Laura began her highly successful fashion empire in the 1950's with her husband Sir Bernard Ashley from their home in London. In 1961 they moved to Carno, Wales, their business continued to develop, expanding steadily they moved into a disused railway station!
Apparently, Laura began designing as a hobby whilst raising her children. The idea occurred to her that there would be a market for classic 'period' designs after she visited the Victoria and Albert Museum. The company was originally calle
d 'Ashley Mountney', it was Bernard who suggested the change to 'Laura Ashley'. It was also his innovation with the screen printing process that became the catalyst for their incredible growth during the next two decades. He'd developed a way of printing patterns quickly.
In the early 1970's Laura's designs arrived on-screen and in magazines, they were everywhere and sales went ballistic. Suddenly you could buy Laura Ashley all over the world. According to the official Laura Ashley website, on opening in 1974 their shop in Paris sold out on its first day! The following year Laura turned down an OBE since it did not honor Bernard's efforts. She did however accept an award for exports a few years later and indeed Bernard was knighted in 1986.
It was with great sadness that we learned of her death in 1985, it was even reported on the UK National News bulletins and to make matters worse, it happened on her 60th birthday.
Connection: Born in Merthyr Tydfil in 1925. Remained true to her roots right to the end. Now a trust set up in her name 'The Laura Ashley Foundation' continues the good work with projects in mid-rural Wales.
Bernard started another business called Country House Hotels. Her daughter Jane is actively involved in the trust.
link by: DdraigGoch
Short bio of this Welsh Lady whose name appears in many High Streets and Shopping malls