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France, a pioneer in modern perfumery and cosmetics

The arts of perfumery and cosmetics have existed for millennia. The sweetest fragrances were already being used in ancient temples to honour the gods. Roman aristocrats could spend a fortune on ointments, powders and creams, which they believed to have many virtues.

Cosmetics and perfumery then progressively evolved during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Both activities were notably driven by advances in the field of distillation, and the discovery of new fragrances and raw materials imported from the East, Asia, Africa and the Americas.

It was during the reign of Louis XIV that France made its mark with its know-how in cosmetics and perfumery. The court of the Sun King, frivolous and coquettish, was a great consumer of refined toiletries, perfumes and cosmetic powders. Numerous craftsmen settled in Versailles and Paris, and the authorities encouraged the development of the production of aromatic plants and flowers throughout the kingdom. It was at this time that Grasse, renowned for its generous climate and fertile land, became the world capital of perfumery.

France’s international influence in the fields of luxury, fashion, perfumery and cosmetics has spanned generations. Cosmetic Valley is the heir to this centuries-old tradition.

From a local network to a national presence

Cosmetic Valley, created in 1994 by Jean-Paul Guerlain in the Chartes region, was originally focused on areas with a high concentration of leading operators in the cosmetics and perfume sector.
Implementing the policy of having centres of competitive excellence in the 2000s enabled Cosmetic Valley to take on a new dimension. In 2005, it was one of the first networks of companies to be awarded the “Centre of Competitive Excellence” label by the French government.

Since 2014, Cosmetic Valley has been coordinating the perfumery and cosmetics ecosystem nationally. It is present in the regions of Chartres, Bordeaux and Caen, and welcomes member companies from all over France.

Cosmetic Valley’s purpose

The French perfume and cosmetics sector includes more than 3,200 companies employing more than 250,000 professionals. The entrepreneurial fabric is essentially local, and carries strong values: 80% of them are VSEs and SMEs, and 82% are still family businesses.

These local players, innovative and with ambitious projects in France and internationally, can count on the strength of a network and the expertise of a national centre of competitive excellence to develop. Cosmetic Valley helps and supports them by working in two areas in particular:

  • commercial development (networking actions, export support for SMEs).
  • improving competitiveness (research and innovation projects).

Looking to the future, Cosmetic Valley is committed to ethical projects and supporting a sustainable development approach.

Sophim, a member of Cosmetic Valley

The biggest names and brands in the sector are members of this centre of competitive excellence: Guerlain, Dior (LVMH), Hermès, Lolita Lempicka, Chanel, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Veet, Dove, to name but a few.

All the activities in the sector are represented: cultivation of aromatic plants, development of active ingredients, formulation, manufacturing, control, testing and analysis, POS and packaging design, packaging, logistics, etc.
Various public laboratories and university research centres are also involved, enabling the perfume and cosmetics sector to benefit from the many synergies that are created through close cooperation between public and private operators.
As a family business historically based in the south of France, Sophim shares the values of excellence, the international vision and the sustainable development projects supported by Cosmetic Valley.

Commit yourself to more responsible cosmetics

Are you a professional in the cosmetics sector and are you looking for a French player with an international positioning? Our natural cosmetic ingredients reflect both our quality values and our environmental concerns.
You can get in touch with your usual contact yourself in Sophim, contact us by telephone on (+33)4 92 33 17 17 or send us a message.

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