Imperial Leather story

  • Eau de Cologne Imperiale Russe

    In 1798 Royal London perfumery Bayley’s of Bond Street, was visited by Russian nobleman Count Olaf, who requested they create a fragrance reminicent of the distinct aroma of the Russian Courts.

    The fragrance they created was named ‘Eau de Cologne Imperiale Russe’, and became his favourite fragrance.

  • Cussons & Sons

    Thomas Tomlinson Cussons is born in Kingston-upon-Hull, England. Thomas forged an early career as a successful wine merchant and had three children, John William, Alexander, Thomas and Florence.


    The Cussons family move to Ossett, Leeds and take over a chemist business,to become known as Cussons & Sons. Thomas quickly acquired 2 additional chemists in Louth and Salford, Manchester, where both his sons worked.


    As qualified Chemists, Cussons began creating their own brand products mainly in medicine, including remedies such as Cussons “Excelsior” Tic Mixture, Cussons Compound Rhubarb Pills and Cussons Black Currant Cough Elixir.

  • The Early Years

    Following the death of his father Thomas, Alexander Thomas Cussons takes complete control of Cussons Sons & Co.


    Alexander purchases an old bleach mill at Kersal Vale, Salford, which becomes the first Cussons factory. In doing so he establishes the firm in mass manufacturing, producing soap, glass bottles and many other products.


    The factory at Kersal Vale becomes the first Cussons soap factory in the UK.


    Cussons Sons & Co. acquire London Perfumers, Bayley’s of Bond Street. Chaired by Alexander Tom Cussons, the acquisition includes many unique fragrance formulas as recorded in the centuries old hand-written journals.

  • 1930

    Cussons launch their first Imperial Leather soap, based on the original Bayley's 'Eau de Cologne Imperiale Russe’ fragrance from 1798.


    Cussons Sons & Co. becomes a public company, with sales now across many Commonwealth countries.

  • 1950

    Imperial Leather was one of the first brands to invest in TV advertising, in between episodes of popular drama. It was this investment that led to the coining of the phrase ‘Soaps’ in relation to such shows in the UK.


    The Cussons Group becomes PZ Cussons after an acquisition by Paterson Zochonis, and renamed PZ Cussons.


    The 80s saw the launch of our famous "triple bath" TV ads featuring a wealthy mother, father and daughter enjoying luxury bathing sessions each in a bath of their own. Various ads were produced on the same theme with the family in a plane, on a train and in their luxurious pad with their butler.


    We enter the Indonesian market for the first time, launching Imperial Leather Talc.

  • 1990's

    Expansion in the COMESA region using Kenya as the manufacturing base.


    Our expansion in the east continues with the launch of our Imperial Leather original classic ivory bar soap.


    We expand our range with new innovations in body wash, surprising and delighting customers with our unique fragrances, something we continue to this day.

  • Modern era

    The turn of the century saw huge developments both in the UK and abroad with many new product launches and a new state of the art Head Quarters built in Manchester.


    Imperial Leather shows no signs of slowing down with the launch of a £26million innovation centre in Manchester, producing 130million bottles of soaps and shampoos every year. The investment shows the brand's continued commitment to local industry and developing even better washing and bathing products.


    In maintaining its promise to offer consumers “a little luxury every day”, Imperial Leather introduced the only foaming shower gel in the market, Imperial Leather Foam Burst. With exploding lather, Foam Burst provides a one of a kind shower experience.

  • 2013

    Imperial Leather Personal Care Journey starts


    The Re-launch of Imperial Leather Personal Care range which entailed the unveiling of the new logo and the upgraded packaging of existing products. There was also the introduction of premium Body Sprays, Body Mists and Signature Body Wash.

  • 2016

    Imperial Leather launched the ‘Ng’ara Na Milioni’ (Sparkle with Millions) National Consumer Promotion to drive excitement of the new Personal Care range and reward loyal users.


    Imperial Leather has a massive global reach and is sold in over 50 countries around the world. From the idyllic beaches of the Maldives to the upper reaches of northern Finland in the Arctic Circle, Imperial Leather will continue to surprise and delight for decades to come.