Andrew Pears was born around 1770 in Mevagissey. He is believed to have spent much of his early life on the family farm in St Ewe before leaving for London at the age of about 18. At this time he had trained as a barber and he continued this trade in Soho from 1789. His customers were wealthy and he was soon making a good living in the capital.
His trade helped his to recognise a gap in the market – the need for a pure and gentle soap. Consequently Pears set about perfecting a way of refining the quality of soap, The resulting product was of very high quality and was unique in being transparent. This gave it a novelty value and guaranteed immediate popularity. Pears Soap can still be identified by its unique image today.
Andrew Pears retired from business in 1838, leaving his grandson, Francis, to continue the business of the London-based firm of A & F Pears. The son in law of Francis was Thomas J Barratt, who is often referred to as the father of modern advertising. It was he who eventually saw the potential of Sir John Everett Millais’ painting ‘Bubbles’ as an ideal advertisement for Pears.