It was January 2011 when I received a call from an ex colleague asking me if I wanted to start a business with him. Having left the corporate world 3 years previously to pursue my goals of becoming an entrepreneur I jumped at the opportunity. Having a creative background, I started to think about what my ideas would be for creating a new brand.

“Along my career, I fell in love with fragrance and the power it has over the senses. There is nothing more compelling to take your mind back to a person, a place or a time in your life – it’s like time travel.”

Mark asked 3 of us to start a business with him – we had all worked together previously at a large British cosmetic company. We came from very different skill-based backgrounds – Rob from Finance, Mark from Supply & Production, Jeff from Research & Development and myself from New Product Development – 4 areas which were going to be critical to build a robust new brand and business.

We came together to discuss the setting up of the business and I started to work on the first foundations of the creative idea – what the unique selling point was going to be. Having just launched a Croatian spa brand, where we had sourced our ingredients from the local areas within Croatia, it seemed like a great idea to do the same in the UK and that was where the idea came from, so I have Anna to thank for that one. I wanted to create a truly British brand not only making all of its products within the British Isle’s but taking it a step further and sourcing our ingredients from the UK and telling a story about the background.

2011 was the year of the Royal Wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton and the country was preparing for the celebrations with an extra day’s holiday given to all. I remember the wedding day clearly as I was just starting the brand design work and was researching history books for inspiration. What struck me on the day was how amazing London is, in fact all of Britain with all its history and rich culture. The eyes of the world were on London on April the 29th, 2011 and I felt so proud to be part of this country. The architecture of London – old and new, the green parks, the Union Jacks lining The Mall, the carriages dating back hundreds of years, the soldiers on horseback, the traditional marches of the soldiers, the uniforms and the wonderful outfits that Prince William and Prince Harry wore on this day – it was the perfect mixture and balance of taking old ideas and making them look contemporary and new. That was where my design idea came from – watching this splendid day.

My sister Claire, a former Marketing Director for a large US Silicon Valley company helped me come up with the name. We went to the China Diner in Beaconsfield with paper, pencils and an iPad and over a lovely meal (and a couple of bottles of wine) came up with a shortlist of names. Noble Isle was the first term used for the word Great Britain in the fifteenth century used by Kings and Queens.  Noble Isle was only a working title name to begin with but in the end we all felt it captured the essence of the brands ethos. Thank you, Claire, for helping to create such a worthy name!

I worked with an old friend Reseigh, a Cornish artist, who I used to do a lot of work with when we were both based in London in cosmetic packaging and together we forged the design of the brand and then rolled this out to the packaging.

Since a young age, I have always loved making things look beautiful, from home, to fashion to packaging and used to spend hours wrapping Christmas presents sourcing interesting papers and dressing them up with ribbons and bows. So, with a background in fashion, product development and branding I was truly in my element when it came time to designing the brand and packaging for Noble Isle.

Along my career, I fell in love with fragrance and the power it has over the senses. There is nothing more compelling to take your mind back to a person, a place or a time in your life – it’s like time travel.

A year and a half in development and Noble Isle was born in May 2012 with an exclusive launch in Fortnum & Mason and Liberty.

Like all new business ventures, it is not all smooth sailing and along the way I lost my other founders, Mark, Rob and Jeff. However, I wanted to take this opportunity to mention them and thank them for helping to create the foundations of the business.

Over the last 6 years Noble Isle has grown from strength to strength in all areas. We have worked hard to forge wonderful partnerships and alliances and I believe these relationships have helped us on our journey.

In 2016 we were honoured by winning The Walpole award in 2016 – we were selected out of hundreds of British brands as a Luxury British Brand of Tomorrow. This was the crowning of all of our achievements.

A successful company is built by a team of people, not an individual and I work with a great group of passionate, creative and hardworking individuals, some of whom have been with me since the beginning. Thank you to my team for their dedication.

I would also like to thank our provenance suppliers for providing us with exceptional ingredients for our collections and the most interesting of histories behind their companies to add deeper layers to the Noble Isle story.

Lastly, I want to thank our partners and customers for their support and loyalty – we wouldn’t be here without you.


Katy Simpson

Founder & Director

Sorry to see you go

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