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Laura Ashley Furniture

Laura Ashley Furniture is now known the world over for being one of the foremost designers and manufactures of high quality furniture. But the company hasn’t always been a household name, and its lofty position in the furniture industry actually had fairly humble beginnings in a London kitchen in 1953.

Laura Ashley was then interested in making patchwork quilts, but was hindered by the lack of quality fabrics in town. With her husband Bernard, Laura set about learning how to make her own quilt materials from scratch. With the release of the cinematic classic Roman Holiday. Laura was inspired to produce a line of scarves in a similar fashion as those worn by Audrey Hepburn in the movie. Within a few months after launching this venture, the couple found themselves deluged by orders and they soon began supplying shops in and around the London area including John Lewis and Heal’s.

Not merely content to produce scarves, the couple soon began producing a variety of home accessories, including tea towels and placemats. Most of the couple’s creations at this point featured quaint Victorian style motifs with quirkily humorous depictions of characters. The company was later registered with the name Ashley Mountney Ltd, although the couple later decided to change it to Laura Ashley in order to capitalize on the popularity of their biggest selling products.

Despite a disastrous and costly flood that wiped out much of the company’s equipment and materials in 1955, Laura Ashley Furniture grew steadily over the next few decades. By 1958, the company had developed such a wide range of different products that the couple decided to open a showroom in London. By the end of the 1970s, Laura Ashley Furniture had blossomed into a multi-million dollar industry.

Perhaps the most significant event in the company’s history was the shift to home furnishing from fabric production, a decision that was inspired by the couple’s move to northern France from Wales. The company released its first catalogue that dealt exclusively with home furnishings in 1981. The rest of the 1980s saw the release of even more innovative designs and the development of the distinctive Laura Ashley “style”, which served as the basis of a hugely successful book, The Laura Ashley Book of Home Decorating.

Laura Ashley Furniture truly stands the test of time while always making sure to introduce new innovations along the way. With the 2011 release of a new line of clothing for young girls, the company is poised to bring their distinctive brand of style to a whole new generation of customers, while maintaining the excellence that the company has been known for all these years.

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