As a child, she dreamed of being a concert pianist. As an adult, she became a researcher and then the host of a television show devoted to women. However, it was as a businesswoman that she left her mark on the imagination of Quebecers, but especially Quebec women. She and her company quickly became Quebec icons of cosmetics.
Interview with the great entrepreneur and philanthropist Lise Watier.
Initially a television researcher and host, Lise Watier quickly heard the calling of entrepreneurship. In 1968, she opened the Institut Charme et Beauté Lise Watier, a space dedicated to beauty and self-esteem.“One day, a director told me that it was due to him that I had a career in television. I was convinced that my future would depend on me and no one else,“ recalls Ms. Watier. So that was the kick-off for founding the institute, which was designed to help women love themselves, gain self-confidence and become empowered.“
In 1972, few women were running companies. But that was not a problem for Lise Watier! She went ahead and developed her own cosmetics company that would become a true Quebec flagship. Her goal: to highlight the unique beauty of each woman.
“As an host and television researcher, I had the privilege of meeting many women and establishing a bond of trust with them. When I founded my Institute, I became more aware of the needs and concerns of the women of my era, she says. I could see a great difference in the way they behaved when they felt good about themselves, thanks in part to cosmetic products. I understood that beauty is an emotion and when we realize that, we have far more knowledge than anybody who wants to start a beauty business.“
While the company is still going strong today, it hasn’t been without its challenges. In 1990, while Ms. Watier was in Europe for a trip with her family, a fire broke out in the company’s warehouse. The material and financial losses were enormous. With her team behind her, the company quickly got back on its feet. This dark period for the company was the catalyst for one of the company’s greatest successes: Neige perfume.“One morning after the fire, I woke up and told my children and husband that I wanted to launch a fragrance called Neige. To me, snow evoked happiness, purity and softness, but also tenacity. A fragrance that was very much in the spirit of Quebec women. Many of my colleagues and friends did not believe in it. I don’t blame them, because Quebecers have a rather difficult relationship with snow. However, I was convinced of the success of this product. Today, the fragrance is the most sold perfume in Quebec and ranks among the top five bestsellers in Canada.“
The Beauty in Perseverance
A symbolic figure in Ms. Watier’s career, her grandfather has always believed in her success, being her greatest supporter from day one.“ My grandfather once told me that every time someone gave me a hard time, I had to prove them wrong,“ she says. That phrase has stayed with me all my life and has greatly influenced my career path. In 1971, before I started my business and while I was pregnant, I did a market study and the results were not very positive. People were not very favorable to the idea of buying a Quebec product. The bankers were not very keen on the idea either. So I listened to my grandfather and founded my company. 50 years later, I can confidently say that I made the right decision.“
Paying it Forward
In 2009, Lise Watier embarked on her philanthropic journey by creating the Lise Watier Foundation, whose mission is to help women who wish to be financially independent. Coming from a modest background, she wanted to give back to women in her community who were eager to improve their quality of life. This is the objective behind the Foundation’s Let’s Start Up Program, which is intended to help women who wish to become professionally independent.
“The Foundation is a project that is close to my heart, admits Lise Watier. I was one of the few people in the area where I come from to have had access to such a good education. I was privileged to have people behind me who believed in my success, but I am well aware that not everyone has that opportunity. With the Foundation and the Let’s Start Up Program, my dedicated team and I are committed to helping women become financially independent whether it’s by helping them return to school or start their own business.“
Lise Watier Foundation
The Lise Watier Foundation is a philanthropic organization committed to changing the lives of women in need in Quebec. Driven by the desire to give them back their pride, to help them take control of their lives and to build a future that matches their aspirations, the Lise Watier Foundation has been working every day since 2009 to encourage the financial independence of Quebec women.
The Medicart/Epiderma network is proud to support the Lise Watier Foundation.
In April 2021, for each package of laser hair removal, microdermabrasion, peeling, cellulite treatment or body contouring sold, $20 was donated to the Lise Watier Foundation to support the Let’s Start Up program.