A Short History - At One with the Ocean and Nature, celebrating the vision
The Early years & Innisfree..
In 1983 the late Brian Cox, father of the current MD David Cox, and Donald Pratt, founder of Avoca Handweavers, had the idea to start an Irish perfume company. They started by producing a perfume called "Innisfree" named after the WB Yeats’ poem "The Lake Isle of Innisfree" , which the Yeats’ estate gave the young company permission to use with the perfume.
Patrick Cologne for Men..
Innisfree was an instant success for the new company and generated great sales in Duty-Free and gift shops across Ireland and the USA. A true "garage" business, Innisfree was followed shortly afterwards by their new man’s range "Patrick" and a range of Irish soaps and toiletries.
Introducing David Cox..
In 1987 David Cox, Brian’s son, came to help his father and was soon driving round Ireland with a boot full of perfume, servicing existing shops and finding new ones for the growing family of perfumed products. The company had to move to new premises as sales grew and converted an old dairy barn that was part of the Jameson Whiskey family estate in Kilmacanogue. Their address is still "Jameson’s Corner".
"Connemara" & "Naturally Irish" from our field of Dreams..
In the early 1990s new ranges were added, "Connemara" perfume and the "Naturally Irish" soaps and bath products, fragranced in part from lavender from their own field, across the road from their offices in Kilmacanogue. Nestling between the two Sugarloaf Mountains, this "field of dreams" still produces top quality lavender oil and provides the inspiration for many of the company’s ideas.
Inis - 'the energy of the sea' is launched..
In 1996 David brought in the services of photographer and strategic marketer Peter Sellers and together they oversaw the next phase of development for the company. Peter’s artistic photography and experience with Bailey’s Irish Cream helped them to develop their most audacious perfume yet: "Inis- the energy of the sea", launched in 1998, to tie in with the UN Year of the Oceans. A unisex perfume to capture the energy and happiness of a summer’s day by the sea, Inis was an instant success and 10 years later is still a best-seller in Ireland and abroad.
Inis was launched with an amazing photograph of Seven Surfing Dolphins in a wave in Australia. At the launch of Inis, 7 dolphins swam up into Cork Harbour, where the perfume was being bottled! The connection to the sea and waves is repeated again in the use of our new advertising image for the 10th Anniversary, of the Surfing Girl.
The use of wonderful images, colour and inspiring words, as well as world-class perfumery, has been a cornerstone of the company’s development. Our aim is to uplift people in every way possible, through their eyes, ears, nose and heart.
Arthur Burnham joins the team..
For the creation of Inis, David hired master perfumer Arthur Burnham, one of the few independent perfumers in the world, who had trained in Grasse for ten years alongside other perfumers such as Jacques Polge, now the Chief Perfumer at Chanel (Jacques later told Arthur of how impressed he was with the fragrance of Inis and that he would have been proud to call it his own).
Arthur’s brief was to capture the energy and excitement of a summer’s day by the sea, and to help him find the right inspiration we brought him to Dog’s Bay in Connemara, possibly one of the most beautiful beaches in Ireland. The azure blue sky and breathtaking transparency and clarity of the water, captured in photo by Peter, Arthur’s moment of inspiration led to him combining fresh citrus notes with floral lily-of-the-valley and deep spice notes in an unforgettable and distinctive blend that is Inis. These stunning images of Dog’s Bay on that day in June were shown on QVC, the TV shopping channel in the USA, creating record sellouts (up to 10,000 bottles in 30 minutes).
International success in an international market..
QVC and other regular customers all over Ireland, the USA and the world have continued to sell Inis to growing audiences since 1998; in the 10 years since, over 1 million bottles of this exciting cologne for men and women have been sold by this small but creative company, against the might of competitors such as P&G, L’Oreal, Estee Lauder.
Inis Arose - Inspired by Aphrodite..
Arthur went on to create a sister fragrance, Inis Arose, in 2002 which was nominated for a Fragrance Foundation ("FiFi") award, the perfume Oscars. Along with Sophie L’Abbé, winner of the François Coty prize for Best Creator of Perfumes in 2005, Arthur created the third fragrance in the Inis family, Inis Or, launched in 2007. Arthur very sadly passed away in 2007.
Lavender from our Garden of Ireland..
2005 saw the launch of the company’s "Garden of Ireland" range of premium soaps and bath products; inspired by the countryside and personal recollections of Wicklow, known as the "Garden of Ireland", the range uses lavender oil from the company’s lavender field in Kilmacanogue. Every summer in July the lavender is harvested and marked by our Lavender Harvest Party, a festival celebrating the amazing gift from nature of the golden oil from lavender and other plants, the roots of perfumery.
For several years Inis has been a core sponsor of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, dedicated to the conservation and protection of Whales and Dolphins. The message on each carton of Inis is that no-one is an island, we are all connected, and our sponsorship of the IWDG allows us to demonstrate our commitment to the environment and these wonderful creatures that are the mythical guardians of the ocean. We are deepening our relationship with the ocean in our research, with University College Galway, into the beneficial effects of seaweed extracts on the skin. This research will further deepen our ability to incorporate these extracts into our skin creams and lotions.