Yves Rocher, the founder of the global cosmetics brand that bears his name, died in Paris on Saturday, December 26th from a stroke at the age of 79. Rocher was a pioneer in the field of natural cosmetics and alternative channels of sales – he started his namesake, La Gacily, a Brittany-based brand in 1958 by selling hemorrhoid ointment via classified ads.
It wasn’t until 1969 that Rocher opened his first beauty center, which was located on Paris’ famed Boulevard Haussmann. Rocher’s company today – based on the idea of “beauty from plants” (they grow and harvest the plants that are used in their products which are distributed via catalogs, stores, online, and door-to-door sellers) — employs some 15,000 employees and has a presence in 5 continents and 88 countries.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy has released a statement calling Rocher a great "French industrialist, inventor of plant-based cosmetics and pioneer of mail order retail." Rocher, who took back control of his company after the brand was transferred to his son Didier for the period between 1992 and 1995 after Didier died in an accident, acquired a number of other brands along the way (the Rocher family owns 75% of the company). Among the brands that Yves Rocher markets are Daniel Jouvance, Dr Pierre Ricaud, Isabel Derroisne, Kiotis and Galerie Noemie, and Petit Bateau children’s wear.