How LVMH Factories Went From Perfume to Hand Sanitizer in Just 72 Hours

Cosmetics and pharmacy have more in common than you may think

A bottle of hand sanitizer
Hand sanitizer is the hottest luxury product now.

On Monday, luxury goods company LVMH announced it would be converting some of its factories — where better times saw the production of fragrance for high-end brands like Christian Dior and Givenchy — into hand-sanitizer plants.

Since then, the company has managed to stay on track to donate 12 tons of the hand-sanitizing gel to healthcare workers in 39 hospitals by the end of this week, Financial Times reported. So how did a luxury brand pull off a 180 business shift in such a short amount of time?

According the Financial Times‘ Leila Abboud, perfume and hand sanitizer production are actually “closer cousins” than you may think. Sanitizing gel only requires three ingredients — purified water, ethanol and glycerine — all of which LVMH factories already had in supply. Factory equipment, including filling machines, plastic bottles and pump dispensers, could also be readily repurposed for hand sanitizer production.

Moreover, as Abboud noted, France’s medical and business elite tend to run in similar circles, making essential communication between the two easy and efficient.

“In the French system, we know all each other,” said Martin Hirsch, a medical doctor and high-ranking civil servant who runs the Paris hospital system known as the APHP. “It can be inconvenient in normal times, but it’s great in a crisis,” he told Abboud.

The company has said it plans to continue hand sanitizer production “as long as necessary.”

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