Visitors to Cuba have the impression that consumer goods are not available on the island. While this was once the case, international brands continue to arrive. A new perfumery on the Prado is a dramatic case in point!
Levallois-Perret, France-based Guerlain, a subsidiary of Paris, France-based LVMH, has re-established a presence in Havana. LVMH brands also include Louis Vuitton, Sephora, Christian Dior SE, and Hennessy among others.
Guerlain has reopened on the same street where it first opened in 1917, after a deal between Cuban tourism company Habaguanex and Saint Remy Trading S.A., from France.
Located at 157 Paseo del Prado or Marti St., between Refugio St. and Colon St., this house is now ready to please customers, especially Europeans who are visiting the Cuban capital. The perfume house is now located in the same place, thanks to the efforts by Havana historian, Eusebio Leal, unequaled proponent of many of the emblematic projects in Old Havana.
The Guerlain perfume house in Havana was open until the 1960s. In 1996, the building became a bike and electrical appliance repair workshop. One day, Mr Christian Noel Fournier, President of Saint Remy, walked past there by chance, and when he discovered the history of the place, he became fascinated with the idea of reopening the old Guerlain house’s doors in the Cuban capital.
Since then, Fournier has persisted in making his dream come true. Time passed by and in thef first decade of the new millennium, the building became a perfumery belonging to Habaguanex Ltd. for a five-year period, but they had to close down immediately because of building problems.
Saint Remy’s brand manager, Susel Ferran, said during the reopening ceremony that the facility will soon turn 100 years since Guerlain was opened in Cuba as a sign of the glamorous French and European market.
“We have been distributing prestigious and world famous perfume brands on an exclusive basis, such as Dior, Givenchy, Hermes, Versace, Mugler, Azzaro, Loewe, Issey Miyake, Narciso Rodríguez, and Dolce & Gabbana. This is the first Saint Remy franchise outside of Europe.”
Guerlain hopes to expand to other horizons and for that purpose it chose Latin America and a market as small as Cuba.
There are currently only seven boutiques in Paris, as well as other exclusive boutiques in Frankfurt, Milan, Hong Kong, Singapore and now one in Havana.