Scent of a Woman: Rosie Jane Johnston

When Rosie Jane Johnston set off to the US some thirteen years ago she was pursuing a dream. A successful make-up artist working with some of the industry’s leading professionals Rosie Jane started her own make-up line after an epiphany of sorts. 

“As someone who worked closely with women, I was surprised to learn how many lacked the confidence to apply make-up.  I think this is because, most women feel more beautiful when they feel they have achieved an organic, natural look.  So for some women even a little bit of make-up can be too much.”  Rosie Jane’s pursuit of the natural look lead her to introduce her first beauty product, a cheek gloss.  “The aim of the product was to produce a natural glow on the cheeks.  We weren’t trying to over blush.”    

But it wasn’t an instant success. “The Aussie Market was really looking for the product to gain recognition offshore.”  No stranger to life abroad, Rosie Jane packed up and took her product to the US.  “I have to admit, I was a bit concerned I would be overwhelmed by the US, but I learned very quickly that the American’s were actually very open to new ideas.  They want to be the early adopters.  Amazingly there was a great deal of support for what I was doing and I was successful at getting my products into Bergdorf’s and Henry Bendell’s.  I fell in love with that way of life.”    

Now married and with two daughters Rosie Jane has made Los Angeles her home away from home, “Because I have kids now, I try to come back every year.  It’s a bit odd though, when I’m working like this it makes me feel like I’m living here again.  I forgot what an amazing lifestyle Sydney offers and I love the idea of giving my kids a childhood in Australia.”      

Although we caught up with Rosie Jane  in Sydney just before Mother’s Day – this was no family visit.  Rosie Jane was here on business, to launch Leila Lou a fragrance she named after her first daughter. 

In keeping with her own organic, natural style the concept of the Leila Lou fragrance was an evolution of sorts.  “It started with the desire to be different.  I just wanted to wear a fragrance that was a bit distinctive to me, so one afternoon I sat down with friend of mine and a couple of bottles of wine.  She had a vague knowledge of how to blend oils….me I knew nothing…but I know what I like – I’m very specific.”

The result was a fragrance that had undertones of pear and citrus, very natural and organic.   “I wore it for three months – just for me.  Then everyone started to ask me “what are you wearing”…?  A friend of mine who owns a beautiful store in LA asked me if she could stock ten bottles – she wanted to have something unique a fragrance for Christmas.”  With a few simple bottles and an old typewriter Rosie Jane hand produced each of the ten bottles.   Needless to say they sold out in a matter of days.

“I have to admit, the most exciting moment of my career has been launching here in Australia – as it’s been a goal of mine to have a product end up in a David Jones or Myers.  I think there is an element of feeling more like I’ve made it when I had made it at home.”


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