Interviews Le Jardin Retrouvé: The New Beginning, Part 2 of 2

Le Jardin Retrouvé: The New Beginning, Part 2 of 2

11/26/16 09:04:56 (3 comments)

by: Sergey Borisov

Michel Gutsatz

We continue the interview with Michel Gutsatz upon the relaunch of what many consider to be the very first niche perfume brand, Le Jardin Retrouvé, founded by his father, Yury Gutsatz. You can read the first part HERE.

SERGEY BORISOV: Why did you decide to re-start Le Jardin Retrouvé? Are there some new perfumes? What are the conceptual differences from the previous line? 

MICHEL GUTSATZ: After my parents’ death I also lost my two brothers and I was faced with a dilemma: what to do with the brand? I started discussing with friends, all in the perfume industry, and they all told me the same thing: “Michel, you should relaunch it. There are so many niche brands now on the market with little legitimacy. You own a brand that has a history, your father was very well known and you have all the legitimacy customers want today to do so.” Moreover, and most importantly, we still have some very faithful customers enquiring about the perfumes and sharing with us their fondest memories. We couldn’t let them down!

So I decided to sell our family house in Provence – an important source of inspiration for my father who used it as his private garden, and with this money and the help and support of my wife, artist Clara Feder, we decided the renaissance of Le Jardin Retrouvé – to build this as a 3rd generation business (my grandfather David Gutsatz was also a perfumer in Leningrad – but that is another story!!), keeping the vision of Yuri and adapting it to the XXIst century.

We have kept all his formulas – just adapting them to the new IFRA regulations – with the help of a young and skilled perfumer from Givaudan, Maxence Moutte, a long-time admirer of my father.

Yes, we have renamed the fragrances – keeping the core reference to flowers that was my father’s signature – but adding a reference to what is the essential source of inspiration of the brand today: gardens. Thus Citron Poivre has become Citron Boboli, Tubereuse has become Tubereuse Trianon, Verveine Celeste has become Verveine d’Eté, Rose The has become Rose Trocadero

 

Copy of the David Gutsatz author's certificate

Copy of the David Gutsatz author's certificate

SERGEY: Why gardens?

MICHEL: Le Jardin Retrouvé means the garden found again – it is the secret garden we all have within ourselves, real or imaginary, the garden of our precious memories – the memories that fragrances link us to. You very well know that perfumes are so deeply linked to profound memories: I can share with you that at least two people who recently experienced Rose Trocadero were overwhelmed with emotion to the point of having tears in their eyes….

We also wanted to keep affordable pricing: this led us to decide that our perfumes would only be sold on the internet – in our e-store. This allows us to keep reasonable prices, at the entrance level of the niche perfumery prices.

 La Re:Source bottle for Eau des Delices fragrance

 La Re:Source bottle for Eau des Delices fragrance

MICHEL: Finally we decided to follow his vision: break the rules of perfumery. This is what led us to the concepts of Le Necessaire and La Re:Source. Why buy a perfume bottle that you throw away when it is empty? Why throw away a pump and a cover? Why to have extra packaging? Le Jardin Retrouve will offer a set that includes: a 125ml aluminium flask containing the perfume, an empty 50 ml bottle for your home, an empty 15ml bottle for travel and a glass funnel to fill both. Once opened we recommend that the flask be put in the refrigerator to keep the perfume away from heat (and from light as it is in an aluminium container). Once it is empty you only have to buy this refill which is called La Re:Source. This is both simple and eco-friendly.

But you can’t imagine the difficulty in finding bottles and pumps with screws! The industry is now almost completely converted to soldered pumps!

 Le Necessaire kit

 Le Necessaire kit

SERGEY: I still cherish my bottles of Cuir de Russie and Vetiver from the previous line. Were there any formula changes?

MICHEL: This year we are going to relaunch Cuir de Russie (and the name here has not changed!) – and the formula is still the same – we only had to recreate a leather base my father used and where one ingredient was not IFRA compatible (think that for 7 perfumes and almost 200 ingredients we only had to change two of them!!). Eau de Vetyver will come next year!

 

SERGEY: What are the companies you started your new project with, if any? How did you choose perfumes from the perfume list of your father?

MICHEL: Our new project is 100% family owned as it was before. But we have strong development plans that were made possible by internet facilities, which wasn’t the case 41 years ago!

My father created more than 20 perfumes, which were sold under Le Jardin Retrouvé (and we have more than 40 formulas that he created). Our choice was collective: what are the best fragrances we have for today’s customers? We decided to only start with 7 perfumes: a short range. We know customers are overwhelmed by choice; brands launch endless numbers of perfumes hoping one will be a success. Even niche brands do the same: they offer dozens of perfumes! Customers are lost. They need to be reassured and to choose from a limited number of perfumes. This is why we will move forward slowly – launching one new fragrance every year, two at the utmost.

