Elite Enterprises was formed in 1974 by Larry Hahn. Hahn was living out of his car at the time of its conception. Originally, the company's modus operandi was to take new products directly from the manufacturer and sell them on the street. This was a boon to manufacturers, who couldn't get their products into a department store unless it was already well-known and a proven seller. The idea was a success. Elite Enterprises was the first marketer for Pong, Ginsu knives, and many other products in use today. They were making a ton of money, but there was one problem. Actually, there were many, and that was the problem. Elite had no control over the quality of the products they sold, and thus had no way of guaranteeing the product's performance to the customer. After headaches a-plenty, Larry Hahn decided to move Elite Enterprises away from the direct marketing gig, and manufacture and market a product of its own.

He was drawn to the fragrance industry almost immediately. The profit margins were huge, and the product itself was inexpensive to make. On top of that, the Supreme Court ruled that one could not patent anything wholly natural, such as a fragrance. He turned to the best-smelling city in the world: Paris, France. There he met with one of the top fragrance designers ("noses") in the world. Offering the gentleman three times his usual salary, Larry had him reproduce the recipes for the top twenty-five fragrances around the world, many of which the "nose" had designed himself, originally. Back in the U.S., Larry opened mixing and bottling plants of his own, and started churning out designer fragrances without celebrity endorsements, fancy boxes, crystalline bottles, and huge billboard ads. In addition, he sold larger bottles and strengthened the mixture to 20-22% essential oils, giving parfum potency to fragrances sold originally as toilette and cologne. Elite Enterprises bypasses department stores and sells these fragrances directly, via their own internal distributors. The results are the exact same smell at a whole helluva lot cheaper.

I cannot vouch for the validity of any of this, as I'm recounting the story here as it was told to me at orientation yesterday. Yes, I now work for Elite Enterprises. Shoot me.

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