La Glass Vallée is the world leader in luxury bottleware and accounts for over 70% of global production of glass bottles for fragrances, spirits, cosmetics, medicine and toiletries. This industry of excellence brings centuries of expertise together in the Bresle Valley, on the border with Normandy and the Hauts-de-France. Let’s take a deep dive into glass manufacturing and meet its president, Valérie Tellier.

What is La Glass Vallée?

Valerie Tellier Glass Vallée

It’s a business cluster with sixty-odd companies and almost 12,000 employees, from the unqualified to the highly qualified, ranging from people in charge of loading the machines to people in charge of training. We have been based in the Normandy countryside by the Bresle River for over 400 years! Why? We’re near the woodland, sand and water: essential ingredients for making glass.

La Glass Vallée is obviously home to companies that make glass, but also model makers, mould makers and more. The entire industry is accounted for, from designing to making bottles.

French content

Are there any challenges?

Decarbonisation is one because we use a lot of energy. Glassmakers use a huge amount of gas – they are in the process of making changes – and electricity with 4.5 times the cost between 2021 and 2022.

Then there’s recruitment: most of our trades are still manual and we have a lot of people retiring. Passing down expertise, replacing staff and training in new fields with the development of automatic machinery are our day-to-day priorities. It’s an exciting place to work and our young staff are proud to be involved in making bottles, especially when they see them on TV or in stores: it gives their work meaning.

Thomas Strange – Normandie Attractivité
Flacons en verre Glass Vallée

What makes 2022 so special?

Thomas Strange – Normandie Attractivité
Flacons de parfum Glass Vallée

It’s 2022, the UN’s International Year of Glass. It’s a golden opportunity for us to showcase glass and glassmakers, to introduce our trades and expertise. As part of the event, we produced a special edition of “Formes de luxe”, a professional magazine to introduce our trades and grab our clients’ attention, especially in France. 

We also published a book about the history of glass in the Bresle Valley to remind people of where we come from and, more importantly, where we’re heading. We have been here since the start of the Middle Ages and the industry’s transformations over the years are similar to the textile industry, except that textiles have gone but we’re still standing here in France.

Did you know?

La Glass Vallée ended the year on a high with La Nuit du Verre on November 24th in Paris attended by the entire business cluster and its clients. The event addressed key subjects such as decarbonisation, supply chain, recruitment, funding expansion and companies to take over.

An unchanging expert process

Step 1: model and design

Companies in the Bresle Valley design the bottle to brand specifications. Computer-assisted design, 3D files, model printing, gloss, matt, silk and colourways: nothing is left to chance, including the final details!

Step 2: moulding

Mould makers use raw materials, such as iron, steel or brass, to sculpt the end product and bring its design to life in a mould essential to the manufacturing process.

Step 3: glassmaking

Glass heated to almost 1300 degrees is poured into the specially-designed mould where the materials fuse to make the bottle. The bottle is then cooled in automatic or semi-automatic machines, which have required human expertise for generations, before being inspected.

Step 4: quality control

Quality controls occur regularly throughout the design process to uphold the standards required by the luxury sector: straight after making or after a finishing operation.

Step 5: finishing

Glaze, lacquer, decoration, engraving etc. Finishing is the final step that gives the glass its personality before it makes its way to the end client.

Step 6: logistics and filling

Before being put on display in perfume shops all over the world, the bottle is sent to be filled with different fragrances within the clients’ deadlines.

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