Today, Floris London finds itself as the oldest English retailer of fragrances and toiletries, still owned and run by the same family, remaining true to its roots by staying at the very same premises where it first opened its doors – 89 Jermyn Street, London. But how did it all begin?
Early in the 18th century, Floris founder Juan Famenias Floris began a small business with his wife Elizabeth, selling shaving products, combs and fragrances in the St James’ area of Westminster, London. They opened their shop together on Jermyn Street, which remains at the heart of Floris London today, being run by the same family that set out with a fragrant dream.
In 1818, while living abroad, iconic horror author Mary Shelley of Frankenstein fame wrote to close friend and fellow author Thomas Love Peacock, who was in London at the time, asking whether he could send her “two hairbrushes and a small toothbrush” from Floris in his next parcel. By 1820, skilfully made combs had become a speciality of Floris, and were greatly valued and sought after by the company’s elite clientele. It was this craftsmanship that attracted the attention of King George IV, who awarded Floris its first Royal Warrant as Smooth Pointed Comb Maker to His Majesty. A Royal Warrant is a mark of recognition given to brands that provide products or services to members of The Royal Family for no less than five years.
In 1856, The Crimean War drew to a close, bringing ‘The Lady with the Lamp’, Florence Nightingale, back to London, where she began setting up a training school for nurses to follow in her wake at St Thomas’ Hospital in Waterloo. In 1863, James Floris received a letter from Nightingale, thanking him for his “beautiful sweet-smelling nosegays”, a letter which is still proudly framed and hung inside Floris London’s premises today.
Not the only historic British icon to purchase perfume from Floris, one of the most celebrated Brits to ever live, Winston Churchill, also showed a fondness for Floris’ products, specifically Special No.127 and Stephanotis, both of which are still available today as part of the Floris Classic Collection.
In 1870, Mary Anne Floris married James R.D Bodenham, and in July of the following year, the two had their first child. Soon after, the pair settled in West London at ‘dear old Ivy Lodge’, which would become the family home for the next 50 years. Over the course of their marriage, 16 children were born, with each enjoying an idyllic childhood, full of countless joyful memories. In 1878, Mary and James took over Floris from Mary’s brother, Joseph.
By the 50s, Floris’ reputation had extended overseas, with more and more orders being exported to the United States of America, where the brand was gaining momentum and popularity. A vial of Rose Geranium was made for beauty icon Marilyn Monroe while she stayed at historic landmark, the Beverley Hills Hotel, California.
In order to satisfy the ever growing demand Floris were faced with; they opened another factory in Devon, which was officially opened by the late Princess Diana in 1989, where all Floris products continue to be produced.
In 2010, Floris celebrated their 280th anniversary, unveiling an exclusive new perfume, entitled ‘280’, of which only 280 bottles were made using the finest oils and ingredients sourced from all around the world. This floral fragrance was inspired by the family’s rich heritage in the perfume industry.
Entering the 21st century, Floris opened the doors of their second shop to the public, this time situated at 147 Ebury Street in Belgravia, West London. This new boutique offers all products produced by Floris, as well as a bespoke perfume service for its eminent clientele. In celebration of this, the Belgravia store launched a new fragrance entitled “Ebury Street”, which the brand describes as “an oriental floral fragrance with fruity notes and a twist of anise and pink peppercorn.”
The following year, Floris celebrated Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee with the launch of Royal Arms – Diamond Edition. This was an updated version of previous fragrance Royal Arms, which was created to celebrate Her Majesty’s birth in 1926. Being the only perfumier to be awarded a Royal Warrant from The Queen, Floris London created a limited edition of Royal Arms Diamond Edition which were wrapped in newspapers dating back to the year 1914 in the warehouse of Floris. One of these historical pieces was displayed in July 2013 during The Queen’s Coronation Festival in the gardens of Buckingham Palace.
Last year saw Floris stray from their roots slightly with the launch of The Gentlemen Floris Collection, a range of the finest skincare and grooming products to be blended effortlessly into the daily routine with the promise of impeccable results from a British perfumery institution. This collection consisted of 8 pieces, ranging from face scrub to post shave moisturiser and eye cream, all of which are infused with No.89 fragrance, an iconic aspect of the Floris collection for over six decades.
Today, the brand finds itself appointed the Official Scent of London Collections Men 2016. This partnership has come from a joined strong belief in the work of the British Fashion Council in bringing British designers and brands through LCM, and also included scenting from the Floris Men’s Fragrance and Home Fragrance ranges.
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