François Coty’s contribution to the world of branded perfumes
François Coty is probably the most important person for the modern, branded perfumery which we all know today. At a young age, this French entrepreneur turns into an ultra-successful businessman at the beginning of the 20th century and leaves his name in history forever.
Born in 1874 on the island of Corsica, as an adolescent, François Coty spends some years as a military. After that, he meets Emmanuel Arène – a famous person in Corsica, a writer, and a politician. He becomes Coty’s mentor and offers him a job as his secretary in Paris. In the French capital, Coty meets the pharmacist Raymond Goery who makes perfumes. From him, Coty learns the art of perfumery and creates his first fragrance under the simple name Cologne Coty.
Besides the important presence of Goery, in Coty’s life appears Léon Chiris, whose family is longtime perfume manufacture. Chiris owns a few perfume factories in the center of the French perfumery – Grasse. There, François Coty learns everything about perfumery and starts working on his second fragrance La Rose Jacqueminot.
1904 is one of the most important years in the perfumer’s life. It was then that Coty started offering his perfume La Rose Jacqueminot from one store to the next. As a young and not well-known perfumer, unfortunately, he does not achieve big success and most stores reject his perfume. However, Coty is creative and ambitious and does not stop trying. Then François Coty drops his perfume on the floor of a big Parisian department store. Intentionally or not, this does him a huge favor as the scent spread throughout the entire store and makes every client who walks in to buy a bottle of the perfume.
Soon Coty manages to sell all of his bottles and he is offered his own stand for his perfumes at the department store. This is how eventually he earns his first million. Thanks to his newfound financial security, Coty grows the manufacture of his fragrances and opens his own store.
Coty’s innovation in perfumery
For his time Coty was an innovative entrepreneur and a marketing strategist. Besides his talent for creating godly fragrances, which are truly loved, he also has the ability to sell successfully. His business plan is described well by his famous quote:
“Give a woman the best product you can make, present it in a perfect bottle of beautiful simplicity and impeccable taste, ask for a reasonable price, and you will see the birth of a business the size of which the world has never seen.”
François Coty believed that the beautiful bottle in which fragrances are offered plays a huge role in their demand and sales. This is why he works with the famous jeweler and ceramist René Lalique. He helps him create elegant bottles and labels for the bestseller La Rose Jacqueminot, as well as for the other following fragrances Amber Antique and L’Origan. With this is born the art of design of perfume bottles, which every following perfumer follows. As we know, nowadays, perfumers spend a lot of time, effort, and resource into creating the perfect bottle which captivates the users. This is an important part of marketing because products affect people mostly visually and everyone wants the perfume on their vanity to look pretty.
Apart from the carefully selected design of perfume bottles, Coty is also responsible for making perfumes a widely used product. His fragrances combine the luxurious scent which people from the higher class look for together with a reasonable price that much more people can afford. Up until then, perfumes were an expensive, luxurious asset that only royalties and people from the upper class could afford. Coty produced more expensive products in more luxurious packages and with more high-quality ingredients, as well as cheaper ones using more affordable alternatives. However, even the cheaper fragrances under his brand were very demanded and liked. This way, ladies from the middle and working-class had the opportunity to feel truly sophisticated.
Another innovation from the genius François Coty is perfume sets which we all know today and take for granted. It was exactly him who created the idea of gift sets that include not only a bottle full of fragrant liquid but other cosmetic products too like soaps, creams, and face powders. And every lady who loves cosmetics, whether at the beginning of the 20th century or today, loves these gifts. This is why these sets were an immediate success and almost every man could make his girl happy with them.
Another important year in Coty’s life was 1917. Then, on the market comes out probably his most successful and emblematic fragrance – Chypre. Perfume fans immediately went crazy over this new scent and every woman wanted to own it. The world of the perfume industry was forever changed by this fragrance and recognized it as an undeniable perfume masterpiece. Its name even started a whole series of perfumes – chypre, which are characterized by citrusy top notes, labdanum, and oakmoss in the heart and in the base.
The brand Coty today
The brand of François Coty named after him is still to this day one of the biggest perfume companies in the world and is still as successful as when it changed history. It is based in the United States but has stores in multiple countries and continents. This legendary brand continues to make its users happy and to win new users who fall in love with its scents. The high quality of the perfumes, the long history, and tradition in making them as well as the carefully selected details of the bottles are still typical traits of Coty which the founder would be proud of. Brands, owned by Coty include Joop!, Calvin Klein, Guess, Davidoff as well as many others.
François Coty played an important role in promoting the incredible French perfumes and fragrances on the market as a whole. It is hard to imagine how the perfume industry would have developed without his influence and if he had not broken that bottle of his incredible perfume in the Parisian store, how would our favorite perfume look like today. Questions whose answers we will not find but one thing is for sure – we have to be grateful for this French genius for his contribution to perfumery!