Guerlain History Case Study – Story Of The Perfume House

Guerlain History Case Study - Story Of The Perfume House


The perfume industry comprises rich brands presence in several places in the world. Guerlain is a very famous brand in the industry, which has its tool in exciting history. Guerlain history began in Paris, the year 1828. It started as a beauty and cosmetic brand before narrowing its preference to fragrances. However, the brand keeps exploring exciting innovations in skincare, makeup, and perfumes. Magnificent beauty, the founder’s signature, results from the CEO’s passion for the house.

  • The Guerlain Brand’s Identity
  • Unraveling the Successors of the Founder, Pierre-François-Pascal Guerlain 
  • Events Unraveling Post Guerlain Family’s Leadership
  • Inspiring Stories Behind Some Guerlain Fragrances
  • Guerlain Makeup and Skincare Products History
  • Guerlain House Position in the Next Decade
  • Guerlain’s Drive Towards the International Growth

The Guerlain Brand’s Identity

Guerlain is not a random brand that originated from the desire for wealth or becoming famous. If so, the brand would not have made it as far as it has now. It all started with Pierre-Francois-Pascal Guerlain’s passion for researching and inventing beauty products. He established a boutique at 42, Rue de Rivoli, and it attracted different genders worldwide. The first store used modern techniques to create cosmetics and perfume scents, which contributed to the house’s rapid popularity. This glorious achievement was magnified when the royal family in France invited him to several royal events.

The kindness expressed towards Empress Eugenia during her wedding to Napoleon III was magnificent and the bedrock to launch Eau de Cologne Imperiale. The perfume captivated the royalties who were present at the wedding in 1853. Pierre-Francois-Pascal Guerlain dedicated the signature to Her Royal Highness. He designed the perfume package using the empire’s symbol, 69 bees, and the Place Vendome. Guerlain connected with top customers thus influencing the business sector.

Guerlain’s brand identity is centered around innovation and tradition. It grew from only perfume production to the creation of beautiful fragrance bottles called Dames de Table. Without losing the vitality of France’s practices, the brand keeps producing innovative items. This involves the production of mythic creations using exceptional skills.

Unraveling the Successors of the Founder, Pierre-François-Pascal Guerlain

In 1864, Pierre-François-Pascal Guerlain’s son, Anime, took over the company. Anime maintained the sustainable development goal and even achieved more excellent results. Anime’s signature on most products during his tenure was Jicky. He had wanted to revolutionize some of the techniques his father adopted. According to him, it was high time to include more synthetic ingredients. In fact, the results were terrific, as nothing had been created as a synthetic and natural ingredients combination.

Anime was a perfume marker and also produced some fantastic makeup products. The house got its makeup breakthrough in 1870, after presenting its first bullet lipstick known as Ne M’oubliez Pas.

Thereafter, Anime passed on his title to Jacques, who respected Anime’s revolutionary vision a lot. Anime was an uncle to Jacques, so the title or ownership had not left the family. Jacques monitored the house production and had his signature as the Guerlinade. Most of their vanilla exhibits included flea aromas like rose, jasmine, and iris. Jacques Guerlain did a great job expanding its innovative products, collaborating with Baccarat to release several signatures. Some of the signatures in the housing portfolio are Mitsuoko, Shalimar, and L’Heure Bleue.

Jacques Guerlain eventually transferred his position to Jean-Paul Guerlain. Jacques groomed his grandson before releasing his first scent known as Ode. Jean was barely 18 years during this time but was making significant contributions.

Jean-Paul Guerlain shifted the brand’s focus into targeting many male markets. Surprisingly, the house-made massive sales from its oriental male perfume Habit Rouge. Habit Rouge is irresistible in Guerlain’s portfolio and best-selling among men today. Jean Guerlain produced more male signatures, including Terracotta. Terracotta was produced by the brand in 1984, using jasmine, south Asian woods, and sandalwood as main ingredients.

Events Unraveling Post Guerlain Family’s Leadership

After Jean-Paul Guerlain managed the house, he appointed an outsider as CEO. Since joining the house, Thierry Wasser explored more collaboration opportunities and innovations. Nevertheless, he acknowledged the outstanding efforts of the Guerlain families before him. He was prepared to push the house to the top state of its vision, especially after creating Mon Guerlain. Although Mon Guerlain was built in 2017, they experienced quite some competition in the fragrance market. However, the house has had successful sales by using the famous face of Angelina Jolie as a marketing strategy.

Significant Signatures in the Guerlain History

Some notable participants make the Guerlain history worthwhile. Over the years, several signatures have been introduced into the market, catching people’s attention. In 1919, the Mitsuoko signature was created out of keen interest in cultures and nature. France had taken an interest in Asia’s culture and way of life. It is one of the house-made best decisions because the signatures corresponded with people’s desires. The fragrance had a fruity smell and was specially designed for females. However, some notable men didn’t mind the gender peculiarity. Men like Nijinsky, Sergei Diaghilev, and Charlie Chaplin wear the perfume effortlessly.

