Celebrating two decades of True Grace


Florence Robson


"We had always dreamed of our own brand"

To mark True Grace’s twentieth anniversary, we caught up with Co-founder Philippa Biles to learn about the origins of the brand, what brought the family to South Wiltshire and some of her favourite fragrance memories.

How did True Grace begin?

For a long time, we were making candles for other luxury brands like Penhaligons, Space NK, Calvin Klein, Harrods, Liberty and even King Charles (via Highgrove House). We loved helping those companies realise their fragrance visions but we had always dreamed of our own brand, creating scents that reflected our life, passions, and memories.

Moving to Wiltshire and being so close to nature helped us re-evaluate our business. We wanted to align it to our true beliefs and create something that was deeply meaningful for us.

We worked on creating our first six fragrances for over a year, focusing on a feeling of a single note rather than the over-complexity that dominated scents at the time

We have since added over 100 scents to our range over the last 20 years (some of which we no longer carry).

The rest is history!

Why did you choose South Wiltshire as the home of True Grace?

It came about in the way many of these decisions do: from various forces combining to create the change that is destined.

Our tenancy was coming to an end and both Roger and I felt drawn to the countryside for a more grounded life. 

Also, we had been manufacturing in London out of an old leather warehouse in Calvin Street, Spitalfields. As we started growing, logistically it was becoming increasingly difficult to run the business smoothly due to factors such as shipping pallets from a tiny street. We would have to borrow a forklift from a neighbouring business if we had a large order to be shipped!

After living in London for over 10 years we made the move, complete with a plan to grow the business.

One of our key suppliers was based in Wiltshire and we had a lovely relationship with them. As the Universe works in ways that are aligned to our higher purpose, a factory became available for rent on the same trading estate! We stayed there for five years until we decided to build our own factory. We moved all our belongings and found a house in Mells, near Frome and settled into a lovely new life.

“We wanted to align [the brand] to our true beliefs and create something that was deeply meaningful for us.”

When did you realise that True Grace was going to take off?

When we launched our True Grace range at a UK Trade show, the stand was mobbed solidly for three days. We had so many orders we had to keep running to the copier for more order forms to keep up with the flow. That’s when we knew we had done something right!

It was a lovely feeling knowing we were going to scent people’s homes with beautiful fragrances which can only spread happiness (I hope!).

What have been some of the most memorable TG highlights from the past 20 years?

One of the key moments was building our sustainable factory. It felt so grown up and serious. What’s more, it was huge and we wondered if we would ever grow enough to fill it! That was when our eldest daughter Hatty, now 23, was only a year old. She has actually been working with True Grace for the past six months since finishing her degree so things have come full circle.

That factory is at the heart of our mission to be a sustainable brand. It is ecologically sound and environmentally friendly, powered by a combination of solar power, and renewable biomass. We have continued to strive for sustainability throughout the brand but it all starts from the factory and feeds through to every decision we make. We are very proud of our eco credentials.

There are a number of other highlights I could mention that combine our personal and professional lives (an inevitability when you are married co-founders). For example, when we first moved to Wiltshire we were in the middle of a large order and we hadn’t had enough time to recruit staff in the area. We called upon our family and friends to help us pack the candles through the night, rewarded, of course, by a lovely meal once we had placed the final box on the pallet.

We were married in the local church to our home in Donhead St Mary. We didn’t have time for a honeymoon as we had to ship a huge order to Calvin Klein in the USA with an extremely tight deadline and a very labour-intensive product. In the end, we managed to merge our honeymoon week with making candles for CK and in the evenings staying at a beautiful local cottage that we swapped for bundles of our candles!

Do you have a favourite TG scent? What is the memory behind it?

I love all of our scents but I am particularly fond of the first fragrances we developed as they are attached to special memories, some of which are shared below.

Vine Tomato:

This scent transports me back to my childhood and our greenhouse filled with tomato plants. My dad and I would tend to them together and pluck the ripe tomatoes from the vines. 

Moroccan Rose:

As a child I loved making perfume from flowers in the garden. I was always getting into trouble for pulling the heads off the roses!

Rosemary and Eucalyptus:

The smell of rosemary and eucalyptus was inspired by our yearly family holiday to Mallorca. We stayed in a villa that was surrounded by an abundance of rosemary bushes and the scent was so uplifting. Now I love to pick rosemary from the garden and use it in my cooking. 


This scent was based on a fig tree that stood in a good friend’s garden. We would pick the figs from a tree and spill them into a large bowl to share.

Is there one scent that defines True Grace for you?

Launching a new scent, it’s so interesting to see what sells and where. Countries and cultures have very different buying styles. The one scent that really stood out as a huge hit globally is Portobello Oud.

I know I am biassed but I think it’s a beautiful scent with a lovely story. It is inspired by the scents and smells of Portobello Market where Roger originally set up a stall and where it truly all began!

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