The renowned Gavarry soap-works began in the second half of the 1800’s in La Ciotat, a small village in southern France, between Toulon and Marseille.
Its owner, Monsieur Camille Gavarry, entrepreneur and master soap maker, worked hard to build up his business not only in France, but also in Italy, opening a small soap-works plant in Arma di Taggia, in the province of Imperia. With the passage of time Monsieur Gavarry decided to cease his activity, which in 1929 was taken over by Mr. Domenico Sguerso. He incorporated it into his own business, a small so- ap-work firm called “Domenico Sguerso & Figli” which he had founded in 1912 in Savona (not far from Genoa in Northern Italy).
Situated in Santa Teresa alley, in the ancient neighborhood of San Giovanni, it originally produced laundry soap, soap bars and body lotions. In 1922, together with a delegation of Savona’s Chamber of Commerce, Sguerso took part in the Tripoli International Trade Fair, where his Ape brand soap received an award. Abandoning the old company trademark, he chose “Gavarry” to rename the family business, which by then had moved to a more spacious location in Lavagnola, a suburb of Savona.
The “Stabilimenti Italiani Gavarry” was officially born in 1929. This plural title made reference not only to the fact that the Savonese plant had joined the Arma di Taggia soap-works, but also to its Italian iden- tity. In the meantime, Domenico’s sons, Vittorio and Giuseppe, had taken over as business managers, and they decided to focus production in the new Savona soap-making plant, specializing in manufacturing for other companies as well as their own brands (Gavarry, Ape, L’Amande).