Inspiring Stories Behind Some Guerlain Fragrances

It is incomplete to tell Guerlain history without mentioning inspiring events that motivated specific fragrance productions. The scents from faraway lands in France inspired Guerlain’s founder. He then decided to start a career as a perfume/chemist. In 1925, the true love between the Indian emperor Shah Jahan and princess Mumtaz Mahal inspired Jacques Guerlain. The perfume produced from this love inspiration was the first oriental fragrance. Shalimar was loved by many people, despite Mumtaz Mahal dying an unfortunate death. Moreover, the fact that Shalimar was produced was a consolation for many Indian and French women.

More than people’s stories, nature itself has inspired Guerlain. The brand incorporates nature into its art productions, making fascinating products. The brand transformation from a chemist to alchemy is one of its uniqueness. The house is one of the oldest fragrance houses globally and will be celebrating its 194th as at the year this article was written.

Guerlain Makeup and Skincare Products History

Guerlain did not only make fascinating fragrances but also produced other beauty products. In the 1930s, the house started growing into makeup products, since it got famous after launching Rouge d’Enfer. It was presented in the Rogue Automatique, setting a new pace for its innovations. Since many people became more conscious of their skin tone in the 20th century, Guerlain stepped in. The house’s initial product was Teint Dore Par Le Soleil, sunless tanning skincare.

When Guerlain brought in Olivier Echaudemaison as the creative director, the makeup section improved massively than in previous years. In 2005, Olivier created the KissKiss lipstick, which many women loved. He further reinvented some old designs, including Terracotta and Rouge G. Olivier also pointed out the need for Guerlain house to launch more mascara products. He assumed women love to go out in mascara, and it would be inappropriate to meet their needs. The house launched two fist mascaras called Noir G and Cils d’Enfer. The famous designer, Lorenz Bäumer, advertised these mascaras, which performed two different functions.

Before Olivier was made a creative director, Pierre-Francois-Pascal Guerlain had created several skincare products during his time. In fact, they were primarily made of pure natural ingredients that had long-lasting effects. The skincare products created include Lait d’Iris, Blanc de Perle, Emulsion d’Ambroisie, Secret de Bonne Femme, Creme Supernourrissante, and many other ointments. In 2006, more research concerning skin care products met modern requirements. This innovation birthed Orchidée Imperiale, and Abeille Royale. With these, Guerlain’s History navigated makeup, skincare, and fragrance innovations through thorough examinations.

Guerlain House Position in the Next Decade

During its 190-year celebration, Guerlain CEO and President Laurent Boillot commented on his leadership responsibilities in his interview with MoodieDavitt. Laurent Boillot became Guerlain’s Deputy Managing Director in 2002, and in October 2007, he was appointed as president. With his marketing knowledge and background, he drove Guerlain beyond the edge. However, in October 2019, Veronique Courtois got an appointment as the new CEO of Guerlain.

The world is rapidly becoming luxurious, and Guerlain can only thrive to maintain its history while engaging in luxuries. Despite the accomplishments, the brand is not changing its DNA or identity but only enriching it. The brand is tending towards luxury, but without losing focus of the brands’ value. According to Veronique Courtois, brand fans should expect more sustainability in the future.

There is a need for significant investments and positivity towards competing in Africa and the Americas. The brand can fully grow overseas if it adopts more technological approaches. Technology will bloom in many industries in France in the next decade, and Guerlain can only survive the competition by pulling ahead. Nevertheless, Guerlain would forever remain unique as a diversity expert.

The brand got recognition for its exceptional versatility in the fragrance industry. Combining meteorites with fragrances and its bottles made the brand recognizable as the Living Heritage Company in 2005. Revamping loose powder to form meteorites was an iconic innovation and one of its kind. However, it had begun in 1987, which Catherine de Medici owned. But, it was recognized in 2005 because the house elaborated on its diversification.

The Brand’s Drive Towards International Growth

Guerlain history would make more sense in the future, evolving into global transformations. The brand has the potential to influence the global market massively, especially with its long track of success. The international director, Stephane Auge, has years of experience producing a perfume portfolio to spur the house forward in one of his interviews. Although there is intense competition with Chanel and Dior in France, Guerlain has a strong presence in Asia. Guerlain is not relenting in its French and Asia base but is ready to fly internationally. According to the international director, the signature created in 2017, Mon Guerlain, led to many global opportunities. Hence, it is part of the remarkable history that influences future growth positively.

While celebrating its 190th, Guerlain collaborated with Baccarat to create an iconic piece. Meanwhile, Baccarat has had several experiences working in the fragrance industry. The brand works on designing exciting fragrance bottles, including Shalimar and Quadrilobe. Hence, Baccarat and Guerlain share a common interest in creating unique objects for exclusive individuals. In order to meet the updated luxurious standard of society, this collaboration was a wise decision.

Guerlain history has some fascinating stories and intriguing values. Since the house tagged bee as its symbol in 1853, it has not lost focus of this call. The brand currently partners with Brittany Black Bee Conservation Association on Ouessant Island to achieve sustainability of Bees. The current leadership of Guerlain is using new strategists for the house to remain upfront across fragrance, makeup, and skincare lines. Fortunately, the makeup sector has experienced rapid growth since the launch of the Rouge G lipstick. 


As we have seen Guerlain has evolved over time to become the glorious house that it is today. Passing down from family to family and incorporating great innovations, they have established themselves and stood out. Therefore, lovers of Guerlain can expect more development as the brand keeps getting better.

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