Inspired by his childhood in Provence, the 23-year-old Olivier Baussan decided to recreate the traditions of his region. After purchasing a steam distiller, a relic from the past, Olivier harvested wild rosemary and produced pure Rosemary essential oil. He sold this essential oil at local markets, this all-natural product was quickly embraced by villagers and L’OCCITANE was born.
Celebration Of The Land
Olivier’s ambition was to create a company that celebrates Mediterranean well-being. The name he chose for the company refers to Occitanie, the ancient province that once covered the south of France, northeastern Spain and northern Italy. The idea was to mix traditions and ingredients from the Mediterranean region in the creation of products for personal care and the home.
Following the success of Olivier’s Rosemary essential oil, the brand began to grow in a very organic way. After discovering an abandoned soap factory, Olivier became fascinated by the idea of reviving the art of soap making in Marseille. With the help of others, Olivier created soaps using a vegetable fat recipe and traditional methods. Today, these vegetable-based soaps are known all over the world for their quality ingredients and attractive, traditional shapes.
While exploring the world for new ingredients and traditional techniques, Olivier learned about the Shea trees that grow in Burkina Faso in West Africa. These sacred trees produce a nut that is ground into a rich, thick paste known as Shea Butter. It is this butter that is used as a nourishing and moisturizing ingredient in L’OCCITANE products.
On January 9th 2009 in Manosque, France, Olivier Baussan received the Medal of the Knight of the Order of Agricultural Merit from Michel Barnier, French Minister for Agriculture.
Jules MELINE, Minister for Agriculture from February 21st 1883 to April 5th 1885, created The Order of Agricultural Merit. "The Order of Agricultural Merit" rewards people who were a great help to Agriculture, either in the practice of Agriculture or in industries relating to it or in public services or scientific works or in agricultural publications.
Other famous recipients include: Louis Pasteur, Michel Serrault, Catherine Deneuve, Paul Morand, Roger Peyrefitte and Jean Carmet.