The Association Establishes an Identity
In the early 1900s, the Manufacturing Perfumers' Association (MPA) experienced tremendous growth as the industry rapidly increased production of goods to meet the growing acceptance of cosmetics within mainstream America.
On the legislative front, the -Association worked repeatedly during this era to successfully overturn tariff legislation that threatened to cripple the industry.
Despite a concerted lobbying effort by the Association in 1914, a tariff was enacted, imposing a 20 percent duty on 90 percent of the raw materials used in perfumes and toilet goods.
MPA Chairman William Bradley summed up the turn of events by commenting, "We have been roasted."
World War I provided an unfortunate, yet well-timed, impetus for the industry's growth. First, the war exposed French perfume and other fine toilet articles to nearly five million American soldiers, most of whom were in Europe for the first time.
Secondly, the decline of French exports to the U.S. due to the war provided an opportunity for the industry to capture this growing American market.
In the words of Association -Secretary Walter Mueller, companies could "concentrate all of their energy to building up trade in their goods in this country with a view to convincing the American public of the worth of these goods."