All the contestants on ABC’s The Bachelorette get a title, and Jean Blanc recalls being disappointed at first by being dubbed the “colognoisseur” when he appeared on the show this season.
The Northeastern University graduate and self-described “life collector of accoutrements” estimates he owns about 200 bottles of cologne—and the show clearly seized on that. Blanc said the nickname didn’t feel like it reflected the full extent of his accomplishments as an engineer and entrepreneur.
But Blanc, 31, said he not only came to embrace the label; he also trademarked it. Earlier this month, he launched his own luxury fragrance boutique—Jean Blanc Boutique—at the 2018 Essence Festival in New Orleans, where he used his clout as the “colognoisseur” to pitch his fragrance line to potential customers.
“I’ve always been a very career-driven person, and I just saw this as an opportunity,” said Blanc.
Blanc started off strong on the show, catching the attention of Bachelorette Becca Kufrin with his cologne in the first episode. But he was eliminated in the fourth episode after telling Kufrin he was falling in love with her. When Kufrin told Blanc that she could not reciprocate those feelings, Blanc appeared to backtrack on his statement.
Blanc addressed his exit from this show in his interview with News@Northeastern. He said that the sequence of events didn’t occur as they appeared on TV and that he and Kufrin had a longer conversation than the one that aired. He acknowledged being disappointed about leaving the show and that he wished he would’ve better articulated his intention to simply slow their relationship down.
“Part of the reason I went on the show was because I put my career at No. 1, and it’s hindered a lot of my personal relationships,” he explained.
He added: “The show is all about creating moments, and that was a moment in reality TV.”
He said he has no regrets about appearing on the show, but he acknowledged that the experience was much different from what he expected, particularly the amount of downtime in between dates and throughout the show. “I’ve been working for the past 10 years, and it was an opportunity to disconnect like I probably won’t have again,” he said. “I did a lot of self-reflection.”
Appearing on a reality TV show and launching a fragrance line are the latest stops in Blanc’s life journey that began in Haiti, where he was born. He and his family immigrated to the United States when he was 2, settled in Boston, and spent the majority of his childhood in the city’s South End.
He said he attended a high school near Northeastern’s campus and spent a lot of time at Snell Library and the Curry Student Center food court before enrolling at the university. “I know the street like the back of my hand,” Blanc said, laughing.
Blanc earned his Bachelor of Science in engineering technology from Northeastern in 2009. He was a resident assistant for three years, a Ujima Scholar, and a member of the university’s chapters of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and National Society of Black Engineers. He recalled spending a lot of time studying at Snell Library to keep up with his rigorous coursework. The university’s co-op program was a major draw, he said, and he worked on co-op in electrical design engineering and computer engineering jobs in Boston.
While at Northeastern, Blanc also helped his father launch a construction business called Best Home Improvement. “I learned a lot from the business and have applied it in my everyday life, and that’s definitely the reason I’m an entrepreneur,” he said.
After college, Blanc held various electrical engineering positions and then got interested in economics and finance and pivoted careers. He now lives in Florida, works as a purchasing manager in the global sourcing and procurement industry, and is pursuing his Master of Business Administration at Duke University.
Blanc said he didn’t go on The Bachelorette intending to launch a cologne business, but rather seized the opportunity to combine his newfound celebrity, business acumen, and entrepreneurial spirit. He describes his first product, Toujours Rose, as “the longest lasting rose-scented fragrance ever created.” A portion of the proceeds, he said, will support the #metoo movement and Rosie’s Place, a women’s shelter in Boston. “I’m trying to do some positive things with the added attention I’m getting,” he said.