Olivier Baussan

Founder of L'Occitane


Inspired by his childhood in Provence, the 23-year-old Olivier Baussan decided to recreate the traditions of his region. After purchasing a steam distiller, a relic from the past, Olivier harvested wild rosemary and produced pure Rosemary essential oil. He sold this essential oil at local markets, this all-natural product was quickly embraced by villagers and L’OCCITANE was born.

Olivier’s ambition was to create a company that celebrates Mediterranean well-being. The name he chose for the company refers to Occitanie, the ancient province that once covered the south of France, northeastern Spain and northern Italy. The idea was to mix traditions and ingredients from the Mediterranean region in the creation of products for personal care and the home.

Following the success of Olivier’s Rosemary essential oil, the brand began to grow in a very organic way. After discovering an abandoned soap factory, Olivier became fascinated by the idea of reviving the art of soap making in Marseille. With the help of others, Olivier created soaps using a vegetable fat recipe and traditional methods. Today, these vegetable-based soaps are known all over the world for their quality ingredients and attractive, traditional shapes.

While exploring the world for new ingredients and traditional techniques, Olivier learned about the Shea trees that grow in Burkina Faso in West Africa. These sacred trees produce a nut that is ground into a rich, thick paste known as Shea Butter. It is this butter that is used as a nourishing and moisturizing ingredient in L’OCCITANE products.

L’OCCITANE products represent the traditions and values of the Mediterranean region. Every year, Olivier seeks out traditional techniques and ingredients once used in the region to ensure the well-being of the body, mind and spirit. The results of these efforts are embodied in L’OCCITANE’s annual Harvest collections, Shea Butter range, Gardens Collection, Aromachologie products and Immortelle skincare.