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Yardley of London (usually referred to simply as Yardley or Yardleys) is a British personal care brand and is one of the oldest firms in the world to specialise in cosmetics, fragrances and related toiletry products. Established in 1770, Yardley was a major producer of soap and perfumery by the beginning of the 20th century. By 1910, it moved to London's Bond Street, and in 1921 Yardley received its first Royal Warrant. Today, Yardley holds two Royal Warrants. Since 2009, it is owned by Indian conglomerate Wipro.
|Founder||Samuel Cleaver (1770)|
William Yardley (1823)
|Products||Perfumery and Toiletries|
|Parent||Wipro (but certain markets are still owned by Lornamead)|
The company was established by the Cleaver family in 1770, the official date displayed on its product labels. According to the company's website an earlier incarnation existed prior to this but most records of the earlier company were lost in the Great Fire of London of 1666.
The company is named after William Yardley, who purchased the firm in 1823 from the sons of the founder Samuel Cleaver, who had gone into bankruptcy. The company became Yardley & Statham in 1841 when Charles Yardley, the son of William, took on William Statham as a partner in the business. At the time, the business sold perfumes, soaps, powders, hair pomades and other toiletries.
In 1851, the company, still known as Yardley & Statham, exhibited at The Great Exhibition in The Crystal Palace. That same year, the company changed its name to Yardley & Co. Yardley & Statham exhibited soap and perfume including a soap called Old Brown Windsor, which was embossed with a picture of Windsor Castle and was one of their first production soaps.
In 1913, Yardley adopted Francis Wheatley's "Flowersellers" painting from his "Cries of London" series as their new corporate logo. The yellow primroses being sold in baskets in the painting are replaced by the company with sheaths of lavender.
Yardley's signature scent is English Lavender, which was launched in 1873. English Lavender was popular during the Victorian Era in England and was imported to the USA in the 1880s where it became popular in American households. The lavender that Yardley uses in their products is the variety Lavandula angustifolia, which is specially grown for Yardley in the South of England. The variety of lavender used by Yardley was selected by the company in the 1930s after a several year search for the finest variety.
Due to the growing popularity of Yardley soaps and cosmetics at the turn of the 20th century, the company opened a shop in 1910 on Bond Street in London. The original Yardley shop on Bond Street was at 8 New Bond Street, but it later moved to 33 Old Bond Street.
In 1967, British model Twiggy becomes the face of Yardley. The company sold "Twiggy Eyelashes," "Twiggy Paint" and other cosmetics with her as the spokesmodel. Yardley became a symbol of "Swinging London" and was associated with the 1960s British youth culture of miniskirts, Carnaby Street and mod fashions.
In 1991 Yardley introduced English Blazer, a range of men's grooming products.
In 1998 Yardley was placed into receivership after a year of marketing attempts to update its old-fashioned image.
Wipro Consumer Care and Lighting acquired Yardley in certain markets including Asia, Middle East, Australasia as well as North and West Africa for $45.5 million. In August 2012, Wipro purchased the UK/European division from Lornamead, with the exception of Germany and Austria, where Lornamead still holds the rights to the brand.
Yardley has had a long association with the British Royal Family and has been awarded the Royal Warrant of Appointment six times. The company has supplied several British monarchs with toiletries.
- 1921 – Edward, Prince of Wales, "Perfumers and fine soap makers"
- 1932 – Queen Mary, "Perfumer"
- 1949 – George VI, "Purveyors of soap"
- 1955 – Elizabeth II, "Manufacturers of soap"
- 1960 – Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, "Perfumers and manufacturers"
- 1995 – Charles, Prince of Wales, "Manufacturers of toilet preparations"
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Yardley was founded in London in 1770 by William Yardley, a purveyor or swords, spurs and buckles for the aristocracy. He took over a lavender soap business from his son-in-law William Cleaver who had gambled away his inheritance.
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