Grasse's Parfumerie Fragonard was founded in 1926 by Eugène Fuchs. Like Corday and D'Orsay, Fragonard was named for a dead celebrity, the painter Jean-Honorè Fragonard, a grassoise by birth. (Fragonard's father, François, had been involved in making scented shoes in Grasse in the 18th century.) Today the enterprise is managed by the founder's three granddaughters, Francoise Costa, Anne Costa and Agnès Costa-Webster.
In addition to creating their own line of fragrances, produced in small quantitites by today's standards, Fragonard has produced fragrances for others. Perhaps the best known of these was their perfume that was sold to Elizabeth Arden who launched it under the name Blue Grass in 1936. Blue Grass is still on the market today.
Unlike larger fragrance marketers, Fragonard releases fragrances without the expectation of making large sales and without the expense of large launches. The key to Fragonard's marketing strategy is the use of their perfume museums in Paris and Grasse to draw buyers. In Grasse, two tours are offered, one of the real factory and laboratories and one of the museum. Tours, of course, end in the gift shop where visitors are given a chance to buy some of what has just been described to them in such colorful detail; many sales are made. Through the Fragonard website they can reorder fragrances which they particularly liked.
Thus the promotional expense which drives the Fragonard business is the promotion of Grasse tourism, which is a good deal less expensive to promote than a brand sold in major department stores.
Fragonard does, however, sell in about 20 countries worldwide, through upscale stores. (Even at wholesale, their fragrances are not cheap!) I had the good fortune to meet their representative and sample some of their excellent fragrances at the 2005 Gift Show in New York City.
Other Fragonard perfumes include Arielle, Baroque, Beau Gosse, Belle de Nuit, Canisse, Capucine, Citron, Concerto, Dahlia, De Tout Coeur, Eau des Aventuriers, Eau des Fées, Eau des Garrigues, Eau Fantasque, Fragonard, Freesia, Ile d'Amour, Lavande, Lune de Meil, Magellan, Maman Chérie, Miranda, Mon Coeur, Mélodie, Papa Chéri, Rose de Mai, Santal, Swing, Vanille, Verveine, Vetyver, Émilie, Étoile du Sud.
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