The story begins with the company Flôres e Couto and with a trip of the pharmacist Alberto Ferreira e Couto to Brazil in the 1920s, where he expanded his network of contacts and knowledge. Upon returning to Portugal, a Brazilian friend of his, who was also a doctor suggested that he should release a toothpaste to combat the problems associated with syphilis. Couto's ex-libris was launched as a medicinal paste in 1932, under the new designation Couto, Lda., and was almost exclusively for sale in pharmacies. Both situations would change in the future.
The production of the thoothpaste was carried out on top of the Couto Pharmacy, run by the sister of Alberto Ferreira, which was a long-standing bastion of the brand, until the facilities were moved to Ultic Park in Gaia in 2004. Nowadays, it’s Mr. Gomes da Silva, Alberto's nephew, who manages the brand. He started working at the company at the age of 17 and his current 85 years (at the time this story is written) show a wisdom only surpassed by his calm.
He has the support of his wife, Alexandra Gomes da Silva, in commercial management and Cláudia França, in the technical direction, which encompasses the quality control and development of new products, since the brand has always been innovating its offer. After the success of the Pasta Medico Couto, the tonic and Restorer Olex were launched, which could be used alternately to protect and care for the hair and whose advertising is probably still remembered by the eldest among us. At this time, the medical paste was already designated as toothpaste and sold in several parts of the country. Then the brand bet on vaseline, hydrogen peroxide and deodorizing cream Deotac. Cláudia França continues to conceptualize new products for Couto and, more recently, has had an inspiration that combines the tradition of the brand with the Portuguese tradition. Each line of the brand has a specific color and Cláudia found these colors in a Portuguese tile. After some study work, she integrated the imagery in the new products, such as hand cream, soaps and beard cream.
Recently, Couto has gained a facet of greater proximity to the consumer, with the acquisition of the store nº 330 in Rua de Cedofeita, exclusively dedicated to the variety of products which also serves as the brand's museum. For Alexandra this is an emotional acquisition, since, curiously enough, she had grown up in that same building, in addition to her mother also having had a shop there. For the brand, it was an opportunity not only to strengthen its image, but also to revitalize the Cedofeita area. On the walls of the store we find photographic records of the evolution of the brand over time, as well as some precious things, such as Alberto Ferreira's book with manual records, which details the formulas used in various products, examples of the first products that were still hand-wrapped , Couto Pharmacy scales and laboratory utensils. The store opened in 2017, but has an exceptional affluence, contributing greatly to the 13,000 toothpastes produced daily at the Ultic complex. There are also many nationalities here who are anxious to know a little of Portugal's history to which Couto has contributed so much. Some visitors seem to want to take the whole store, as Mrs. Felismina says, who does the guided tours. The brand is well known across borders, perhaps because of the portuguese migrant communities. As Mr. Gomes says 'where there are Portuguese there is Couto'.
Healthy smiles and happy skins are not, however, the only legacy of the brand. Nowadays, one of the greatest joys of Mr. Gomes is Fundação Couto, created with the purpose of welcoming the most disadvantaged children. Nowadays, the foundation includes a pre-school, ranging from five months to five years where the children can stay from seven in the morning to eight in the evening. For the older ones there is still an day care center full of fun activities. We can conclude that Couto has grown and with it its social responsibility towards the surrounding community.
This is a brand that has long been in the heart of the Portuguese people - or as the slogan said, in their mouths.
Get to know, in the new store, the route of this centennial brand and also be part of its history.