Immortelle essential oil Producer
Catherine's family has always lived in Corsica, and she is truly a woman of the land. As a child she was happiest out in the fresh air, discovering the island’s secrets. Many youthful days were spent strolling along mountain paths with her childhood friend – a naturopath passionate about the unique plant life of Corsica.
For Catherine, this instilled a lifelong intrigue in herbalism. "As [my friend] always treated me with essential oils, I was interested in learning about aromatic plants," she explains.
In 2008, Catherine met a homegrown immortelle producer and started her lifelong relationship with the flower. She started to learn the best ways to pluck the vibrant yellow blooms that carpet the island every summer.
"I had to understand how the plant grew and its different flowering stages, learn how to handle a sickle and to work out how much and when to harvest. My job as a picker followed the life of this flower: I got up at 4am to pick flowers around my area and I carried them in canvas bags before delivering them to a distiller.
After opening her first distillery in 2013, Catherine's friend and fellow producer Stephan Francisci encouraged her to meet with L'OCCITANE. A little uncertain at first, the fiercely independent producer – who only distills flowers she’s grown herself – initially agreed to a one-year partnership.
During these 12 months, with the L'OCCITANE team helping out whenever she encountered new problems and giving her space to be independent, it became clear that the collaboration would thrive.
After establishing a relationship based on trust, Catherine agreed to a long-term partnership that she felt was truly genuine. "I feel free but supported at the same time," she says.
It took Catherine just five years from her first wildflower-picking expedition to become an expert distiller and independent immortelle farmer. Never one to shy away from intricate work and new experiences, she remembers the words of her father – "If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing well."
She also attributes her success to falling in love with her job. "You can climb mountains when you're passionate about what you do," Catherine explains.
So what does the future hold? "Now I’ve mastered distillation but I still have the desire to discover plants I don’t know," she muses. "It's been an adventure beyond my wildest dreams!"
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