Baldwins CEO Steve Dagnell stood behind a wooden store counter with two staff members.

From its founding in 1944, Baldwins has transformed from a small herbalist’s shop to a booming health store, selling supplements, oils, organic food and drink, and natural beauty products. 

2024 marks Baldwins’ 180th year

To celebrate this incredible milestone, we’re diving into Baldwins’ rich history with CEO Steve Dagnell. As we’re sure a lot of you know, Baldwins has been a family-run store for decades. In fact, it was Steve’s grandfather Harry Dagnell who bought the store from George Baldwin himself after returning from the First World War.



Despite immense changes over the years, such as the advent of the internet, Baldwins has stayed true to its humble roots. To this day, Baldwins pays homage to its position as London's oldest herbalist. remaining committed to sourcing the finest quality natural products and providing friendly, knowledgeable service. 

When you step into the London shop, you are taken back in time - wooden floors, aromas of ancient remedies and walls packed with shelves of oils, ointments and herbs to address every kind of ailment under the sun. 

Even online, the site has an “olde worlde” feel where you can browse vitamins and supplements, flower essences, natural remedies and aromatherapy products galore.

Join us as we explore how the shop has weathered the winds of change, adapting to the modern climate whilst retaining the core values that have kept customers coming back for generations. It was an absolute joy to speak to Steve and learn about how Baldwins got to where it is today. We hope you enjoy reading this interview as much as we did conducting it!


What is the most pivotal moment in Baldwin’s history?


“For me, there is no single moment that truly encapsulates the store's spirit, or a single event in time that changed the course of its history. Rather, it is the ongoing legacy of how the store has been managed.”

It’s always been a family business, and everyone who has worked in the store through the years understands what’s most important to us - our customer’s wellbeing and a commitment to sourcing and providing natural and effective health products. 

I've been so organically involved in this business for my entire life. I used to come here when I was a child with my father, to visit my grandfather, who ran the store at the time.  This business was run by my grandfather, then by my father and then by me.

I had a very close relationship with my father and we worked together for about 15 years. So much of my view of the company has been influenced by his views and the values that he held dear.”

Baldwins organic skincare products on display in store.


What are the defining characteristics of Baldwins' legacy?


“Baldwins is first and foremost a family store. Keeping that family feel is important, everyone is welcome!

The store has been passed down from generation to generation. There’s a personal connection and commitment to the business that you wouldn’t necessarily get if you were purely in it to make as much money as possible. 

Really, it’s about the team that works together to make sure that we uphold the values that Baldwins is known for. 

I've been fortunate enough to retain staff, many staff, for over 20 years. It's those guys who have really helped to keep things going because they understand the ethos and the values of the company. And I think ethos and values are very important things.

We've always stood for honest, old-fashioned values. We're always trying to do the right thing, irrespective of what the cost of that is, and you need other people within the company who understand those values for it to work. 

We treat everybody honestly and with integrity. It's so important to me that if we say something is organic or pure, that it's all of those things - we never misrepresent products.

We're open and transparent with everybody about the products we offer, how we employ people, terms and conditions, everything like that. Everybody knows what everybody else is earning, then there are no misunderstandings about it. 

When employees are at work, I expect them to subscribe to the values that I set down: honesty, transparency, integrity, not compromising on the quality of the products, and delivering what you say when it comes to products. Because, at the end of the day, that’s how you build customer loyalty. That’s what keeps us going.”

 Wide array of Baldwins herbal supplements on wooden shelves.


Can you tell us a bit more about customer loyalty and what it means to Baldwin’s success?


“It’s crucial really. And it’s a combination of sticking to those values we just discussed but also the little things that can provide a great customer experience. Our customers appreciate being recognised and served by long-term staff who know them personally.

 I think customers return because they trust the quality and integrity of Baldwins’ products, they know that what they purchase is genuinely as described. Of course, there is also that nostalgia, that emotional connection that the store has. 

It’s been around for decades. It might be that your great-grandparents came here, then your grandparents then your parents. You might, like me, remember coming here as a child. 

But really, it comes down to treating our customers with respect, having their best interests at heart, and being true to who we say we are.”


How do you balance tradition and innovation and adapt to a changing market?


“Our product range has changed significantly over the years. Lots of products have fallen by the wayside because of new regulations that have come in and them having to be produced in a certain way. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, of course. 

We’ve had to let go of some products because the order quantities were too huge to make them viable for us. However, we have found more economical ways to offer organic products. 

We've diversified the range of products we offer and do different things. The natural product market has developed hugely over the years. Whilst we've lost a lot of the products we used to sell, there's a much wider range of products now that probably weren't in existence 40 years ago, and we've taken those on.

Of course, companies have to evolve. The evolution of mail order was an interesting time. We started doing mail orders in 1992. I mean, we didn't even have computers in 92! We just had pieces of paper…


Baldwins CEO Steve Dagnell smiling behind a wooden counter.


There were really only two ways to deal with mail-order companies in those days - send them a letter with a cheque or give them a call and pay by credit card. To do that, you had to have a catalogue we started to create one

In 1998, I had the first website built. You know, I'd love to sit here and tell you that I could see exactly where the internet was going to take us in 1998. But I'll be completely honest with you, I had no idea at all! 

I just thought it was an interesting thing, if you like.  I'm interested in technology and the way that technology changes, but I'm not going to pretend to you I understand everything. I absolutely don't.

At the heart of it, we always try to retain our core values of quality and integrity while simultaneously embracing new business practices and technologies. You’ve got to move with the times. 

So as well as adapting our product range, we introduced things like mail order and setting up our online store to help us expand our reach, while still being able to offer the traditional in-store experience. So we get the best of both worlds and hopefully can stay relevant in a changing market, without letting go of that personal customer service of a traditional herbalist, which is so important to us.”


The Baldwins Timeline



  • Founding of Baldwins: George Baldwin establishes the store, initially focusing on herbal medicines. This predates the National Health Service and represents the beginning of what would become a longstanding community health resource.

Late 1800s:

  • Expansion: By the turn of the century, Baldwins operates six shops across London.

Early 1900s:

  • Family Takeover: Steve Dagnell's grandfather, a World War I veteran, joins Baldwins after being unable to return to his pre-war job due to the unionisation of his field. He eventually buys the business from George Baldwin's son.


  • Second Generation: Steve's father takes over the management of Baldwins after his grandfather's death.


  • Regulatory Changes: The 1978 Medicines Act leads to a significant reduction in certain traditional products due to stricter efficacy and manufacturing standards.


  • Steve Joins Baldwins: Initially working in traditional roles, Steve later takes on more transformative responsibilities.


  • Leadership Transition: Steve officially takes over the business after his father retires. He begins implementing significant changes, including expanding mail order services.


  • Digital Adoption: Baldwins launches its first website, recognising the potential of the internet for business expansion, despite the technology being in its infancy.

Early 2000s:

  • Product Diversification: As regulations and market preferences evolve, Baldwins shifts towards more organic and natural health products, phasing out older medicine-style products.


  • Current Operations: Baldwins continues to thrive under Steve's leadership, maintaining its commitment to quality, community engagement, and integrity. The store now employs a larger team and offers a wide range of health products, both in-store and online.

The red-painted Baldwins storefront in London.


With 180 years in the business, there is no more historic, knowledgeable and passionate herbalist than Baldwins. If you are looking for high-quality, all-natural ingredients and a service that puts its customer’s wellbeing at the heart of everything, Baldwins is the store for you. 

Browse the store for top-quality vitamins & supplements, natural wellness products, organic beauty, nourishing food and drink and much more.