Last week I got invited for a real treat of a day out; the opportunity to join six other bloggers at the Baylis & Harding head office in Redditch. What was lovely about it was that this is one of my favourite products and is something that is regularly in my house and adorning my bathroom because it looks posh and smells delicious. When guests come and use it they remark that it is always a joy to see what hand-wash I’ve currently got on show (extra brownie points for me!). I was excited to find out about the business, enjoy a rare posh lunch and catch up with some of my lovely blogging buddies as always.
As a bit of background, Baylis and Harding was founded in the 1960s by David Slater and Marcia Simmons. They started with a little shop under Spaghetti Junction in Birmingham and became known as Midlands Cosmetic Sales. They would regularly take to the roads and sell setting lotion to hairdressers and coined the first ever gift set from using left over florist baskets and turkey nets. Years later, the business was taken over by the next generation and today is run by the children of the founders Adrian Slater and Tania Fossey. They took over the company; developed it; re-branded it to Baylis and Harding; and grew it into the successful gift and toiletry company it is today. You may or may not know but Baylis & Harding is found in 1 in 3 UK households.
The offices were beautiful, the walls adorned with pictures of Granny Baylis and Granny Harding, Adrian and Tania’s grandmother’s and both Tania and Adrian spoke with a passion and fondness about their business and how they grew up into it from an early age. It was refreshing to hear about a truly British business that has bucked against the recession and actually benefited from it as they found that people still want to have a little bit of luxury in their lives but don’t want to feel ripped off with expensive price tags.
From talking to Tania and Adrian they have stayed true to the key principle that the original business was founded on and that is to provide affordable luxury products. The original Midland Cosmetics Company was the first company to set a price point of 99p on their products – and this was the attraction of the brand for many women in the early 60′s who wanted to look good but didn’t have a high income to support the current fashion trends. When creating new products and expanding the range you will see they often use the same shape and size bottle for their products, thereby keeping the packaging cost down and by challenging the cost of ingredients by asking their chemists to break down an ingredients list so that they can find out the ‘what it should cost’ price they are able to keep their products looking gorgeous and affordable.
They have signature scents – such as their gorgeous “sweet mandarin & grapefruit” & “french lavender & cassis”….but they also have product seasons, creating different ranges throughout the year.
It is testament to this that you can buy Baylis and Harding products for as little as £2 and nothing from their ranges will cost you more than £45 to buy. Some might say why is it so cheap to buy, but I have to say I agree with the directors of the company when they say ‘why should you have to pay more?’ Their products, particularly their Great Hair Moroccan hair care range are modeled on some of the most expensive salon brands but yet cost up to a third less at £6.
The offices had a warm, open plan feel to them and it was clear that both Adrian and Tania love their business and coming up with new products. We were allowed to look around the sample shop and treated to sneak previews of their Beauticology range in gorgeous gingerbread and cupcake flavours – in pretty packaging and cute lunch boxes for gift sets this is a gorgeous range and perfect for teenagers and mum’s who love a bit of retro kitsch in their home.
Their new Fair Trade range is impressive and very reasonably priced; the Hydrating Honey Hand wash looks as you’d expect (absolutely gorgeous) and is packed with vitamin E extract which gently cleanses the skin to leave it feeling soft and nourished. Priced at £3.00 this is excellent value for a Fair Trade hand-wash.
After a gorgeous lunch, which was free from interruptions by small people going ‘mum, can I have that, ooh what have you got mum’, we were treated to a supermarket sweep style shopping experience in a Baylis & Harding pop up shop that had been created for us. We were given 10 minutes (although I think the lovely lady from Marketing let us have a bit longer), a super strong Baylis & Harding bag and were allowed to help ourselves to as much as we could physically shove, push and cajole into the bag. I may add that some of us (me lol!) even utilised our underarms to grab a few extra beautiful gift boxes and this was such a treat – to be able to pick from the amazing product range on offer gifts and treats for us and not worry about the cost is something most us of would love to have a go at.
I felt very fortunate to have been invited to be part of this day, and you will have to keep your eyes peeled for some competitions to win some gorgeous Baylis & Harding goodies as these are coming soon. Thank you to Tania and Adrian and the extended team at Baylis & Harding for making us feel so welcome, it was a friendly, open and inspirational visit. If you want to support a British business and enjoy a bit of luxury in your life then check out the full range of Baylis & Harding toiletries on their website. You can also find them on facebook and twitter for competitions, news and special offers.
With a company who has such strong ethics at the heart of their business and are so focused on making sure that their customer can afford their products without sacrificing on quality is definitely the sort of company I want to be associated with.
—-Disclaimer: I was invited to attend an event at Baylis & Harding and provided with some products; I have chosen to write about the day purely as content for my blog. Interested in getting a review, competition or guest post for your product? Contact me Charlotte Everiss for details.