The Secret of Beautiful Skin

Elizabeth Grant

The secret behind Elizabeth Grant Skin Care’s impressive growth is very simple, President Marion Witz insists. “We offer a phenomenal product. We became very successful because our customers love the product.”

The popularity and effectiveness of the company’s products can be largely attributed to a very special ingredient known as Torricelumn™. The story behind this remarkably effective compound began over 65 years ago, when a young Englishwoman was injured during World War II. Elizabeth Grant was walking down the street when a bomb exploded nearby, sending shrapnel flying into her face. The injuries were devastating. “And in those days they didn’t have anything [to help treat the injuries],” Ms. Witz reports. “When she went to the hospital and they were removing the glass, the doctor said, ‘you are going to be scarred.’” Ms. Grant gave up hope of ever regaining her beauty.

Then she stumbled upon an intriguing article in a medical journal. Her doctor had left the publication in the waiting room and she flipped through it as she waited to be seen. “She jokes that she didn’t have Vogue magazine to read so she read the journal,” Ms. Witz laughs. Ironically, the journal featured a write up on Torricelumn ™, a compound that was being used to treat wounded soldiers on the front lines. Ms. Grant realized that she might have found exactly was she had been desperately wishing for. But when she asked the doctor about the unique, kelp derived chemical, he simply smiled and condescendingly replied, “Oh, my dear, this is nothing that you would understand.”

Ms. Grant was undeterred. “She has a photographic memory and she memorized the information,” Ms. Witz reports. Ms. Grant took this information to a chemist and asked him to make a batch of Torricelumn™ for her. The chemist argued that the compound was only being used to treat battle injuries. It had never been used as a cosmetic before. Ms. Grant would not take no for an answer, pointing out that she, too was a war victim. The chemist relented and Ms. Grant applied the special serum to her skin every day for several months.

The results were far better than Ms. Grant had ever hoped for. “It actually healed her skin,” Ms. Witz reports. “Her skin became perfect.” Ms. Grant was thrilled, “but she never thought that she would launch a skincare line.” In fact, her first sale happened entirely unintentionally. Ms. Grant worked as a makeup artist, and an actress she made up commented on Ms. Grant’s lovely skin. When Ms. Grant told the story of her once scarred face, the actress begged to try the serum. A month later, the actress came back for more. And a new name in cosmetics was born.

Ms. Grant ran the company for many years before eventually retiring. Ms. Witz, meanwhile, had a strong background in business and a successful career, and she immediately saw the potential to restart Elizabeth Grant Skin Care in Canada. Her instincts quickly proved correct. “We have had incredible success in Canada,” Ms. Witz points out. “We have seen growth every year. The economy is tough but we have been able to ride it out.”

A key strategy behind this success has been to manufacture all product in-house. As a result, “we are in control of the entire operation.” The team also develops the product themselves. “We have an incredible research lab,” Ms. Witz reports. “We are constantly looking for new ways to make our products better.” This includes improving their Torricelumn™ formula, which Elizabeth Grant Skin Care includes in every product except its perfumes. “We’ve refined it, we’ve improved upon it,” Ms. Witz explains. “It’s what sets us apart.”

The bottom line, Ms. Witz says, is that Torricelumn™ works. “It puts that bounce back into your skin. It makes it hydrated and plump. It makes it look younger.” The proof of this statement is demonstrated by the product loyalty of satisfied consumers around the world. “We have an incredibly loyal customer base,” Ms. Witz points out. “We have customers today that we had 15 years ago. And in [the beauty industry], it is a really difficult thing to keep a customer.”

Elizabeth’s Grant Skin Care’s marketing strategy has also been an important key to success. “We made the decision when we started up the business again that we were only going to sell on television. And that has been a very good decision for us.” Television gave the company the early exposure it needed. “We were able to get our product out there,” Ms. Witz remarks. “It really worked for us, 100 percent.” Television sales were so strong, in fact, that Elizabeth Grant Skin Care soon went on air in England, Australia, the United States, and Germany. “And with each new channel that we were on, we replicated our success from Canada.”

Careful planning and strong management have also been foundational to the company’s success. “Wrong decisions cost a company a lot,” Ms. Witz points out. “[We] overcame just by making the right decisions.” Fortunately, Ms. Witz is a strong decision maker and natural leader. She has been recognized multiple times for her accomplishments in business, including being named one of the top 100 female entrepreneurs in Canada for seven years in a row. However, she is quick to credit the rest of the team as well. “It isn’t all about me. It is about the people who I have employed. I have good people around me. I have a very good team.”

She believes that effective management means letting her team have the freedom they need to exercise their talents and utilize their experience. “I let people manage their departments,” she explains. “I am not a president who does everything. I have empowered [my employees] and watched them do the right thing for the company. So this is not a ‘me’ thing. This is something that we have done together. Together we are able to make it possible.”

The supportive environment that Ms. Witz fosters is an important part of the company’s culture. “Elizabeth Grant Skin Care is a company where everybody likes to come to work,” Ms. Witz says. “It is a feel good company,” and not surprisingly, this positive work environment has led to a high employee retention rate. “We still have people who have been with us since day one,” Ms. Witz shares. The biggest secret behind this high level of employee satisfaction, she says, is respect. “We have a culture of respecting everybody. It doesn’t matter what job anybody does in this company, everyone is respected for what they do.”

The company’s support extends to the wider community as well. Margot Grant Witz, Vice President of Creative Global Direction, spearheads EG Cares, the business’ Charitable Fund. The initiative was established to assist diverse charitable groups with donations of money and product. EG Cares supports over a dozen charities and is particularly committed to helping women recover from diseases that severely damage the skin.

Elizabeth Grant Skin Care has enjoyed remarkable success – and the team is eager to expand and improve even more. The next major push will be a move into the Canadian retail market. The Socializer™ is the first product line that the company plans to sell in stores. It is also the first product line specifically designed for stylish young women with an active lifestyle. “It is very much for girls on the go,” Ms. Witz reports. “It is about bringing in a younger customer.”

The team also plans to start selling its products on China’s shopping network. And, in a totally new direction, Elizabeth Grant Skin Care is creating a subdivision called Swisspharme™ that will manufacture products for other companies. It is a natural next step, Ms. Witz points out. “We make great creams and lotions. We can make anything in a bottle.”

The team is confident that these new ventures will take off. “Things are looking very bright for our company,” Ms. Witz remarks. “We have been able to steer the company well and really take the company to a great place.”

June 21, 2018, 11:37 PM EDT

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