Celeste has a long and colorful history, due to its founder Charles Granville. He is remembered by many as being a very nice man and never ceasing to make people laugh. He and his friend N. Lee Swartout founded the company in 1946 in Wilton, Connecticut; as a perfume company called Angelique.
The two decided to start their own perfume company during their daily commute. They both worked in New York and spent around 3 hours a day on the train commuting from Wilton. Swartout worked as a manager for a bottle manufacturing company and Granville as an efficiency engineer.
When they started Angelique, they decided who would be the president with a simple coin toss! Granville won and became president and his first official action was to make Swartout treasurer.
The beginning was rough for Granville and Swartout. They didn’t show their first profit until June 1948. They didn’t even have bottling machines when they first started bottling their perfume. They simply siphoned the perfume out of jugs and into the bottles with rubber hoses!
Things started to take off for Angelique because of Granville’s inventive ideas to gain publicity. They started out by sending portable sprayers to stores all over the country so that they could spray perfume out as people walked by. This ended up inspiring Granville’s next idea, perfumed snow. On February 10, 1948 he made scented snow fall in Bridgeport, Connecticut, by seeding the clouds with nitrogen and perfume.
Granville wanted to make scented snow fall in Washington D.C. next; but when officials in D.C. caught wind of his plan, they sent him a telegram warning him he would have to pay for any mess that he made. They had just had a heavy snowfall and were not interested in anymore! After that, Granville’s scented perfume experiments were postponed indefinitely. But that didn’t slow him down; he found other creative ways to promote his perfume.