The year is 1643. On a dusty rue Saint-Honore, in Paris, carriages and men pass by like any other day through the morning clamour. Among the many merchants opening the doors to their shops is a certain Claude Trudon. Little does he know that the little grocery shop he just opened is going to make his family name renowned throughout the kingdom, and that over the ages, this same name will resonate with legendary expertise in a very particular trade.
This trade happened to be producing wax. In a time when candles were a daily necessity, the Trudons quickly became appreciated for the quality of the wax they manufactured at the highest standards. This reputation earned them the title of royal purveyors to the French court just a generation later.
It is indeed the specialised production process and the consequent quality achieved that helped maintain the business even after the monarchy fell in France, and, moreover, after lifestyles changed due to the industrial revolution. Gradually, candles such as Trudon’s became objects of precious luxury, as gas and electricity replaced them in their practical use. In fact, the company was acknowledged for its innovative spirit in 1889, when it received the gold medal at the World Exhibition, thus solidifying France’s status on an international level yet again.
Nowadays, the company no longer limits itself to creating candles for religious or strictly decorative purposes, but offers a variety of product ranges, from differently sized scented candles to room sprays. Everything they produce, however, is reminiscent of their long standing legacy and of their intimate links to the French royalty – starting with the scents of the candles, and going forward to the imagery and packaging used. To celebrate their glorious past, they also create wax busts of historic figures, such as Marie Antoinette or Napoleon Bonaparte.
According to company records, Napoleon seems to have been quite a significant patron of Cire Trudon. It is said he only gave one gift to his newly born son, and that was a Cire Trudon pillar candle which was personalized to feature a portrait of the Emperor engraved in gold. To this day, the company still finds inspiration in this story, and produces an entire collection of pillar candles with cameos, baring tribute to various personalities. Thus any client can symbolically own a piece of history, and with it, further a fascinating tradition.
There are many conclusions you can draw from the inspiring success story of Cire Trudon. Firstly, it goes to show that despite humble beginnings, anyone can reach universal appreciation if they set high standards and are coherent in maintaining them. Secondly, any industry or trade – big or small – can become an area of expertise through constant development and innovation.
Thirdly and perhaps most importantly, Cire Trudon is the perfect proof of the dual relationship between luxury goods manufacturers and their country of origin. Not only is a company reaching the highest level of excellence if supported by its country of origin, but in turn, the country of origin can benefit from the reputation acquired by that company world wide.
My suggestion and hope is that more and more countries realise the relevance of this win-win situation and act on it accordingly.
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Watch the CEO of Cire Trudon explain what makes this French company unique: