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.

  • the advertising age

    the advertising age Alexander Cussons was an avid collector of rare orchids and tropical fish. At that time he put his orchid collection up for sale in 1948 the collection amounted to over 6,000 plants. Cussons’ interest in orchids and tropical fish influenced some of their first printed advertisements, with the line ‘both equally exquisite’.

  • 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.

  • 1975

    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

    Comediens Julie Walters and Paul Merton star in some of our funniest ever TV adverts.


    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, suprising and delighting customers with our unique fragrances, something we continue to this day.


    This year saw us launch the innovative ‘Foamburst’, the first shower gel in a can that transforms into a rich lather, leaving skin so silky and smooth that people want to show it off. It’s no coincidence that this was the same year David Beckham was seen in a sarong.

  • 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.


    The Commonwealth fun and games came to Manchester and as part of their continued commitment to the region, Imperial Leather was proud to sponsor them.

  • 2004

    Imperial Leather sponsors the new revamped 'Flume’ ride at Alton Towers theme park in Staffordshire, turning the traditional log-flume logs into floating bathtubs.

  • 2008

    Imperial Leather 'Skinbliss' launches and sponsors Britain’s Next Top Model.


    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.


    Imperial leather now operates in Ghana, Kenya and Nigera – and in 2010 introduced Foamburst the African market.

  • 2013

    Our new £6million, 40,000 sq ft Global Headquarters is opened at Manchester Business Park by the mayors of Manchester and Salford. Designed to accommodate all the company’s growth requirements, it’s home to around 250 staff.


    Sweet Treats range launched in the UK and is an instant success with it's fun marshmallow, foamy banana and fruit chew scents.

  • 2016

    Imperial Leather launched the ‘Ng’ara Na Milioni’ (Sparkle with Millions) National Nigerian 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.