An adventurous and imaginative man, James Bronnley had a passion for perfumery that led him to travel to France at the age of nineteen, to study the art of developing olfactive scents. Achieving this at a time when creating scent was an art form reserved solely for the Parisian elite perfumers, he applied his skills and knowledge to experiment with fusions that were inherently innovative and held a quintessentially British signature.
In doing so, James Bronnley brought home for the first time, accessible luxury in the form of expertly compiled perfumes and indulgently scented formulations. Borrowing £300 from a friend, Bronnley set up a small shed in Holborn and began to sell his quality products.
By 1904 the business had grown so much that James needed to build his own factory in Acton. He employed several members of staff who worshipped him as a very fair boss, who paid well at a time when many other men in charge did not. He even built his staff a tennis court so they could play in their spare time.
After the First World War, Bronnley continued to innovate. Amongst his creations were products developed specifically for women, including hand cream. This was at a time when The Women’s Movement was finding its feet and department stores, like Selfridges & Co. were only just beginning to cater specifically for women. The business went from strength to strength as Bronnley gained key customers such as Fortnum & Mason and Harrods, as well as Macys in the USA.
Although James died in 1938, the Bronnley brand did not – he left behind a thriving business for his daughter, Gladys and her husband, Hans Rossiter to manage. During the Second World War, Gladys and Hans were faced with the challenge of soap rationing. However, as Bronnley soaps lasted longer than other makes, because of their superior quality, most people chose to spend their rations on Bronnley soap.
By 1943, the brand had become famous the world over with sales as far wide as Hong Kong, Brazil, The Canary Islands and the USA. Its reputation for luxury and innovative products led Bronnley England to be awarded its first Royal Warrant from King George VI and later from HRH Queen Elizabeth II. Bronnley still retains its Royal Warrant today.
The factory on the corner of Warple Way became so famous that even the bus conductors called out ‘Bronnley Corner’ as they approached. But disaster struck in 1947, when the factory was destroyed by a large fire. The company was able to rebuild and in 1952, Bronnley moved to a new site in Brackley, Northamptonshire, where the business remained up until 2012.
In 1999, Bronnley partnered with the RHS to create their licensed products – a license it still retains today. Bronnley and the Royal Horticultural Society work in perfect partnership, creating beautiful toiletries inspired by the stunning aromas found in nature.
Today, Bronnley continues to create innovative and perfectly luxurious formulas. In 2015, we worked with master perfumers to bring together expert knowledge to create our new fragrance composition – our new Eclectic Elements collection.
After all – we are the original creators of extraordinary fragrances.
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