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Archive for the ‘Fragrances’ Category

This 19th Century Cosmetic Industry Pioneer’s Name is Synonymous with the Creation of Safe Mascara

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

by: Geoff Ficke

If a consumer walks into almost any mass market retail beauty product counter In the world they will encounter a wide array of cosmetic and skin care products under the Brand name Rimmel. The line seems ubiquitous, common, moderately priced and well-marketed to attract the mid-price shopper. And yet, the Brand has an amazing provenance and is an important pioneering innovator in the creation of the modern cosmetic industry.

Born in France, but reared in London, Eugene Rimmel was the son of the manager of a perfumery on London’s swank Bond Street. As a young man he apprenticed in the shop under the tutelage of his father and became adept at creating scents, lotions and cosmetic products that satisfied the needs of the gentry of the day. In the year 1834 he opened his own perfumery, The House of Rimmel.

In collaboration with his father, Rimmel became one of London’s most successful cosmetic formulators. He quickly became the leading creative force in the emerging beauty
product industry
and was especially appreciated for the advances he developed in the areas of hygiene and product efficacy. Eugene Rimmel became the leader in promoting the still nascent habit of regular bathing.

The House of Rimmel became famous for their “vinegar water, pomades and one of the first effective mouth rinses, the precursor to modern mouthwash. However, it was the development of the still rarely used, expensive and unsafe product called “mascara” that made Eugene Rimmel’s reputation.

Mascara was widely known, and users appreciated the cosmetic effect that mascara provided in embellishing and dramatizing the eye lashes. However, the available compounds of the early 19th century were difficult to apply, unstable and very often lead to eye irritation and even disease. Rimmel developed the first commercial, non-toxic mascara.

Rimmel Mascara was an immediate hit. As sales of the mascara exploded so did sales of the Company’s other products. This lead to the organization of international
and Rimmel became one of the first cosmetic businesses to be sold in wide international distribution. Because the Rimmel mascara was so popular, this silver bullet product became the appellation for mascara in many languages. In Spanish, French, Portuguese, Romanian, Italian, Turkish, Persian and other languages the word used to designate mascara is “Rimmel”.

Not only did Rimmel pioneer safety and hygiene in its research and development, the Company excelled in marketing the Brand. At a time when consumer product Branding and Marketing were primitive, Eugene Rimmel proved to be a master brand builder. He was among the earliest pioneers of the use of direct mail catalogs. A particular effective technique which he developed was to advertise in theatrical play bills wherever Rimmel products were sold.

One of Rimmel’s proudest achievements was being awarded 10 Royal Warrants from European monarchs for his fragrances, toiletry and cosmetic product creations. Great Britain’s Queen Victoria was a particularly avid supporter of The House of Rimmel.

When Eugene Rimmel died in 1887 the New York Times proclaimed him to have been “The Prince of Perfumers”. He was succeeded in managing the Company by his sons and the family held continual control until 1949. Since then the business has been owned by a series of multi-national corporations. Today the world-wide owners of Rimmel are Coty, Inc.

Today, the importance of Eugene Rimmel’s pioneering efforts has lost significance with contemporary consumers. Rimmel cosmetics seem to be a brand name of no unique value, no personality that we can relate to. The mass market products carrying the Rimmel name compete with a host of other low to mid-priced cosmetic lines. This dilutes the historic provenance and importance that this visionary entrepreneur applied to building his Company and his legacy.

The Art of Candle Making Reaches its Apex In Paris at This Cathedral of Artesian Scents

Thursday, January 10th, 2013

by: Geoff Ficke

For many years I was intimately involved in the Perfume business as an international distributor, developer and producer of finished Branded fragrance items and raw materials. One of the necessities essential to achieving success in the essential oil industry is to spend considerable amounts of time in Provence, France. This hardly qualifies as hard duty.

