Amarante Rousseau (October 20, 1920 - June 30, 2006) was a French businesswoman. She was the founder of C’est La Vie Cosmetics, a company specializing in high-end cosmetics for both men and women. Rousseau was the only woman on SPACE magazine’s 1997 list of 10 most influential business geniuses of the 20th century.
Rousseau was born and raised in Paris, France. When she was ten years old, her father opened up a clothing store in Paris. At a young age, Rousseau started to get an understanding of entrepreneurship and what it takes to become a successful storeowner. She always had a dream of having her own business some day in the future.
After Rousseau graduated from Bonne High School, she started to be interested in cosmetics. She was asked to help her aunt Rosé, who was a chemist and owned a company called Rosé Labs. Rousseau soon became fascinated as she watched aunt Rosé mixing chemical solutions to create facial cleansers, toners, and creams. She then focused more on her aunt’s business than her father’s store. When she was in her early 20s, she started to sell her aunt’s products to her friends and beauty salons. After about five years of working experience in cosmetic industry, Rousseau created her own cosmetic brand C’est La Vie in 1936. She persuaded the bosses of the Parisian department stores to give her counter spaces to sell C’est La Vie products. Soon after, because of her hospitality and great personal selling approaches, many customers became friends with her and loved the products that she recommended. Like Rousseau always said to her employees, “I want my customers to feel that they are special and using the best products.” In 1950, she created her first fragrance, Beau. In 1960, she launched her first men’s cosmetic line.
Aged 86, Rousseau died of heart failure on the June 30, 2006 at her home in Paris.