Chloë Luxton has the most enviable of jobs, creating heavenly beauty products from nature and the British countryside. After learning her craft at Cowshed and Green & Spring, she founded Bramley when her husband was in need of British-made products for his Wiltshire pub, The Beckford Arms back in 2009. Word spread fast and today Bramley products can be found on bathroom shelves everywhere from The National Trust to The Pig.
Home is an old farmhouse in Fovant, a little village in Wiltshire, where I live with my husband Charlie, our three children Otto 7, Monty 6 and Inca 4, our dog Elsa and 3 chickens (Claw, Bertie & Snowy – all hens, but obviously the first two were named by the boys!). We bought the house just over 4 years ago and have an acre & a half of garden and a little stream, which is perfect for the children to run around/paddle in and for building dens. Fortunately, we also have the village shop at the end of our drive and the pub opposite.
What are the 3 best things about country life?
One of my favourite things about country life is the lack of stress – I don’t need to worry about traffic (unless it’s a tractor) or finding a parking space. I also love (and embrace) the changing seasons because I think this can sometimes pass you by when you live in a city. Here, when it snows, you’re stuck because you’re snowed in and when it’s sunny you can sunbathe in your garden. The other best thing about country living is the freedom. I can walk to the end of the garden and I’m in a field where I can just walk or go for a run, and when the children are old enough, they will be able to too.
Saying all that we can’t get a takeaway delivery for love nor money and I miss the spontaneity that public transport offers you – we can’t just order a taxi if we fancy having a few more drinks when we’re out for dinner, one of us always has to drive. That sometimes takes away the ability to have an impromptu (drunken!) evening at a friend’s house which could easily happen in London.
What did you learn from your days at Cowshed?
Working at Cowshed was a baptism of fire! It was only me initially on the team and I was literally given a desk and told to get on with it (with pretty much no handover and definitely no handbook). It allowed me to really learn about the beauty and hospitality business and to get an insight into how a brand is successful. We had many fun evenings at Soho House venues but it was very much a work hard, play hard attitude and I’m very grateful for that time. I met lots of my suppliers that I still use for Bramley and I’ve got some great relationships with people I met there, including my husband!
Where did the name Bramley come from?
In 2009 my husband found a pub, The Beckford Arms, in Wiltshire, and that’s when I had the idea to create the Bramley range. I wanted a name that conjured up natural qualities of the products, the English countryside and a name that made you feel safe. After lots of disastrously naff names, decided on Bramley because it did all those things and, we lived on Bramley Road in west London!
Your job sounds great fun, is it?
I don’t want to come across as one of those annoying people but…I absolutely love my job. I have been incredibly lucky in that I have always loved the companies I have worked for and I think that, if you really believe in the company ethos and brand, then you generally appreciate your job/work. Before Cowshed I worked for Paperchase and after Cowshed I worked for another beauty brand, Green & Spring, my email address was always chloe@ (as opposed to chloe.luxton@) and it made me feel really part of something. The really fun part of my job is that it is so creative and reactive, no two days are the same – one day I’ll be talking about a new product, the next I’ll be talking to a brand about a collaboration. I do realise how incredibly lucky I am and I am very appreciative of it.
Which flowers/plants work the best in bath products?
Good old lavender is great in beauty products because it is a very stable essential oil and it’s a great base to start with and then it can be combined with florals like rose and geranium or with a citrus like lemon or sweet orange to become a completely different fragrance genre. It also has very positive therapeutic effects because it relaxes the mind and soothes aches and pains so it’s a great all rounder. I also love rose absolute but it’s incredibly expensive so can only be used in very small quantities to keep the product affordable. I love a citrus essential oil too because they have very uplifting qualities and who doesn’t need a little lift in the morning!
Which is your personal favourite Bramley product and why?
