Chanel Number 5. - The Story Of Success
Coco Chanel said: "In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different."
Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel had a wonderful taste for luxury: in the way she conducted her life, in clothes and hats she created, in jewelry, in furniture she surrounded herself with. But she was also known for her extraordinary sense of smell and her love for perfume.
"When someone offers me a flower, I can smell the hands that picked them," she said. "A woman who doesn't wear perfume has no future." These words of a French poet Paul Valery would become one of her famous slogans. She believed that the droplets of perfume applied behind the ear, on the back of a wrist and in the hollow of a shoulder, were a must for any elegant woman.
In the early 1920's Coco Chanel was not the only couturier to express interest in making their own perfume. However, no one had ever dared to move away from the floral scents before Chanel. The smell of one flower was a widely common preference.
There have been a lot of legends and mystery about the creation of Chanel Number 5. Was number 5 really her lucky number? Or was it the test sample number 5 that Coco had chosen and approved? No one knows it for sure any more. A lot of famous society people would claim that they had to do something with the launch and success of Number 5. The knowledge of creating mystery and success was a "know-how" of Chanel. What is even more important, she recognized the importance of making people believe they were a part of it.
Ernest Beaux, the outstanding chemist and the owner of a laboratory in Grasse, and Coco Chanel, were a perfect business match. Beaux was one of the first chemists to understand the importance of synthetic scents. He was one of the first in the industry to suspect the importance of aldehydes. Chanel could also intuitionally understand the value of synthetic scents. "I want a perfume that is composed. It's a paradox. On a woman, a natural flower scent smells artificial. Perhaps a natural perfume must be created artificially," she said.
Beaux is said to have been at first rather skeptical about her proposal to develop a perfume for her. Chanel made a tour of his premises, not missing a single detail about the process of making perfume. She succeeded in making a deep impression on the chemist with her acute sense of smell and courage to propose various startling combinations.
In the end Ernest Beaux developed several formulas for her. She tested them all, but selected the fifth. "That's what I expected. A perfume unlike any other ever made. A woman's perfume…"
Chanel's second brilliant idea was to use a very simple square bottle - the idea sensational for the time of cupid and flower shaped flacons.
Coco Chanel was not prepared to such a scale of commercial success. It was more than she could handle, like a winning lottery ticket. The business alliance with the brothers Pierre and Paul Wertheimer, the owners of Les Perfumeries Bourjois was made for the production and distribution of Chanel Number 5.
Chanel Number 5. remains the asset of the Wertheimer family to this day.