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From a sweatshop till a world-famous laboratory – the success story

History is the key to understand the power and potential of the Polish cosmetic industry. The industry has reached its prosperity in just one century and “made in Poland” products have got recognition both in Poland and in distant areas of the world.

Timer-50 The interwar period

It all started in 1919 when Poland regained independence. After over one hundred and twenty years of foreign regime the society made a huge effort to consolidate a fragmented infrastructure and modernise the economy. With this new energy of restoring an independent homeland there came also the reorganisation of the cosmetic industry and the industrial production of cosmetics. Cosmetic companies, such as: Schicht-Lever (later renamed Uroda), Miraculum and Ewa were created. In 1929 Pebeco started its production using the Beiesdorf license. During the twenty years of the interwar period many excellent industrial producers of cosmetics, as well as numerous local companies appeared.

Perfume Bottle-50The Polish object of desire 

The industry was able to further develop after the II World War thanks to the cosmetic sector base, created back in the twenties of the interwar period. At that time the industry was nationalised and the United Cosmetics and Cleansing Agents Company Pollena was created. Because of its already existing knowledge and experience Poland soon became the main Central and Eastern European Cosmetics producer and exporter. Poland produced makeup cosmetics, care products and fragrances for all the Eastern Block countries. The Czech, the Russian, the Hungarian, the Romanian and the Bulgarian women all smelled of “Pni Walewska” fragrance, had on their lips Cellia lipsticks and used the Miraculum facial cream. Polish products got recognition as synonyms of luxury at an affordable price. This combination of a good quality and the affordable price helped many of the existing brands capable of surviving the period of economic transformation of the late 80s. Some of them still sell their products till this day.

User Groups-48Stimulating competition 

The cosmetic industry, with the forty years of experience, knowledge and a well-developed manufacturing infrastructure, could now enter the difficult economic environment of a free market concept. Many of production facilities have beem privatised and taken over by world concerns, such as, among others: Cussons, Henkel, L’Oreal or Beiersdorf. A number of international players, including:  Avon, Procter & Gamble, Oriflame and Colgate Palmolive have invested funds in starting new facilities in Poland. At the same time many national cosmetic companies have been created and have kept developing. Laboratorium Kosmetyczne Dr Irena Eris, Soraya, DAX Cosmetics, Ziaja, Kolastyna, Oceanic, Dermika, Joanna, Bielenda, Hean, Inglot and Inter Fragrances were all launched between the 80s and the 90s. As a result of all those events, the contemporary cosmetic industry in Poland is an unusual, in Europe, mixture of global cosmetic giants, big and medium-sized Polish enterprises and several dozen small and micro companies.