As a Daylesford devotee, the ever impressive Lady Carole Bamford is someone I have huge admiration for. As her lifestyle empire continues to grow (with another haven of health recently opening in London’s Marylebone and exciting expansion into Asia), here I talk travel wish-lists, nature & nurture with the inspiring figure behind Bamford.
Q: What was the genesis for creating Daylesford Organic in 2002 and Bamford in 2006? It seems healthy living and a holistic approach to life is becoming the norm so what propelled you 10+ years ago to embark on such a concept?
I have always believed in eating to be healthy – enjoying simple, seasonal food that nurtures the mind and the body. For me this means eating organic.
I became interested in organic farming around 40 years ago, when we were living and farming in Staffordshire. I was in the garden one day with my daughter, Alice, and noticed that my freshly planted roses were beginning to wilt. It turned out they were spraying roundup on the farm and the toxins had carried in the air from the fields and affected the roses. As a new mother I was horrified. Then a little later I was at an agricultural show and walked in to The Soil Association’s tent, where I met the most inspiring man and ended up talking to him about organic farming for an hour and half. It was a real open-window moment and that night I said to my husband: we can’t carry on farming as we are – and so we set about converting the family’s farms in Staffordshire and Gloucestershire to organic, responsible farming based on traditional methods.
In 2002 we opened the first Daylesford farm shop in Gloucestershire, selling seasonal, organic produce from the farm, alongside a small café. There are now four stand-alone farmshops with cafés in Gloucestershire, Pimlico Road, Notting Hill and Marylebone; a concession in Selfridges Food Hall and virtual farmshops on Ocado.
Of course it is not just about eating organic food - it is a way of living sustainably and naturally. Our philosophy is 'nature and nurture' and everything that we make from food to clothing is all part of this. I have always believed that what goes on the skin is as important as what we put inside our bodies, which is why we created the Bamford bath and body range of natural, organic products. They began life in the Bamford Haybarn spa and are now available from our own shops in London, at Daylesford and also now in Japan. Our Bamford collection of women’s wear is made using natural materials and wherever possible we work with specialist artisans around the world - all closely aligned to our philosophy. It is all part of this commitment to natural living.
Q: There is exciting talk of new projects across London and around the world, including the recent opening of Bamford in Tokyo, so what does the future hold for Bamford and Daylesford?
I have a great love for Japan and have always felt an affinity with the people and their values and so the opening of our store in Tokyo was a dream come true. We opened in April this year, during the flowering of the sakura cherry blossom - a very special time in Japan when, for one week only, nature take over the city and Tokyo is at its most beautiful.
The store is in Midtown Tokyo – in my mind the best shopping district in Tokyo – and it is the first of its kind for Bamford as the focus is on Bath and Body, our capsule Haybarn collection of reaped cashmere and cotton pieces and a nurturing Haybarn Spa.
Our second big opening this year for Bamford was in South Audley Street, in the heart of Mayfair, which opened its doors this summer. Hidden behind a beautiful 19th century façade, our second London store is a peaceful and inspiring space and the perfect showcase for all of our collections including ready to wear, Bath and Body and also objects for the home - understated artisan work that reflects Bamford's commitment to craft and simplicity. In May this year, we also opened our fourth stand-alone Daylesford Farmshop and Café in Marylebone, which is very exciting for us and I am enjoying getting to know the local area.
At Daylesford we are always working on new and exciting products, and over the course of the last year the team has worked hard to produce our new ‘Eat to be Healthy’ range, which is going from strength to strength. Our customers enjoy delicious, good quality food and ingredients and I hope that the new range helps them to eat healthily at home and on the move.
Q: The collaboration with your son, George, to create Bamford Grooming Department draws on travel and a sense of discovery, can you share a little about where in the world inspires you?
The first collection, aptly called Edition 1 is inspired by our travels in the Far East, South Africa and at home in England. We have used black rice and ginger in the exfoliating face wash, which is a nod to our Asian travels. The hand and body wash is blended with English willow while the daily moisturiser is made of British-sourced oils of blackcurrant seed. South African resurrection plant is another key ingredient in the moisturiser. It helps the skin to adapt to changing conditions, making it suitable for all climates and perfect for travel.
Q: You mention travel is an important part of your life - where is your go-to place for time with family and also when with friends?
We often travel with family and friends and at this time of year we love to go to the South of France. Just over 15 years ago we fell in love with a beautiful Provençal chateau, Château Léoube, which had an established vineyard and olive groves. We now produce organic wines and our particular favourite is Secret de Léoube. We spend time on the beach, going for walks and enjoying lunches and dinners with friends and family. We also particularly enjoy going to the local food markets both in France and Italy. There is always such a wide variety of fresh, seasonal, local produce, which for me is when food tastes its best.
We also travel quite a bit with my husband’s work. India is a place we return to time and time again. There is something very special about this incredible country, always a new discovery just around the corner. India has been such an inspiration to me - so much so that its influences can be seen in our Bamford womenswear collections over the years – and I am a huge admirer of their artisan skills and crafts.
Q: Where do you dream of visiting but have yet to travel to?
Whenever I am by the sea or ocean I love to collect shells… However snorkelling off Lizard Island, Australia, is one of my dreams…
Q: The Cotswolds continues to be a heaven of R&R for those of us looking to escape hectic London life – what do you hope each of us leaves with?
Feeling relaxed, rejuvenated and revived.
For more behind the scenes of Bamford visit Carole's website www.carolebamford.com