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Evelyn And Crabtree - Crabtree & Evelyn, Purveyors of Upscale, All Natural Beauty Products

history of crabtree and evelyn crabtree and evelyn product lines la source collection gardeners collection naturals collection aromatherapy distillations collection india hicks

Crabtree and Evelyn are the manufacturers of a line of soaps, toiletries, and other upscale beauty and grooming products sold globally both in unaffiliated retail stores and in the company’s own proprietary chain of branded shops.

History of Crabtree and Evelyn

Despite its English-sounding name, Crabtree and Evelyn was actually founded in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1973 when Cyrus Harvey, owner of the Brattle Theater, began selling luxury soaps from a 10-foot-square shop adjacent to the theater. During a buying trip to London, Harvey met a young British graphic designer named Peter Windett who provided the fledgling company with a name: “Evelyn” in honor of the 17th century British naturalist John Evelyn and “Crabtree” for the fruit bearing shrubs, ancestors to the modern apple, whose bright pink flowers are one of the harbingers of the English spring. Windett also originated the company’s distinctive packaging inspired by traditional botanical prints.

Cyrus Harvey was a devotee of the “still room,” an English tradition dating back to medieval times when the lady of the manor distilled essential oils from the lavender, roses, peppermint and other plants growing in her kitchen garden to make the medicines, perfumes and other products used by her household. Harvey combined these essential oils with ingredients like aloe, milk and honey to create holistic, all-natural soaps, bath oils and skin care products. The products proved popular with consumers. In the 1990s Crabtree and Evelyn expanded its product line to include gifts, home décor items, nightware, gourmet foods and tea. By 2009, the company operated 126 concept stores within the United States, and an additional 130 affiliated stores internationally.

In 1996 Cyrus Harvey sold the company to Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd., a Malaysian investment group. Operational management continued to be handled from the US and UK. In 2009, the US unit of Crabtree and Evelyn filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, another victim of an economic downturn that put a severe crimp in discretionary consumer spending. During this time, however, the British unit of the company continued to expand and by the start of 2010, US operations had recovered completely.

Crabtree and Evelyn Product Lines

Crabtree and Evelyn claims to use over 160 natural botanical ingredients in its product lines, extracted and distilled from traditional medicinal plants and herbs. The company eschews the use of artificial shelf life extenders like alcohol sulfates from propylene oxides, mineral oil or parabens. In order to safeguard its recipes, Crabtree and Evelyn does not list ingredients on its packaging; however its website confirms that avocado butter, grape seed oil, shea butter and olive oil are among the emollients used.

Crabtree and Evelyn designs products for both women and men.

Crabtree and Evelyn’s top five beauty collections are:

La Source Collection

Crabtree and Evelyn dubs its La Source line of soaps, body washes, body lotions, hand creams, and bath salts “therapies.” Their recipes incorporate mineral salts and seaweed, and their scent is designed to be reminiscent of a fresh ocean breeze. This collection is Crabtree and Evelyn’s bestselling line.

Gardeners Collection

Gardeners’ creams are traditional formulas intended to restore hands roughened from laboring long hours in the garden. Crabtree and Evelyn’s take on the recipe incorporates nutrient rich shea butter, a natural fat extracted from the seeds of the African shea tree. The product line includes scrubs, cleansers, liquid hand soap, hand therapy cream, hand recovery cream and a manicure product to soften cuticles.

Naturals Collection

Crabtree and Evelyn’s natural collection is an assortment of shower mousses, body lotions and body butters made from plant extracts, emollient butters and botanical oils. They contain no synthetic ingredients or colorants. The scents include:

• Lemon Grass and Brown Sugar
• Avocado, Olive and Basil
• Mango and Grapefruit
• Cocoa, Nutmeg and Cardamom

Aromatherapy Distillations Collection

Aromatherapy has become a popular mood enhancer in the last 15 years. Crabtree and Evelyn’s line of aromatherapy oils are designed to be dabbed on pulse points, added to a warm bath or used in simmering pots. The scents include spearmint, mandarin orange, eucalyptus, lavender, and a blend of lavender, rosewood, tonka, chamomile, vanilla and violet leaf called “Muir Woods.”

India Hicks

India Hicks is a British high fashion model who turned to design once her runway career was finished. Her signature line includes body creams, fragrances and candles reminiscent of hot nights on a tropical island.

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