In addition to tending to my firms requirements to source packaging and novel perfume formulary I enjoyed wonderful networking opportunities. From producers of rare specialty plants to famous “noses” I met some of the most creative talents in the luxury cosmetic world. They were always suggesting new stores and ateliers for me to visit to discover fresh, unusual, and often ancient, techniques and recipes for concocting some of the most wonderful aural experiences the world has to offer.

One of these visits led me to discover a nearly four century old purveyor of candles. These are not candles as you might envision. Tapers, votives, or glass encased, over-scented illuminations. The candles crafted by Cire Trudon are works of art.

Founded in 1643, Cire Trudon established quickly itself as the “apothecaire” to the Court of Versailles. Claude Trudon, originally a Parisian grocer, developed a wax production method utilizing the highest quality beeswax and then washing this material thru gypsum. Mr. Trudon imported the finest cotton wicks and this lead to a final candle that was the whitest, cleanest burning in Europe.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, before electrification of homes, candles were the preferred light source for use in illuminating space. Royalty and the upper class used copious volumes of candles to bring light to their palaces and lodges. A by-product of this type of lighting source is smoke and discoloration of furniture, frescoes and tapestry.
The Cire Trudon candles minimized these deficiencies and became the preferred purveyor of spatial light initially to the French, then quickly to royalty across Europe.

Napoleon Bonaparte was a great fan of Cire Trudon candles and gave them exclusively as gifts. When his son was born he received but a single present from his Emperor father: a Cire Trudon candle embellished with three solid pieces of gold sculpted as his head.

Cire Trudon avoided the calamity that befell so many candle manufacturers when electrification and the light bulb were introduced. The Company had long before become a cult favorite of the rich and famous owing mainly to its collaboration with the fragrance houses based in Grasse, Provence. The firm’ products tell stories through the wonderful, poetically conceptual scents that have been crafted over the ages by these perfumers.

The Cire Trudon range consists of 22 classic scents. Each tells a story. One of the most famous is “Solis Rex” (Sun King). The floor boards of the Palace of Versailles smell of fir bark and cedar wood. That this amazing aura is captured so magically in these candles is testament to the craft and creative genius of the perfumers of Grasse and the candle makers of Cire Trudon.

Cire Trudon also provides modern consumers proper guidance in the lost art of properly burning the ancient, simple candle. The first burn of a new candle should last about two hours in order to properly release fragrance. When extinguishing a candle use a metal wick dipper to gently push the wick into the wax. This will eliminate smoking which interferes with the scent. Two hours is the ideal time to burn a candle, not all day.

When in Paris a visit to the Cire Trudon store is to step back into time, a time when artisan craftsmanship was paramount. Cire Trudon candles are sold in fine stores around the world. However, they always seem more illuminating when experienced in their original home venue.

Duquesa Marketing Announces Free Project Review And Funding Viability Analysis for Beauty Products

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

Duquesa Marketing

Press Release

For Immediate Release

Contact: Geoff Ficke


Duquesa Marketing Announces Free Project Review And Funding Viability Analysis for Beauty Products

Award Winning Branding and Consumer Product Development Firm Offers Clients Over 40 Years Experience as Project Managers

Florence, KY  Geoff Ficke, President of award winning international Branding and Consumer Product Development firm Duquesa Marketing announced today a new Funding
and Project Review Analysis for innovators seeking experienced guidance before entering the Cosmetic, Fragrance and Beauty product industry with new concepts.

“We have launched many of our own Beauty products over the last 40 years, and many more for clients in the American and international markets”, said Mr. Ficke. “The opportunity for us to save entrepreneurs time, money and mistakes by offering a simple review and analysis proves very beneficial to first time Cosmetic industry marketers”.

“A free 20 question quiz that can be downloaded from our web-site and a phone consultation provides anyone interested in entering the Cosmetic world with a basket full of answers and options”, said Alexis Bruning, V.P. of New Product Development for Duquesa Marketing. “It is gratifying to us to be able to offer product development, marketing and funding guidance based on our long industry experience”.

