The history of L’Occitane dates back to 1976 in the vibrant city of Marseille, wherein the young Olivier Baussan began producing soaps that were inspired by folk medicine from the French Provence. Under Baussan’s vision, the company continued to flourish by offering high-quality beauty products concocted with essential oils extracted from the verdant fields of Provence. L’Occitane has always believed in speaking the language of the land, as well as that of the farmers, and is putting its beliefs into practice by releasing products in tandem with the harvesting season of each ingredient and defending the skills and well-being of its farmers.

Welcome to the 45th issue of B.

For this issue, B takes a close look at L’Occitane, a Provence-based cosmetics brand. Most people first encounter L'Occitane by receiving its best-selling hand cream as a gift. And many end up marveling at the high quality and effectiveness of the product. Founder Olivier Baussan started the brand a few years after the oil shock, at a time when people were becoming increasingly focused
on economic and environmental issues. He tried to produce natural soaps inspired by folk remedies that had been previously considered obsolete. In the four decades since, the brand has released a consistently strong selection of natural ingredient-based products, creating a solid position for itself in the highly competitive beauty industry.

Respect for nature is one of L’Occitane’s priorities, and the brand releases new products according to changes in nature, not global trends. The brand’s products are a celebration and thanksgiving of the harvest of the ingredients used, just like the way farmers celebrate their crops. Olivier once said, “We time the release of a new product for the harvest season of its natural ingredient. This is a completely new practice started by us.”

L’Occitane started as a local brand, but it evolved into a global cosmetics powerhouse in the 1990s thanks to new CEO Reinold Geiger. He was brought on to save the company in a time of deep financial trouble. Instead of changing the product ingredients or design, he maintained the brand’s identity and philosophy, and just added “en Provence” to the name as a way to tell the world that L’Occitane would stick to and reinforce its original values as a Provence brand by instilling its products with the local lifestyle. By doing so, Reinold, currently the largest shareholder of the L’Occitane Group, set a new long-term direction for the brand. Under his leadership, L’Occitane opened its first store in the U.S., a
replica of its shops in France, and became very popular in the American market. This success spurred the brand’s penetration into the Asian market and later other parts of the globe.

In L’Occitane’s lexicon, however, “respect” encompasses more than just consideration for nature. The company’s management respects the traditional wisdom found in folk medicine, the livelihoods of the indigenous farmers who grow the company’s natural ingredients, and the values the brand has believed in. Therefore, it is safe to say that L’Occitane is not just a natural beauty brand, but a brand that practices what they preach. This respect for others is the key ingredient of a good brand.

L’Occitane’s unique press events are well known among reporters. Generally, press events consist of a new product showcase and press interviews, and when there is time left, reporters and corporate people enjoy meals or relax. But L’Occitane does things differently; it provides reporters with the opportunity to experience Provence, where the brand was born, by sharing local foods and activities from the region. L’Occitane seems to believe that promoting Provence equals promoting the brand.

We believe that we have our own art of living, just like the people of Provence do. On sunny spring days like those we are currently
enjoying, on which forsythias and azaleas are in full bloom, how about taking a picnic to a nearby field and ruminating over the meaning of respect demonstrated by L’Occitane? After all, this is the lifestyle that we ourselves have lived for centuries.

Taehyuk Choi, Editor in Chief

Intro


Editor’s Letter


Comments

L’Occitane on Instagram


Opinion

Jeanne Dréan, Beauty Director of ELLE.fr


Market

Beauty brands focused on distinctive locales


Into the Store

L’Occitane at the Louvre


Inner Space

The brand vision found in L’Occitane’s signature products


User’s Choice

Some distinctive ways to see L’Occitane


En Provence

Provence and respect for nature


Opinion

Patricia Montesinos, Provence Experience Manager of L’Occitane


From Where I Stand

The L’Occitane family talks about the company’s spirit of respect and sharing


En Paris

Parisians talk about Provence


Opinion

Marine Parmentier, founder and CEO of Mirz Yoga


Wellness and the City

Wellness from the perspective of urbanites who understand Provence’s art of living


Brand Story

How L’Occitane created a solid position for itself in the beauty industry by respecting nature


From Land to L’Occitane

The stories behind L’Occitane’s products and ingredients


Founder

Olivier Baussan, the pillar of the L’Occitane spirit


Figures

L’Occitane by the numbers: brand power and social responsibility


Outro

PUBLICATION RIGHT

Publisher
Suyong Joh

Editor In Chief
Taehyuk Choi

Senior Editor
Eunsung Park

Editors
Jaewoo Seo, Yeongmin Kim

Intern Editor
Jisoo Kim

Translation
Hyunkyung Yoo, Narae Kim, Rancy Kim, Seongae Yang, Soonok Hwang

Copy Editing
Eugene Larsen-Hallock

Proofreading
Sarah Kessler Jang

Designer
Ayoon Jung

Filmmaker
Sukwang Baak

Distribution
Tony Song

Correspondents
Mihye Nam (Tokyo), Nari Park (London), Jungho Lee (New York), Jeewon Lim (Milan), Hyeseon Jeong (Paris)

Publishing
JOH & Company

Printed in the Republic of Korea

ISBN
978-89-98415-92-1 03050

REFERENCES

A Year in Provence
Provence, 1970: M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, James Beard, & the Reinvention of American Taste
The Man Who Planted Trees
A Perfect Rest in Provence
The New Health Rules: Simple Changes to Achieve Whole-Body Wellness
2,100 Asanas: The Complete Yoga Poses
The New Bohemians: Cool and Collected Homes
The Essence of Provence: The Story of L’Occitane
The Plant
TIP L’Occitane en Provence Youtube Channel