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Monsieur Yves Rocher’s story

Yves Rocher : a man with lots of different sides ! His love for nature since its childhood, its visionary spirit… We tell you everything !

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A pioneer

Yves Rocher. This famous name is not only that of an authentic brand, it’s also the name of a man with a personal and non-conformist vision. Before becoming the industry expert we know today, he started life as a small boy from Rue Saint-Vincent in La Gacilly, Brittany.

His vision of beauty which started 60 years ago is still incredibly relevant today. By inviting women to “stay true to themselves” and reconnect with nature, he established the foundations of the Yves Rocher brand. As he said: “Whether we’re young or old, it’s still our main reason for living. And that hasn’t changed over time.” He accredits his success to his Breton tenacity, visionary spirit and to the natural world which has greatly inspired him.
He said besides : “The more science advances, the more it gives reason to nature”.

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Breton roots in La Gacilly

On April 7, 1930, Yves Rocher was born in the small village of La Gacilly in Brittany. His father was a milliner and his boutique was located on the ground floor of their home, from where Yves Rocher’s strong sales instinct was born.
Having poor health as a child, his parents decided to homeschool. He had a carefree an happy childhood with his older sister and spent his time playing on the moors of La Gacilly and in the Brocéliande forest.

At the age of 14, he was forced to overcome the terrible loss of his father, which led him to seek refuge in the woods each day where he found comfort. It was a that time that Yves Rocher became aware of the positive impact nature can have on our well-being.

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The beginnings of Botanical Beauty

At the start of the 1950s, a healer from the neighboring village revealed to Yves Rocher the secrets of a product using a base of ficaria verna roots, which have healing properties to treat varicose veins. From these roots, he concocted a cream and discovered that it worked well. After that, he started to make this cream in his mother’s kitchen. Many people began to complain, particularly the pharmacists and Yves Rocher regularly found himself summoned in front of tribunals. But nothing stood in the way of his tenacity, quite the contrary in fact as he became even more motivated.
Over time, this famous cream became a must-have for the people of neighboring villages, Yves Rocher delivered great quantities to them, and that was only the beginning...

Lacking the space and means, but not the motivation, Yves Rocher took the lead in conquering the country. His idea was to sell his cream by post through publishing advertisements in the national press. His success continued to grow!

 

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Beauty accessible to all

Yves Rocher no longer wanted to be limited to just one cream. An idea came to mind: make beauty accessible to every woman! Accessible in terms of price, but above all accessible throughout France, as women in the countryside wanted to take care of themselves just as much as those in the city.

A first Chamomile cream came to life – a flower with soothing and softening properties. This time, it was cosmetic, so the pharmacists would no longer pose a challenge.
Yves Rocher then worked on the “Green Paper for Beauty”, in which he expressed his beauty vision for every woman, regardless of age, origin or social status. He invited women to stay “true” to themselves.

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La Gacilly, an enduring legacy

Everything began in La Gacilly, Brittany.

50 years ago, La Gacilly was starting to die as a result of urban migration. But thanks to Yves Rocher’s attachment to his village, the whole region’s economy was reboosted.

Yves Rocher promised to give La Gacilly a new lease of life to honor the memory of his father. The more the company developed, the more the village prospered. Jobs were created, while Yves Rocher also wanted to become involved elsewhere. He stood for the local elections and became mayor of his village.
This political engagement allowed him to become general and regional councilor in order to work for La Gacilly, its inhabitants, heritage and biodiversity.

The first Yves Rocher boutique was opened at 43 Boulevard Haussmann in Paris. The brand continued to grow and La Gacilly opened its site with 300 employees.

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Foundations embedded within the brand

Although Yves Rocher passed away on December 26, 2009, his work and love for nature shines brighter than ever across the brand.

Despite constantly developing, there are unchanging foundations to which the brand will always stay true: values which respect the world around us as well as a unique vision of beauty.

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So, what do you think of this story? Tell us in the comments!

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