Discovering the story of Woods of Windsor
PUBLISHED: 15:32 13 September 2019
We take a closer look at the heritage of a Windsor brand close to our hearts
Woods of Windsor started in an apothecary at the foot of Windsor Castle in 1770. "The original brand owner, Roger Knowles, had moved to the house and shop in the 1970s and discovered a collection of prescriptions carbon dated to 1770, which were written by an apothecarist. These were for potions for the townsfolk of Windsor and for the Royal family," says Head of Marketing Karen Cullen, who has worked on Woods of Windsor and Yardley London for 12 years. "This inspired Knowles to create the Woods of Windsor home fragrance and bath and body range from the back of the chemist shop in Windsor, which then became a worldwide success."
These days, Woods of Windsor is a range of bath and body products inspired by the floral and fauna in the royal parks of England.
"The products have a very high naturally derived ingredient content − up to 97% and are all paraben free," Karen says.
Both Woods of Windsor and its sister brand Yardley London (a range of fragrances and bath and body products inspired by English flowers) have a lot of heritage. But in 2012, both were bought from Lornamead by Wipro. "This was a great opportunity for the brands, as it meant that they became part of a bigger consumer care business that wanted to invest in the future of the brands to grow them and to build on their heritage, values and Britishness," says Karen.
"New products and fragrances are being developed all the time and we have more newness coming in the autumn with our fabulous collection of gift sets.
"We are inspired mostly by fragrance trends but it is vital that the fragrances fit with our brand values and that they'll also appeal to a broad female audience.
"My favourite product is the English Lavender Body Wash. It is such a very therapeutic lavender fragrance and the product is great to use in the shower before bed to aid a good nights' sleep and create a wonderful fragrance in the bathroom.
- 1970: At the old Woods Pharmacy a treasure trove of centuries-old recipes and prescription books were discovered, the formulas of which inspired the creation of a range of fragrances and bath luxuries that became the Woods of Windsor brand.
- 1971: The brand launched a range of perfumery products, including pot pourri and china pomanders, using lavender flowers and rosebuds, inspired by the original formulations, and presented in a way that reflected the historical environment in which they had been created. The products were sold from the Woods pharmacy. By 1974 they were selling to high-end London retailers and department stores like Harrods and Liberty's.
- 1976: Woods of Windsor launched its first commercial room fragrance − Parfum d'ambience − and by 1978 introduced its first commercial drawer liners.
- 1981: Woods of Windsor launched the gentlemen's collection, which was inspired by a formulation used to fragrance Spanish leather. An 1850 etching of Windsor Castle was used for the design of the logo on the packaging to reinforce the brand's heritage. By 1983, they won the Queen's Award for Export.
- 1984: The pharmacy was converted to the very stylish Woods of Windsor flagship shop selling the finest bath, body and homes products. By 1985, the Woods of Windsor business was exported to 40 countries worldwide and by 1989, they won another Queen's award for Export. After achieving great success in the 1990s, the Knowles' sold the business in 2000.
- 2006: The Lornamead Group, leading manufacturer and marketer of personal care products, with a particular focus on investing in heritage brands, acquired Woods o Windsor to reinvigorate the quintessentially English brand.
- 2012: Woods of Windsor, alongside fellow British heritage brand Yardley London, were acquired by Wipro Limited.
- 2016: Re-launched in July 2016 with a beautiful new packaging design reflecting Windsor's beautiful landscape, Woods of Windsor's scents will transport you to the enchanting country gardens that inspired them. Capturing all that is most glorious about our nation in full bloom, each one is infused with a charm and romance that is unmistakably English. The range includes eau de toilettes, bath and shower gels, hand creams, hand washes, dusting powders and soaps.
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