Laura Ashley is one of the world’s best loved fashion and home furnishings companies today, but it originated from very humble beginnings.
Laura and Bernard Ashley started printing fabric on their kitchen table in London in 1953, following a WI exhibition on traditional handicrafts.
Laura was inspired to make her own patchwork quilts, but couldn’t find any suitable fabrics in the shops so the young, enterprising couple set about producing their own. A £10 investment in all the equipment, along with library trips to learn everything they could about fabric printing, kick started their fledgling attempts.
From here their ‘handicraft’ extended to scarves, tea towels, and place mats… and their business grew as they moved and developed products in line with changing trends and market tastes.