mall, Galeries Lafayette and Harvey Nichols. Floraiku and Hermetica can be found in Bloomingdale’s and Harvey Nichols

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