Five Minutes with the Founder | Chloë Luxton, Bramley

Over the next few weeks we will be spending five minutes with the founders of our 12 new Brands of Tomorrow, getting to know them and their businesses, and finding out the stories behind their brands. Today we meet Chloë Luxton, who shares her journey: from shop floor to Head Office at Paperchase, via Gucci, Cowshed and Green & Spring, and finally the purchasing a Wiltshire pub – which is where the Bramley brand was born.

Tell us about Bramley?

Bramley is a bath, body & home brand inspired by and made in the British countryside. When I launched in 2012, I set out to change the excessive overuse of plastics and mass-produced formulations used in the hospitality industry. With sustainability at the core, I created a range of small-batch, refillable, natural products that went on to challenge how hotels, and their guests, viewed amenities in their rooms.

Blending our unique apple seed ingredient with therapeutic essential oils, we create products that not only look beautiful in the bathroom but smell wonderful, evoke a sense of wellbeing, and have genuine benefits for skin and hair.

Bramley can be found in over 500 boutique hotels and pubs and a selection of independent retailers, including Fortnum & Mason. Our award-winning collection is continually growing with recent additions of Little B for children and Digby for dogs, and some other exciting projects to launch in 2021.

Tell us the story of how you built your brand?

In 2012 my husband and I moved out of London and bought a pub in the Wiltshire countryside. There were 8 bedrooms and we needed a range of products for the bathrooms, so I looked at what was on the market for hotel amenities and realised that there was no one doing what we wanted for the pub (natural, refillable, beautiful products), so I decided to create Bramley. Initially the products were purely for the pub guests to enjoy during their stay, and then the guests and fellow pub owners asked if they could buy it for their homes or the loos in their establishments, and it grew from there. It has been slow, organic growth, which has suited me because it worked around my small family; now we’re stocked in over 500 hotels, pubs & restaurants as well as being in key retailers such as Fortnum & Mason.

Why did you choose to set up your business in the luxury sector?

I chose to create beautiful products and the quality of the ingredients within them – the essential oils & natural bases – alongside the fact that all our packaging and manufacturing are UK based, means that our products are more expensive and therefore naturally sit in the luxury sector. We also choose to work with likeminded boutique hotels & independent retailers, who share our ethos, thus ensuring that we protect the Bramley brand.

What is your favourite thing about your job?

As well as being the founder, I am also the Creative Director, and I love the creative process (funnily enough!). I enjoy coming up with new products, designing their packaging with my graphic designer, I love seeing people’s reaction to them, and obviously watching them sell. I really do feel an immense sense of excitement & gratitude every time an order comes through, and I don’t think that will ever go away.

What and/or who is your source of inspiration and motivation?

As a company, a lot of our inspiration comes from the natural world, it is the basis of all our products. We wanted to bottle that feeling you get when you’ve had the most amazing weekend away (at a hotel that has Bramley in the bedrooms of course!), and you come home with a bottle of our Body Wash in your bag – the feeling you get each time you use it, and it transports you back to that weekend away, where you felt truly relaxed & happy. It is also really important to us that we respect the natural world too, so sustainability is at the heart of everything we do. We want to tread lightly on our fragile planet and not leave our mark for the wrong reasons.

If you could have any other job in the world what would it be?

I really enjoy making art – I’m no artist but I have discovered a relaxing hobby involving gold leaf & paper, so maybe an artist? I also love the idea of being a jewellery designer because I’m such a magpie for anything sparkly or shiny!

If you could do something differently in your career what would it be?

I am very lucky to have had a brilliant career prior to starting Bramley. I had 4 happy years at Paperchase, starting on the shop floor after university and working my way up to head office, where I worked as a merchandiser. It was really important to me to make that journey (from shop floor to head office) because I wanted to see all aspects of how the business worked. My following job was at Cowshed, where I was really thrown in at the deep end and basically put in front of a desk and told to get on with it! I thoroughly enjoyed it, and met my husband Charlie there, but it was a full on 4 years. I then left Cowshed to work on Green & Spring for the hotel group, A Curious Group of Hotels, launching it in Liberty & Harvey Nichols. My time at Cowshed and Green & Spring was a huge learning curve in all areas of the business and stood me in good stead when I decided to create Bramley. There was also a 6 month stint as a PA at Gucci Group in amongst those jobs – that was eye opening, because I realised I really was a rubbish PA! So to answer the question – I don’t think there is anything I would change.

Where do you see yourself and your company in 10 years’ time?

Bramley will be 10 next year so in another 10 years it will be 20, gulp. I see Bramley going from strength to strength and our aim is to become the go to for luxury bath & body products both for hotels and at home. Personally, I see a beach and a piña colada beckoning!

What does success look like to you?

It’s that feeling you get when an order, however small, comes in. I don’t ever take any of the success for granted, I don’t sit back and pat myself on the back because there’s always so much more to do – that’s the bit I get excited about.

What advice do you have for any young entrepreneurs looking to start their own business?

Know your market, really do your research & understand it, and the same goes for your product, if you have those two things under your belt, then go for it! It is such an amazing journey with highs & lows but it’s definitely worth it.

What is your greatest luxury under £10?

A book, I love a good read and the ultimate luxury for me (with three small children) is taking time in the afternoon to curl up on the sofa with my book!