“Duquesa Marketing has made it our mission to mentor young innovators in the Cosmetic industry space”, said Nancy Ficke, General Manager for Duquesa Marketing. “The menu of services we offer is a one-stop, turn-key project development service and it often starts with the Free Project Review and Funding Analysis consultation”.

The Real Perfume Creators Are the Great Artisan Noses

Monday, November 10th, 2008

by: Geoff Ficke

The stunning growth of the high-end luxury perfume business in the last two decades has been centered in the celebrity endorser, designer category. Actresses, athletes, models and fashion designers have introduced dozens of new scents; each seeking to lure consumers based on the aura created by the endorsing personality.

Whether you admire Michael Jordan’s basketball skills, Narciso Rodriguez’ modernist Spanish designs or Jennifer Lopez’ singing or acting talents, the marketers of these fragrance brands seek to profit from the perceived lifestyle allure of their licensee’s. What very few people realize is that branded fragrances are rarely, if ever, actually created by the endorser.

The perfume industry is a multi-billion dollar international enterprise. The marketers of branded fragrance products, however, rarely, if ever, develop and produce their own scents. This is a specialty business handled by large essential oil houses like IFF, Robertet, and Givaudan. These companies not only formulate scents, but they harvest and source the flora, fauna and the exotic natural ingredients that provide the base for their fragrances. Many of these biologically diverse plants and animal by-products are rare, expensive and fragile, requiring a great deal of special handling and knowledge.

An example is the whale by-product ambergris. Whales are not harvested to obtain ambergris. This is skimmed from the surface of the ocean, above swimming pods of whales, Ambergris is simply whale vomit. It is exceedingly valuable and crucial as a component in many exotic scent bases.

The high cost of perfume is attributed to the expense of obtaining essential oils from rare and expensive plants. Rare orchids can yield only a few drops of oil per plant harvested and processed. The processing of essential oils is it’s own industry.

Companies like Estee Lauder, Elizabeth Arden and Lancome do not produce any of their own fragrances. They typically meet with perfume houses such as Givaudan, provide guidance as to their desired scent direction, and then await and evaluate submissions from the integrated houses chosen to bid on the project. Once a favored prototype scent is chosen then the perfume house is contracted to perfect the scent and produce the oils.

The creation of perfume is part science, part marketing, part branding, and a whole lot of art. The art of designing unique, commercial fragrances is entrusted to the “nose” retained by the perfume house. “Noses” are rare, coddled, gifted and possess a talent so unusual that there are only a few recognized “noses” in the world at any given time.

I have had the good fortune to work with one of the greatest, most successful “noses” of the second half of the 20th century. Francis Camail is a legend in the world of creative perfumery. The list of his achievements is stunning. Watching and experiencing his work is to view the efforts of a “master”.

Mr. Camail, working from his laboratory in Grasse, France has been the creative genius behind Annick Goutal, Revlon’s Charlie (at one time the most popular scent in the world), Giorgio (the most profitable brand of the 1980’s), Estee Lauder’s Aliage, Eternity (Calvin Klein), Ivoire (Pierre Balmain) and Bond #9. These are only a few of the brands that have germinated from his ability to create scents that consumer’s desire and loyally purchase on a repeat basis.

Mr. Camail is unique in that he is an independent contractor hired out by large, international perfume houses on a per job contract basis. His reputation is so powerful that he has the ability to be exceedingly selective in the clients he chooses to work with. To view the process he utilizes to layer, build and nurture various top notes, dry notes and a final bouquet is to experience a true artisan master at work.

The creative process necessary to produce luxury perfumery is an old-world, artisan craftsman skill that can not be taught. Francis Camail does employ assistants and interns, as do most other “noses”. However, very few of them, if any, ever go on to successfully conquer the mystical world of exotic fragrance. His skills are apparently God given.

In a world of mass production and industrialization, it is reassuring to know that skills such as those provided by perfumery “noses” are still extant, and essential. The world still has nooks and crannies that appreciate and value craft and artisan skills and abilities.