An entrepreneure
of women’s
empowerment

This extremely creative woman expressed her daring in her products. (1979)

Photo credit : Vital Productions

A convincing woman of conviction

When Lise was starting out, the word entrepreneur was rarely associated with women. There were few enough women in the workforce, let alone heading companies. Lise launched her own cosmetics line in 1972. She had a vision to develop a brand that aligned with her values and mission : to bring out each woman’s unique beauty.

When she founded Lise Watier Cosmetics, there were few small players in the cosmetics industry, and even fewer Québec companies. Lise wanted to assemble a team of collaborators to develop her unique product line. She knocked on many doors of scientific laboratories and had to shrug off many rejections, but she did not give up. Ultimately, she succeeded in winning over the experts she needed to join in her adventure.

All my life, those who didn’t believe in my plans served as my motivation. I wanted to prove them wrong.

LISE WATIER

Produit Lise Watier 1972

Lise Watier’s product catalogue in 1972 (launch year of her first product line)

Photo credit : Vital Productions

Lise chose to associate her name and face with the brand. Most companies shy away from this risky strategy, but Lise was convinced it was the winning option. She was a well-known TV personality who had built a relationship of trust with Québec women, who felt a connection and identified with her. This was a powerful bond that solidified her brand credibility. Women consumers saw in Lise a real person who invested her passion wholeheartedly in her products. What’s more, she wore what she created, a testament to the quality. This authenticity could be felt throughout the brand and is what gave it flight.

TV advertising for Les Océanes product line — only available in French

Video credit : Vital Productions

There’s not a lot of grey area between Lise Watier the person and Lise Watier the brand : they carry the same traits, the same values. It was a brilliant move on Lise’s part to associate her name with the brand.

ISABELLE HUDON, Canadian Ambassador to France

Lise would next have to convince Québec women—who at the time were loyal to American and French brands—of the quality of her line. But she was a woman with a mission, converting them one by one until her brand ascended to the top spot.

Clip from Lise Watier’s interview, Cercle des Grands entrepreneurs du Québec — only available in French

Leadership that unites strength and grace

An entrepreneure with an inspiring leadership style, Lise succeeded in attracting people to her project. By 1986, she was managing 90 employees and 650 points of sale across Canada, and generating $15 million in sales. Even through this period of growth, family values remained core to the company’s culture.

She confronted the various challenges her company would face with strength and grace. With the help of her husband and highly successful manager, Serge Rocheleau, she acquired Oméga Cosmétiques in 1989.

Incendie 1990

Fire that destroyed the offices, August 5th 1990.

Photo credit : Vital Productions

On August 5, 1990, a major fire broke out at the growing company’s facilities, destroying a large part of the production. The entrepreneure had to start from scratch, but Lise maintained the same unifying spirit that had always inspired her employees and suppliers. In turn, they rallied behind her to rebuild her business. They were so devoted that they even worked without pay. In just a few months, the team succeeded in relaunching a number of products.

Creative and ambitious ideas

The creation of a perfume is an important milestone for a cosmetics company. Lise Watier wanted to break into the iconic European fragrance market, and so envisioned and marketed her first ever perfume : Neiges. At first, not one Parisian distributor was interested. But this fighter was not prepared to give up, and she took part in a Paris exhibition titled Noël au Canada (Christmas in Canada). Her perfume, Neiges, was the biggest-selling product at the event. The success of her fragrance, inspired by our winters, transcended borders and carved itself a place among Paris’s biggest perfume makers.

Clip from Lise Watier’s interview, Cercle des grands entrepreneurs du Québec — only available in French