I’m not just saying this but I do incorporate most Bramley products in my daily routine so I shower with the Body Wash, Shampoo & Conditioner and use the Hand Wash & Hand Cream throughout the day so I love all of those, but one that is a real treat and my favourite scent is the Bath Salts. With three small children running around the house there isn’t much time for an uninterrupted, peaceful bath but when they’re all in bed, that’s where you’ll find me!
What does your daily beauty routine look like/do you have any insider secrets?
It’s pretty simple because I don’t have much time, but I do like to do the school run with a lick of eyeliner and mascara. I make sure I always take my make up off at night with a cleanser and I love an overnight facial oil, my favourite is by Amly. I’ve just turned 42 and I’m starting to see my skin ageing– I wear contact lenses and I wish that I had had laser eye treatment in my 20’s because I’m sure the constant putting in and taking out of the lenses hasn’t been good for the wrinkles around my eyes. I’m at the stage now that I am becoming long sighted so if I was to have my eyes lasered I would still need glasses – but now reading glasses!
How important is sustainability to you?
It’s incredibly important to me and all of us at Bramley, especially as our products come in plastic bottles. I think we all have a part to play and we are looking at all aspects of our business to work out how we can be more sustainable. As part of this process we introduced 1 litre bottles, changed all our plastic bottles to biopolymer plastic (which uses renewable sugarcane in its products as opposed to fossil fuels), all our packaging is fully recyclable; our pallets get upcycled into our retail display units, we are going to be offering all our 250ml products in glass bottles shortly and we’re looking to expand into zero waste stores so that our customers can bring in their own containers and fill up with Bramley.
What’s your favourite season and why?
It has to be late spring, early summer. That’s when the hedgerows are at their prettiest, the days are getting longer and there’s a feeling of excitement in the air, for the promise of what is to come. I really have to gear myself up for the winter come September and focus on the celebrations to get me through – firstly Hallowe’en, then Bonfire Night, then Christmas, then my birthday etc and then, before I know it, we’re back at May!
What are you reading/listening to/enjoying right now?
I’ve just finished reading Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty, which I really enjoyed, and as a consequence I’m about to start watching Big Little Lies (written by the same person). We do love a Scandi thriller in this house and we’ve just finished Greyzone. I love the creativity of the Great British Sewing Bee and Bake Off but my husband isn’t so into them so I watch those when he’s out. In the car I’m enjoying listening to The High Low with Pandora Sykes & Dolly Alderton, which I love because it’s just like having a conversation with friends and I find myself joining in! My favourite cook book is Jamie Oliver’s 5 Ingredients, I’m a big fan of Jamie’s recipes anyway because I think they’re really straightforward and always tasty, but I love this one because I don’t have much time on my hands – all the recipes are really simple and quite often you can rustle something up from the contents of your fridge.
Have you released any new products recently? Is there anything in the pipeline?
We are in the process of moving office/warehouse and haven’t been able to release any new products for a while due to having nowhere to put anything! So we’ve got lots of exciting plans for new products now we have space – first up is a Lip Balm, then launching our core range in glass, we’re going to be expanding our Little B range for children and we’ve got lots of other exciting products in the pipeline… We have just launched a range of amenity products for hotels, which includes bamboo toothbrushes and wooden stick cotton buds – they’re currently in my garage, because we really wanted to bring them in sooner rather than later to help reduce hotels’ plastic consumption.
Bubble bath or shower?
Shower every morning and a bath as a treat.
Swim in the sea or spa day?
Swim in the sea if I’m abroad but otherwise a spa day followed by a beach walk
Up with the lark or night owl?
Up with the lark to go for a run in the morning before the children wake up. I find it a really great way to start the day – also, I know what I’m like, and I’ll always find excuses not to run if I don’t just get up and go! I do love a night out with the girls though but I like to get home and be in bed before midnight.
Pint at the pub or cocktail at a bar?
Glass of wine at the pub – especially as my husband owns 3!
You can find Bramley products for sale at Fortnum’s, Chelsea Physic Garden, Graham & Green, Folka, Hortus Shop, Imagine, Map Gift Shop and Susan Clark Interiors, and it’s also available to order online.