After hearing clients of The Plastic Surgery Clinic in Mississauga, Ont., say, ‘I’m so happy with the results of my surgery, but not with the quality of my skin,’ Ann Marie MacDonald, 58, and husband Dr. Frank Lista, medical director of the clinic, decided to do something about it. In 2005, they launched Miracle 10 through The Plastic Surgery Skincare Clinic: luxury products devoted to different skin issues, from sensitive to oily.
Lista acted as medical advisor while MacDonald did most of the research on the ingredients such as AHAs, kojic acid, beta-glucans and vitamin E acetate. While her degree is in psychology, her 32-year marriage to a top cosmetic surgeon (they’re parents of two grown children) and her 20 years managing the surgery clinic mean MacDonald feels comfortable reading medical journals and listening in at scientific conferences.
‘We want to normalize the skin,’ says MacDonald, president of Miracle 10. ‘When your skin is brought back to normal, anti-aging ingredients can do their work better.’ Customers shopping online fill out a detailed questionnaire to determine their skin type and then get a list of which of the company’s 48 products will suit their needs. Those who visit either of the two Miracle 10 boutiques, in Mississauga and Toronto, get an in-person analysis.
They’re obviously on to something; the company now has 19 employees (including daughter Elizabeth), and is seeing 20 percent growth annually. And MacDonald continues to formulate new products’such as the peptide-infused Platinum line’always aiming to use active ingredients in the most effective way possible.
Lisa McGregor named her skincare company of face and body products after her adopted hometown for good reason. She moved to Whistler from suburban Abbotsford, B.C., after her husband died suddenly from a heart attack in 2006’one of their sons was with him at the time. Whistler offered them a place to heal, with its gorgeous mountain views and outdoor activities. The family dug into the local culture of backyard composting, active living and eating organic foods.
As a former manager of a natural health-product wholesaler and manufacturer, McGregor, now 41, had an interest in natural anti-aging skincare products, but ‘the natural ones around here were a bit hippy,’ she says. She wanted something more refined.
She called on friend Christie Angeloni, who had worked for Clinique in sales and marketing, and the two got to work in Angeloni’s kitchen, formulating a vegan and nut-free line (Angeloni’s children have allergies) without parabens, phthalates or sulfates. They opted for natural preservatives such as elderberry extract and probiotics whenever possible. ‘Many nights we worked until 1 a.m., covered in lotions, and the whole house would smell like camomile,’ says McGregor, who acts as president of Whistler Naturals while Angeloni is a silent partner.
In June 2012, they launched Buttercream Icing Body Butter and Vanilla Silk Sugar Scrub. Selling online and via a handful of Western Canadian retailers such as Save-On-Foods and Nesters Food Market, the company is looking to do $100,000 in sales in its second year, and now has 16 products. McGregor’s sons, 17 and 21, along with her fiancé, help with labelling, deliveries, bookkeeping and product testing. ‘Everybody is totally involved and supportive, which is really cool.’
This article was originally titled "Made in Canada" in the October 2013 issue of Best Health. Subscribe today to get the full Best Health experience’and never miss an issue!