In 1904, François Coty founded a fragrance company in Paris that would bear his name. He was determined to revolutionize a fragrance industry that had seen little change during the 19th century. With Coty, he set about reinventing the perfumer’s fragrance palette.
Just five years later, Perfume City was born. A residential villa outside of Paris that was transformed into a grand industrial complex. Over time, Perfume City grew and by 1920, Coty owned and controlled all aspects of his fragrance production, including flower fields, packaging factories, print shops, and delivery vehicles.
Coty understood that to succeed on a larger scale, he needed to reach a wider audience.
François Coty, 1874
His strategy was simple: offer a product of rich appearance,that was affordable. Coty commissioned artists and manufacturers, such as René Lalique and the Glassworks of Baccarat, to design beauty products imbued with luxurious quality, never previously available to the masses. The strategy worked and perfume quickly became an international mass-market luxury product almost instantly.
In 1912, he opened subsidiaries in New York and London, an important move for the company.
At the end of World War I, soldiers returned home with gifts of French perfume for their loved ones. This led to a demand for Coty products in the U.S.
I never managed to capture the smell of honeysuckle.
During the 1920s, Coty continued to diversify and secured a substantial hold on the Italian, Swiss, German, Spanish and South American markets.
By 1925, an estimated 36 million women in Europe and the Americas had used his products.
François Coty continued to direct his empire until his death in 1934. “One thing eluded me,” he confessed in the same year. “I never managed to capture the smell of honeysuckle.”
After more than one hundred years in the business, Coty continues to draw on the creative, entrepreneurial and visionary legacy of its founder to this day.