In 1900, barely 22, Marius Fabre founded his soap company in Salon-de-Provence.
He started up in the garden shed, where he set up two cauldrons and a few moulds.
At that time, Salon-de-Provence was an extremely prosperous city, thanks to the commerce of oil, soap and coffee. The abundance of raw materials in Provence (olive oil in the Alpilles, soda and salt in the Camargue and oils (coco-nut and palm) coming in from the colonies via the port of Marseilles) had made possible the development of the soap-making industry. The arrival of the railway in 1873 greatly facilitated commerce.
Marius sold his first soaps under the brand names of «The Book», «The Knife», «The Planet» or yet, «Concord», he also traded in olive oil.
In 1914, called up at the beginning of the war, he left his wife, Marie, in charge of running the business. For four long years, with the help of an old Italian foreman, she carried on the production and sale of the soap.In 1927, thanks to its success, the Marius Fabre company moved to its present premises, much larger and with space for the huge cauldrons necessary for soap making.
In 1927, thanks to its success, the Marius Fabre company moved to its present premises, much larger and with space for the huge cauldrons necessary for soap making.
In 1938, the eldest son of Marius, Fernand Fabre, took over the company from his father.
The Second World War breaked out, and rough materials were hard to find.
The 1940’s announced the decline of the soap industry in the Marseilles area. The Marius Fabre soap factory resisted, trying to find new outlets.
From the 1950’s onwards, the soap industry declined in the Marseilles area. There were several reasons for this :
Although many soap companies closed down, the Marius Fabre company managed to overcome difficulties.
In the 1960’s, the purchase of a famous brand name «La Sainte Famille» (The Holy Family) from the Roux company in Marseilles, gave new life to the Marius Fabre company.
In 1973, Henri Fabre, Marius’ youngest son took over the factory.Those were difficult years, as competition from petroleum-based products was fierce for the Marseille soap. Habits changed and with them customers.
Together, they decided to maintain the tradition of one of the oldest southern soap companies.
In 2010, the Marius Fabre soap company celebrated its 100th anniversary.
Today, Marius’ great grand daughters, Marie and Julie Bousquet-Fabre, are perpetuating this great family adventure with the same passion.
Twenty five people work at the Marius Fabre company, which is represented in France and abroad by twenty sales representatives.
Participating alongside the Marius Fabre family, generations of local inhabitants have worked beside the factory cauldrons to contribute to the fame of Marseille soap and the Marius Fabre company.