Today’s Business Ninja of Jill Timms, owner of Melbourne’s beating heart of haute parfum and all things frenchy-chic – Peony Haute Parfumerie. Jill’s exceptional, intuitive retailing and merchandising skills have made Peony’s glittering shelves and window displays a must-see for lovers of exquisite decoration – her Christmas windows for 2011 continue this lush tradition. Peony stock a range of rare perfumes, richly scented candles and body products which are absolutely unlike anything you can purchase from larger retailers in Melbourne. Bespoke is the keystone in the Peony experience – we encourage you to visit!

Luckily enough, Peony are holding two Christmas shopping nights – Wednesday the 7th and the 15th of December from 5:30pm onwards. Enjoy shopping for your seasonal presents while nibbling on delicate macarons and sipping champagne! Peony is located at 107 Auburn Road in Hawthorn. With no further ado… here’s Jill!

1. What makes your business magical, setting you apart from other competitors?

Peony is a very warm and inviting space – filled with fresh flowers and burning candles. An emporium of personally selected brands, sourced from my many travels. These brands are complemented by an eclectic mix of vintage and antique finds. The customer is encouraged to browse at their leisure and if assistance is required a wealth of perfume knowledge is imparted. Perhaps Peony is best described as a retail experience emulating a more gentle and respectful way of shopping.


2. How did your lightbulb moment in creating your business come about?

I used to work in the Melbourne CBD and was very lucky to have experienced the very beautiful ‘Georges’ store in Collins Street. I loved everything about this store from the wonderful doorman who would greet you to the wonderful sales staff who were always beautifully groomed, polite and extremely helpful. I still have my little Georges store credit card to remind me of when our department stores were a true experience.

3. What is your earliest memory?

I grew up in West Yorkshire in the UK. I remember one Christmas we turned all the lights off (except the Christmas tree), pulled up the blinds and watched the snow fall – magic!!

4. What would your last meal be?

A degustation menu complimented by the perfect wines and of course if my last sip was anything – French Champagne please!

5. What is your best tip for working partners?

In my experience if you are going to have your own business don’t have any partners. 

6. What is your favorite sound?

The sound of the ocean.

7. Who would you like to invite to dinner?

My maternal grandmother who I loved and adored – I left England at such a young age and she died without my ever seeing her again. I would love to sit down to dinner with her now that would be wonderful.

8. What is something unexpected that has come from your work?

In 2009 I was in Paris in September and( as you do) I visited every perfumery in town. Some new, some old. I was at the Hotel Costes for a business meeting. Out the front of this gorgeous hotel is a perfumery called IUNX. I went inside and started a conversation with this charming Irish fellow called Denis and I ‘humbly’ mentioned I had a little perfumery in Melbourne and before I said another thing he jumps in with ‘it’s not called Peony is it?’ – to my total astonishment I replied ‘Yes’ – he replies with ‘I get at least couple of Aussies a week telling me about your store’ – well I was as you can imagine very proud of my achievement at that point!