Laura Ashley, one of the world’s best-loved fashion and home furnishings companies originates from humble beginnings. In the early 1950s, enthused by an exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum, Laura had a desire to create small scale prints which could be used for patchwork. With a small investment of £10, Laura and Bernard Ashley set up a homemade printing press on their kitchen table and started to print simple mono print patterns for neck scarves, tablemats, napkins and tea towels. The products proved to be so popular, within a short space of time they were selling in large quantities to retailers such as John Lewis and Heals in London.
Laura Ashley became renowned for its abundance of small scale prints, particularly for dress fabrics, and by 1975 the Company had 40 shops in the UK and abroad.