Xavier Quattrocchi-Oubradous is the (re)founder of the heritage French brand Cosmydor, (which was initially established in 1877). As an entrepreneur interested in naturopathy and heritage brands, he rediscovered Cosmydor by way of a vintage poster and his background in art and investment banking led him to reimagine it as a fully sustainable, 100% artisanally made and organic certified contemporary French company.

In (re)founding Cosmydor you were taking on a brand with an enormous heritage. How did that feel?
It was a mix of emotions really, humility being the first one, especially during the relaunch period, when key decisions on design, formulation, and ranges were made. But it is still the same today, seeing the brand expand and take its place (again) next to other iconic brands.

Cosmydor disappeared in the 1960s. Why did you want to relaunch it?
Following a succession crisis, the brand went dormant. Whilst I was digging into the archives, I discovered Cosmydor's beautiful illustration by Jules Chéret dating to 1891. I was struck by its beauty and then started researching the origins and the rest of the brand’s history and just loved what I found. (Also Cosmydor starts like ‘cosmetics’ and  finishes with ‘or’, which means gold in French.)

Have you approached creating a contemporary brand whilst recognizing the history of Cosmydor?
The idea was to (re)launch a timeless brand, which I would define as a brand rooted in history, highly relevant to current times, and looking forward at the future. As you know it is not an easy exercise, that’s why the brand, since its relaunch, has had its own Creative Director, Philippe Guillermic. Philippe was in charge of re-creating the logo and the rest of the brand’s visual identity, maintaining a touch of its Parisian-chic heritage, keeping it minimal (but not boring) and extremely modern.

You use the highest quality organic materials and entirely sustainable packaging. Could you tell us a little about your approach?
Starting from scratch was a great advantage compared to our competitors; we looked at every single aspect and process of a cosmetics business, and tried to make it sustainable. For our formulation: we avoid synthetic molecules, always chose natural ingredients, minimise preservatives. When it comes to ingredients: we always pick organic ingredients when available, always chose cold-pressed vegetable oils and source locally when possible. Our product manufacturing: it's artisanal to minimise water and energy consumption (and it also enables us to reach much higher concentrations of active ingredients). The packaging approach  was the most difficult aspect. We decided to forbid plastic containers (recyclable or not, they are simply nature-killers in my opinion) and chose aluminium and glass.  Even when it comes to how we transport the product from factories, we work with CO2-neutral shipping partners.

In this time of frenetic hand-washing what should we be using to keep our skin soft?
The use of aggressive detergents and hydro-alcoholic gels is drying and damaging to the hands' skin. It needs a lot of repairing, soothing and of course moisturising. Unsurprisingly, we have experienced booming sales of our liquid soaps and of our 6 popular Essential Care hand creams (each with a key ingredient: vanilla, tonka, lemon, lavender, rosemary and orange). The Essential Care range has 99.5% natural ingredients, active plant ingredients between 36.1% and 88.1%, and no fragrances (although the natural smell of the key ingredients is quite something).  My personal favourite is vanilla (with real organic vanilla from Madagascar, not synthetic vanillin of course). And funnily enough we see a lot of chocolate addicts fall for its “cousin”, the tonka bean, and men choosing rosemary.

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