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Laura Ashley Biography



Laura Ashley was a fabric and fashion designer who created a global company and brand. She was born Laura Mountney in 1925. She was raised as a Baptist and educated in London . She eventually married Bernard Ashley in 1948 and settled in London . Her first success in designing was when she sold her headscarves, table mats and napkins to a man named John Lewis.

With the business on the rise, they moved their operation to Kent and opened their first factory and called it the Ashley Mountey Company. But Laura missed Wales and the family would eventually move to Powys and set their business up in Machynlleth. Soon, more factories were opening up all over Mid Wales and Laura Ashley dresses were being bought and sold all over Europe .

Laura Ashley opened stores in Paris , Geneva , London , Brussels and Llanidloes while her floral designs and distinctive patterns gained popularity. By 1981, business was booming, as 5,000 outlets were open all across the world. Laura Ashley had also expanded into home furnishings.

In 1985 on her 60 th birthday, Laura fell down a flight of stairs at her daughter’s cottage and died. The following year her company was valued at over $200 million, however the value began declining as fashions changed and cheaper mass produced products hit the market.