Eva Lluch Saunier, co-owner and CEO of Lluch Essence
What does the company specialize in?
Lluch Essence is a family-owned company that is over 80 years old. We supply raw materials—aromatic chemicals and essential oils—to the flavor and fragrance industries. Although our core business is in raw materials, we also provide additional services to certain customers.
We are like a large supermarket in which anyone who creates aromas and perfumes can find everything they need to make their products, from Neroli or jasmine essential oils to black pepper and Ceylon cinnamon.
When was the company founded and when did you start working here?
My grandfather José María Lluch founded the company in 1939 while working for Perfumería Parera, a well-known Catalan perfume company, and in the 1960s my father joined the company. He had the initiative and the curiosity to search for exotic essences all over the world and it was he who laid the foundations of the company we have become today.
My sister Sofía and I joined the company in 1992 and we took over the running of the company in 2009.
What do you like most about your job?
The synergies and close relationships with our customers and suppliers are very enriching and there is always something new to learn. I also enjoy traveling around the world, getting to know very different business cultures, and establishing excellent business relationships, the basis of any business. And finally, I like the fact that the aroma and fragrances sector is mostly made up of family businesses like ours.
And what do you like least?
Our industry is both fascinating and complex. Our raw materials come from almost all over the world and their availability depends on many factors: the price of oil and its derivatives, currency exchange rates, political changes, climate, and even the workings of the agricultural market. This means that sometimes the prices of raw materials vary greatly within very short periods of time and are subject to speculation by some brokers.
We are a company that aspires to provide excellent service, so what I like the least is not being able to meet our commitments to our customers.
There is also increasing regulatory pressure: our products have to pass more and more controls and receive certification before going to market. This is both a major barrier to entry for new competitors entering the sector and a challenge for those of us who have been in the business for so many years.
What do you think your company excels at?
Undoubtedly, what we like to call “our essence”: the fact that our customers see us as highly professional, but at the same time sensitive and warm. This has allowed us to create honest and lasting relationships with our suppliers and customers, based on trust and transparency. This, together with the market knowledge acquired over the years, has enabled us to become a international benchmark in the sector.
What is your main challenge?
Sustainability, which means both the sustainability of the family business and the sustainability we are required to achieve as a chemical company. Our main challenge is to adapt our product portfolio to new market trends. There is a clear consumer demand for products of natural origin, organic products, and those that come from renewable raw materials, and knowing how to anticipate these trends is crucial for our future.
Where is your company located? Do you know why this location was chosen?
The company was originally in Barcelona, but we moved to Prat de Llobregat in the 70s to gain more space. We are in a strategic location, 10 minutes from the center of Barcelona, and close to the airport, the Zona Franca, and the port of Barcelona. For a distribution company like ours, transportation is essential, and logistic accessibility by land, sea and air gives us a great competitive advantage.
What do you like most about the neighborhood where you work?
The industrial park in which Lluch Essence is located scarcely existed when we arrived 50 years ago. It seemed far away from everything. Today, the connections with the city of Barcelona have improved considerably, along with the business fabric of the Baix Llobregat, and the area now feels almost part of the city.
How important is Barcelona for your company?
Barcelona has a great international reputation due to its potential as a business center and commercial hub in the Mediterranean.
And its culture and clear commitment to industry have led some of the leading companies in our sector to set up facilities recently in Barcelona.
Which city would you compare Barcelona to?
For me, Barcelona has no rivals. The more I travel, the more I love my own city. If I had to mention one other city, perhaps it would be London, due to its business and commercial traditions, its cosmopolitan culture, its creativity, and its ability to attract talent.
Which city model you think Barcelona should resemble?
Stockholm. Its sustainable and eco-friendly approach make it one of the fastest growing European capitals. It has also just been elected the “smartest city in the world”for its environmental and digital innovations aimed at improving the quality of life of its inhabitants.
What good practices from other cities would you like Barcelona to adopt?
Barcelona should improve it tax regime in order to make it comparable to neighboring countries in the European Union. And above all, it needs to simplify bureaucracy and achieve more secure legal frameworks, as these are key elements for competitiveness when it comes to attracting talent and doing business.
What do you ask of the Barcelona of the future?
A more competitive, digital and interconnected city with accessible and welcoming conditions for industry. We need to commit to collaborative, agile and flexible education that encourages both local and international talent. And we need affordable housing, international schools, cultural activities, security, and excellent mobility.