This year marks Canadian beauty brand Lise Watier’s 40th anniversary, and the iconic woman who started it all is still a driving force behind the company’s 400 makeup, skincare and fragrance products.
After reading the autobiography of Helena Rubinstein at age 19, Montreal native Watier dreamed of empowering women through beauty. In 1968, after a five-year career in television that began when she stumbled upon a hosting job while tagging along to a friend’s audition, she opened the Lise Watier Institute. It taught women makeup application, self-confidence and poise.
This was followed by the launch of a cosmetics line in 1972, then skincare products and fragrances in later years. After almost 20 years on the market, the brand’s first fragrance, Neiges, remains no. 1 in Quebec and is among the top 10 in Canada, with 2.5 million bottles sold. ‘It’s soft but long-lasting,’ says Watier.
The company is known for unexpected details, like its nail lacquer caps that light up. Age Control Supreme skincare, developed with researchers at the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi, features Labrador tea extract from Canada’s northern boreal forest, used for centuries by the area’s aboriginals to treat various skin ailments.
While she recently sold part of the business to private investors, Watier, 69, is still at the helm making creative and strategic decisions. Her husband of 25 years, Serge Rocheleau, is CEO. (Poodle Folie is office mascot.) And the non-profit Lise Watier Foundation provides support for Canadian women in pursuit of a better life.
What keeps a woman youthful? ‘Her spirit first,’ says Watier. ‘Then, the love she shares with others, her ability to feel needed and helpful, her activities’ and her dreams.’