Michel Gutsatz with the spouse Clara Feder

Michel Gutsatz with the spouse Clara Feder

SERGEY: What do you think of the contemporary XXI century perfume market, and its luxury and niche segments?

MICHEL: I think the niche segment has proved to be hugely successful – proof is that luxury brands are now buying niche brands! But they are losing touch with customers at least in two ways:

Prices are now outrageous! Nothing justifies perfumes that cost 2 or 3 euros an ml! Of course, there are the very best ingredients, of course, the price of creation. But we all know that the most well-kept secret of perfumery is that the perfume represents only maximum 10% of the final retail price. At Le Jardin Retrouvé we use Bulgarian Rose Essence at 12,000 euros a kilo and Tuberose Oil at 6,800 euros a kilo. We nevertheless keep our prices at 0.8 to 1.2 euros a ml!

Customers now want products that correspond to who they are: nomad people, working people, eco-conscious peoples. Do you know that some companies offer 15 or 20ml of designer fragrances (they buy the perfumes and refill smaller bottles!) because customers want small volumes at very affordable prices? At Le Jardin Retrouve I implement my knowledge of customer needs, learned all these years as a marketing professor and a consultant. We try to be in line with clients true expectations.

Le Jardin Retrouve's new website

SERGEY: Where could one find the new Le Jardin Retrouvé perfumes? Addresses and time of launch?

MICHEL: The website http://lejardinretrouve.com was launched the 10th of November and our perfumes will only be found there. But as you cannot smell your screen (!) we have decided to implement a very generous free samples program: any potential customer can order 3 free 2ml samples (with a cute pump) that are set in a beautiful packaging created by artist Clara Feder and shipped in a unique pouch made from my mother’s fabrics (she imported them from India). The customer only has to pay for postage – which is refunded at the first order. You can order samples right now and until the launch of the main website here.

We also have the Le Jardin Retrouvé lab/showroom in Paris where we will welcome PR events and our friends the perfume bloggers when they are in Paris. It is a modern reconstruction of my parents’ apartment with memorabilia from their life – with my father’s lab reconstructed. This is where Maxence works. You are welcome to come visit us there! Customers and Fragrantica readers will be welcome there too, by appointment.

SERGEY: Thank you, Michel, for your time and interesting story!

MICHEL: Thank you, Sergey, and all Fragrantica readers!

Le Jardin Retrouve samples

I should confess that I have already ordered the new samples, and they have already arrived. I have started to wear them to compare with the previous pre-IFRA perfumes.

The new Cuir de Russie is still great – in the old perfume the acrid walnut shade had already appeared for the very first minutes, and I should finish the old juice as soon as possible. As for the new fragrance, apart from a dry and aged leather smell, I like the feeling of old tree bark, fermented fallen leaves and autumn bonfire smoke.

Citron Boboli cologne reminds me that I never have had time to walk in the Florentine garden – the cologne is spicy and sweet, with some citrus candy at start, then a green flash and the fragrance turns to a sweetish spicy-floral character. Another cologne – Verveine d’Eté – is dedicated to the Summer Garden in St. Petersburg and it’s a little late for the year: its green basil-verbena accord will work best in the hot July days. The most interesting Le Jardin Retrouvé cologne for me bears the name of Eau des Delices and is a classic green citrus cologne with a floral heart (neroli, petitgrain) and chypre base. And I’m going to smell all the perfumes – the story about Rose Trocadero charmed me.

Sergey Borisov

Sergey Borisov has been involved in perfumery since the early 90`s when he had his own perfume-devoted program “Close to Body” on Krasnoyarsk radio (1993). As a perfume enthusiast (known as moon_fish), he became famous in Russia for his translation of  Luca Turin's Perfume: Le Guide. He collaborated with GQ, Vogue, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Interview, Forbes, Allure, Robb Report, Flacon, Departure, RBC-Style, TSUM-Magazine (2008-2016). His own online columns for RBC-Style.ru, Vogue.ru, and GQ.ru (2006-2015) have earned him international recognition and an invitation to be an editor for the Russian edition of “The Little Book of Perfumes” by Luca Turin & Tania Sanchez.  In 2013, Sergey joined the Fragrantica team

 



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Prince Barry
Prince Barry

Lovely interview, thank you for posting it. I was one of the first people to receive samples on the original sample programme. Loved each one of them, and the pouches are lovely, and now that I know the story behind them, very special too.

Nov
26
2016
drugstore classics
drugstore classics

I may follow suit soon, Perfumecritic! Sampling from niche and indie houses is one of my dearest joys. :)

Nov
26
2016
perfumecritic
perfumecritic

Thank you so much for this great interview and report, Sergey. I ordered my 3 free samples and the US shipping was only $5 USD. Totally worth it to re-experience Le Jardin Retrouve's beautiful creations. Looking forward to testing the Rose, Sandalwood and Leather scents.

Nov
26
2016

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