Crabtree & Evelyn

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Crabtree & Evelyn in Guildford High Street
Crabtree & Evelyn, Stratford on Avon
Crabtree & Evelyn, Hong Kong

Crabtree & Evelyn is an international retailer of body, fragrance and home care products with stores globally. Founded in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1968, the brand was acquired in January 2016, by Nan Kai Corporation of Hong Kong.


The company was founded in 1968 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, by Janus Films businessman Cyrus Harvey, English entrepreneur Sue Townsend and designer Peter Windett.[1][2] It opened in a small Cambridge shop under the name The Soap Box.

In 1971, the name changed to Crabtree and Evelyn. In 1977, the company opened a stall in the new Faneuil Hall Marketplace in Boston, and its first stand alone shop was opened by Stephen Miller in the Montgomery Mall outside of Philadelphia Pennsylvania.[3] Harvey and Townsend invented the products while Windett did the design for them. American tourists looked for the store in England prompting the founders to open their first store on Church Street in Kensington in 1980.[2]

The Company's name, conceived by Harvey and Windett was inspired by the 17th Century renaissance Englishman John Evelyn, who wrote one of the first important works on conservation. He is also known for his writings on food, including a book on salads, in which he introduced the first salad dressing made with olive oil to Europe. The Crabtree or Wild Apple symbol is native to Britain and the ancestor of all cultivated apple trees[4] It was highly prized for its beauty, as well as its usefulness in home apothecary.


In 1996, Cyrus Harvey decided to sell the company, and it was sold to Kuala Lumpur Kepong Berhad and operated by a subsidiary as CE Holdings. While funded and managed by the holding company in Kuala Lumpur, day-to-day operations—such as research and development, manufacturing, and design—continue to be based in the UK and US.[2]

In July 2009, Crabtree & Evelyn Ltd. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in U.S. District Court in Manhattan. Following the filing, 30 of its 126 American based stores closed. Stores in the UK were not affected by the filing.[5][6]

CE Holdings was sold to the Hong Kong-based investment-holding company Khuan Choo International Limited, as of July 2012, for USD 155,000,000.[7][8]


External links[edit]

Media related to Crabtree & Evelyn at Wikimedia Commons