The Paul Sebastian design house was founded by Leonard Paul Cuozzo and Alan Sebastian Greco, both New Jersey residents. Having lived near the International Flavors and Fragrances plant in Union Beach, Cuozzo became interested in developing fragrances. Greco worked as a national sales manager for Textron at the time. The two friends decided to combine their talents and create their own company.
They crafted their first scent, Paul Sebastian Fine Cologne, in 1979. Despite selling the scent to only three New Jersey men's clothing stores, it was so successful that within two years, the business expanded to over 300 stores.
Cuozzo and Greco managed to make their business a hit without almost any national advertising, choosing instead to focus on the company's relationship with its distributors. The company also became famous for its innovative gift with purchase concept, originally including teddy bears with a scent purchase in 1983. They eventually moved on to gifts of fine porcelain pieces to match their fragrances that soon became their company trademark. The company went international in 1989.
Paul Sebastian's first women's scent, Design, was launched in 1985. The men's companion scent was launched in 1995. The Casual scent series for both men and women was launched the same year. However, in 1999 the primary assets and rights to the company were sold to FFI Fragrances. FFI Fragrances later acquired Elizabeth Arden, which as of 2014, continues to sell Paul Sebastian Fragrances.