D.R Harris & CO. LTD. one of London’s oldest pharmacies has been in St James’s Street for over 200 years. This family-owned business holds the warrant to HRH The Prince of Wales. They are renowned for their range of quality products for men and women. These include soaps, colognes, bath and shaving preparations, skin care and aromatherapy oils. The majority of their products are still produced by traditional methods, being hand-made and packed in their own premises in London.
1. Where are you located?
We have shops at 35 Bury Street and 52 Piccadilly in central London. Our main shop at 29 St. James’s Street is closed for 18 months as the whole building is refurbished. We will be back there in summer 2015.
2. When did you start this business?
The business was founded as apothecaries in 1790 by Henry Harris. His cousin Daniel Rotely Harris gave the company its name D. R. Harris.
3. When did you realize that this is what you wanted to pursue?
In the early 1790's the first Harris brothers started to create their own Lavender Waters and Classic Colognes alongside the more traditional remedies that apothecaries would have created. Soon Harris’s got a reputation in the fashionable St James’s area of London for these colognes and it is a popularity which survives to this day.
4. Describe a few steps you you to make this happen.
The quality of the products has always been of the utmost importance to every generation of Harris from the 1790's until the present day. This, combined with an interest in creating new and innovative products has meant that D. R. Harris has stayed interesting and relevant for over 220 years.
5. How would you deal with a customer who didn't know what they wanted?
We have many customers who have been shopping with us for over 50 years and know exactly what they want but also many who are just discovering us for the first time and don’t know our products at all. With these customers we ask them what sort of scents and products they usually like but generally just give them the time and space to try everything out and decide for themselves. Of course, there is only so much smelling you can do before it becomes a blur!
6. What are some of your accomplishments as a business?
I think one of the main accomplishments of the business has got to be the fact that it still exists after 224 years! One of our strongest points as a business is our discreet but attentive customer service. We have a great number of regular customers who are very loyal. We are now enjoying a much larger audience around the world and also many younger customers are now discovering us which is very edifying.
7. What do you believe makes a quality product?
Insisting on the best ingredients and not cutting corners.
8. Where do you get your inspiration from?
We try and not to be too affected by what other companies are doing. We know that there are many people who like the way we are and we are not trying to become something else. We listen to our customers a lot and take their comments on board if we are re-formulating or making a change to the packaging. We’re also always willing to listen to people’s suggestions for new products.
9. Where can readers find out more about you and your work?
Twitter - @DRHarrisLondon
Instagram - @DRHarrisLondon