A Fairy Tale Come True
Once upon a time there was a little girl who loved makeup...
The Trailblazer: In December 1969, challenging the traditional role of stay at home mom, Caryl began a career that far exceeded her expectations. What began as a need to become more independent has developed into a multi-million dollar cosmetic company, with 29 franchised face-spas and a 40 year career that has helped pave the way for female entrepreneurs.
The Visionary: She started as makeup artist and salesperson who demonstrated and sold makeup at cosmetic parties for a small cosmetic company. Fortunately, she became dissatisfied with the company’s policies and product quality, so necessity led to invention. She began to look for a better line of cosmetics and skin care to sell/demonstrate.
The Innovator: In the Spring of 1969, she flew to New York alone with a page torn out of the New York Yellow Pages, determined to find a manufacturer to create her own line. After almost a year of research and development, she opened a tiny walk-up face-spa over a restaurant on Eglinton Avenue West in Toronto, Ontario and Visage Cosmetics was born. Not able to keep up with the client demand, Caryl spent the next 5 years, training 300 young women as makeup artists to sell and demonstrate Visage Cosmetics and Skin Care at cosmetic parties.
The Master Marketer: Always looking for ways to improve her business, in 1974, Caryl wrote an ad in a fashion magazine that would brand her as the top makeup artist in Toronto. The ad read: "You'll know why Caryl Baker can charge $200.00 a face, when you have yours done free at this month's clinic!"
This ad inspired the Hudson Bay Company to offer her space in its new Bloor Street downtown mall. In December 1974, Caryl changed the name from Visage Cosmetics to Caryl Baker’s Visage, and the first face-spa was officially open for business, offering for the first time anywhere, free skin analysis and makeup demonstrations. Women lined up at the door! Building on her groundbreaking concept, in 1977, Caryl established the "Caryl Baker Beauty Club", which offered, skin care treatments, gifts, discounts to every member, and beauty advice. Her philosophy has always been "We can teach you more about beauty in one hour than you'll learn in a lifetime of shopping at cosmetic counters, and best of all - it's free!"
The Mentor: From 1974 to 1977 she opened and personally operated 5 company face-spas. However, wanting to focus more on the long-term goals of the company, Caryl creatively found a way to expand the business by franchising her face-spas. This is when the name changed from Caryl Baker's Visage to Caryl Baker Visage. A self-proclaimed "woman's, woman", Caryl has always felt that it is important to offer women the opportunity to own their own beauty business and give them the independence she once sought. Caryl also created and established the Visage School of Cosmetics in 1978. Her curriculum was certified by the Ministry of Colleges and Universities under the Private Vocational Schools Act and was marketed to students interested in working in all facets of the beauty industry. Still in operation, the school now offers state of the art facial services, skin care training and makeup artistry exclusively for Caryl Baker franchise owners and staff.
The Matriarch: Today, with 29 franchised face-spas, Caryl is still very active in the day-to-day operations of the company. Staying true to her "try before you buy" philosophy, Caryl is instrumental in developing new promotional ideas and concepts for the face-spas, including the creation of new colour cosmetics and marketing strategies for her Caryl Baker Beauty Club, which has provided services to over 500,000 members. Currently Caryl Baker Visage has 285 employees, and she is proud to celebrate over 40 years in the Canadian beauty business. Caryl exclaims that "with over 40 years with Caryl Baker Visage, this is the longest relationship I have ever had and I am still in love!"
The Moral of the Story: "Find something you love to do and you will never work a day in your life... and you will live happily ever after!" - Caryl Baker