Floris founder Juan Famenias Floris and his wife Elizabeth began selling perfume, combs and shaving products in the elegant quarter of London’s St James. The Floris shop they opened at 89 Jermyn Street remains the heart of the business and is still run by their descendants today.
A letter from Robert Floris written to his parents at Jermyn Street as he sourced ingredients from abroad whilst learning the family business. The practice of taking a written page and giving it a one quarter turn before continuing to write across the lines written underneath is known as cross-writing. This was popular in the 18th and 19th centuries due to the high cost of paper and postage which used to be charged by the page and was often paid for by the recipient rather than the sender.
Floris received their first Royal Warrant as Smooth Pointed Comb Maker to HM The King George IV. Skilfully made combs were a speciality of Floris at this time and greatly valued by the company’s elite clientele. While living abroad during 1818 Mary Shelley, author of ‘Frankenstein’ and wife of the Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, wrote to her friend Thomas Love Peacock in London asking him to send her in his next parcel “two hairbrushes and a small toothbrush” from Floris.
The year of the world famous Great Exhibition. The exhibition was held in Hyde Park just a short walk from Jermyn Street. Spanish Mahogany showcases purchased at the exhibition are still in place today. Below is the cover of a price list, also from 1851 which contains some 112 different fragrances "For the Handkerchief".
Florence Nightingale had returned from the Crimean War, where through her work she became known as ‘The Lady with the Lamp’, and was busy setting up a training school for nurses at St. Thomas’ Hospital in Waterloo. In our Jermyn Street shop we display this treasured letter written by Florence Nightingale in 1863 to “Mr Floris” (James) thanking him for his “beautiful sweet-smelling nosegays”.
In 1870 Mary Anne Floris married James R.D. Bodenham. In July 1871 the first of their children was born. Shortly after this they settled in West London at ‘dear old Ivy Lodge’ the family home where they would continue to live for a further 50 years. The couple went on to have 16 children who enjoyed an idyllic upbringing full of many happy memories. In 1878 James and Mary Anne took over the family business from Mary Anne’s brother Joseph.
A receipted invoice dated December 1934 for fragrances purchased by Winston Churchill including Special No.127 and Stephanotis, both of which are still available in the Floris Classic Collection.
During the 1950s Floris increasingly exported orders to the United States where the brand was gaining popularity. A receipt in our collection dated December 1959 shows a purchase of Rose Geranium made for Marilyn Monroe Miller while she stayed at Beverly Hills Hotel, California. Floris products continued to be made by hand on the shop premises at 89 Jermyn Street; this image shows Michael Bodenham (7th generation descendant) working on his next creation.
A newspaper advertisement from the late 1960’s launching the latest fragrance for women, together with a photograph showing the family in the 1970’s standing outside the shop on Jermyn Street.
To satisfy increasing demand the family set up a factory in Devon which was officially opened by HRH Princess Diana in 1989. It is here that all Floris products continue to be made. Below is an early soap mould with the floral border decoration which is still used today.
In 2010 Floris celebrated their 280th anniversary. Unveiling an exclusive new eau de parfum ‘280’, the fragrance was released on a strictly limited basis with only 280 bottles made using the finest oils and ingredients from around the world. The floral oriental creation was inspired by the family’s rich heritage in perfumery.
As Floris entered the 21st century, the family opened the doors to its second shop at the prestigious location of 147 Ebury Street, Belgravia. The new boutique offers the full Floris range, together with a Bespoke Perfumery service for its distinguished clientele. To celebrate the opening, Floris created a new Eau de Parfum “Ebury Street”, a sheer oriental floral fragrance with fruity notes and twist of anise and pink peppercorn.
In honour of Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee, Floris launched Royal Arms – Diamond Edition, an updated version of ‘Royal Arms’, a fragrance originally created to celebrate The Queen’s birth in 1926. As the only perfumer to hold a Royal Warrant from the Queen, Floris crafted a limited edition of Royal Arms Diamond Edition in perfume strength, decanted into six antique crystal dressing-table bottles discovered wrapped in newspaper from the year 1914 in Floris’s warehouse. One of these unique bottles was displayed at The Queen’s Coronation Festival in July 2013 within the gardens of Buckingham Palace.
June of 2015 marked the launch of The Gentleman Floris Collection, a range of high quality skincare and grooming products to cater to the tradition of the daily routine with the impeccable results of a British perfumery institution. Comprising of 8 products, The Gentleman Floris was been curated to cater for every aspect of a man's morning routine, from face scrub to post shave moisturising and eye cream, all of which have been infused with the No. 89 fragrance, an icon amongst the Floris collection for over 60 years.
In January and June of 2016, Floris were delighted to become the Official Scent of London Collections Men 2016. Believing strongly in the work of the British Fashion Council in championing great British designers and brands through LCM, the partnership included scenting from the Floris Men's Fragrance and Home Fragrance ranges.