Who is behind Buly, the beauty brand that has become a cult

Who is behind Buly, the beauty brand that has become a cult

Formulations based on ancient recipes, natural ingredients and aesthetically perfect packaging. Officine Universelle Buly 1803 is a Parisian brand that Victoire de Taillac and her husband Ramdane Touhami awakened in 2014, after finding a 19th-century catalog that told the story of Jean-Vincent Bully, an avant-garde perfumer who, in a sense , was one of the inventors of modern cosmetics and perfumery. On the occasion of the opening of the first Milanese store in via Brera 2, Harper’s Bazaar met Victoire de Taillac to discover all the secrets of this brand, the next to become the great obsession of all Italian beauty addicts.

Victory of Taillac

How did you find out about Buly’s story?

It all happened by chance, thanks to an antiquarian friend of ours, who one day showed us an ancient catalog of the eighteenth century, which belonged to the pharmacist Jean-Vincent Bully. Page after page we discovered images that depicted bottles, notes on recipes and names of products, such as virginal milk. It is from that book that we took much of the information we needed to reconstruct the identity of our Buly 1803.

How do you bring a brand with a history of two hundred years into the contemporary world?

We have been as faithful as possible to the ideas of its founder, studying a lot and doing a lot of research in the Parisian archives. After that, we thought about what the brand should look like in the 21st century, and so we created bottles that excluded the use of plastic, and that were beautiful to look at and to hold. Nice design objects. For the shops, on the other hand, we recreated emporiums, where anyone could buy everything he needed to take care of himself, as was in the spirit of the original shop.

What has remained of the origins and what have you added to this story?

From the past we have kept the aesthetic part as much as possible: writings, logos, bottles and names, while as regards the formulas, also due to the new legislation in terms of cosmetics, it was necessary to update them using modern, more effective, and accepted ingredients. From law. The original formulas were simple and made up of few ingredients, we tried to follow the same philosophy with the new ones. Of course there are products that have been reinvented from scratch, but with Jean-Vincent Bully’s point of view.

Why do people like the brand so much?

I believe that Buly’s success is due to a mix of the effectiveness of the products and of course its history. It is often believed that success is only due to history, but when it comes to cosmetics and perfumes, customers come back because they are satisfied with the quality of the formulas.

buly 1803

Buly 1803

How are you sustainable with Buly?

We have reduced the use of plastic to a minimum, replacing it with aluminum for the tubes and glass for the bottles, two easily recyclable materials. In addition, we only have one box that fits many of the products we sell, this means that it is not necessary to produce different types, we make them special by personalizing them with the customer’s name written by hand. Even the transparent cellophane usually used to protect boxes does not exist here.

What is the product that best represents the brand?

Definitely water-based perfumes, formulated without alcohol, an ingredient that we wanted to exclude in order to be as “clean” as possible. And then also the hand cream Concrete Pomadeenclosed in a blue tube, with a hand print on it, an idea by Ramdane.

After France and Japan, why did you decide to open a shop in Milan?

I’d like to say that there were marketing studies behind it, but that’s not the case. Simply when you open a shop in a new city, you already know that you will have to spend a lot of time there, so it is best to choose a place that you like. And my husband and I both love Milan. Not only that, many of our customers in the Paris stores and in the online store are Italian. So it was a natural choice.

We know that each store has a different interior design. What inspired you for the Milanese shop?

The city itself and its beauty. In the shop we used dark woods and green marble, two very Milanese elements, which are also found in the entrances of the most beautiful deco buildings in the city.

What special services can be found in the shop?

Our sellers are highly qualified, they offer individual consulting services in the choice of products. There is also a personalization part of the boxes and accessories such as combs and toothbrushes, on which you can engrave your name in full. Or with your initials, as in the case of lip balm Balm of the Muses.

Could you tell us a brand secret that we cannot imagine?

All our sellers take calligraphy courses every week to be able to personalize the boxes and write cards with the English cursive font. I believe it is a value, a sort of practical and meditative exercise, which enriches those who perform it. An art that has been lost, which tells a lot about the slow philosophy linked to the brand.

If you had the chance to bring Jean-Vincent Bully back to life for a minute, what would you tell him?

Jean-Vincent Bully was a very ambitious person, he had created a brand, he participated in international fairs, he had laid a solid foundation for the project we are carrying out today. More than telling him something, I would like to show him what we have created. I think he would be very proud of it.

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