Caryl Baker is a pioneer of the beauty industry — a former fashion model and teacher, she designed a cosmetic line that would appeal to actresses and models as well as to women outside of the industry, and pioneered the concept of “try before you buy” when she created the free makeup demonstration back in 1969. The brand has been a reputable source for skincare services for over 4 decades, and the company’s CEO Nathan Tam and President Justin Dumitrescu, want to not only keep it that way and maintain the core customer that matured alongside the brand, but they also aim to revive it, give it a little facelift and inject a fusion of youth into the brand. It’s a pleasure to introduce you to Nathan and Justin in today’s #WeWantToKnow feature!
Admittedly, Nathan and Justin are not exactly beauty-obsessed, but they do know a thing or two about recognizing a good business opportunity when they see it. The pair met and became good friends while attending business school at the University of Western Ontario, and they maintained this friendship as they pursued their separate careers working on Bay Street in finance, investment banking and private equity, a time during which they spent helping other businesses grow. They each eventually left Bay Street, Nathan having launched and sold a business in only 18 months, Justin leaving a few years later, and the friends decided their next move would be to create something together. Their plan was to look among the aging baby boomer demographic with a business that they wanted to retire from, but that their children did not want to take over — this was how they found Caryl Baker Visage, an established brand that could benefit from their business savvy to introduce it to the next generation. Nathan and Justin have been in their roles at Caryl Baker Visage for 5 years now (Nathan oversees operations and Justin handles marketing) and together they have breathed new life into the business.
In order to ensure growth during the transition into their roles, Nathan and Justin strategically came on board slowly, spending their first year learning about the business and how it was run, observing how the employees operated (CBV is a franchise business with 33 locations all in Ontario with the exception of 1 location in Alberta), and treading lightly so as not to “break” any methods and processes that were working. They next focused on adding freshness to the brand by updating the look of several retail locations, the products, and by introducing a social media presence. They capitalized on the existing strength of the business, and that was the service offering — Caryl Baker Visage is not just a product retailer, they are full-service skincare specialists that get the clients in the seat and show them how to use the products. In the last 5 years, Nathan and Justin have upgraded the service offering by adding lash extensions and eyebrow services such as microblading in an effort to appeal to the younger generation (and their success speaks for itself — CBV is the largest eyelash extension provider in North America!).
Caryl Baker Visage offers extensive training to their employees and they are extremely knowledgeable about the skincare products they use on clients (and Nathan and Justin are both incredibly boastful of the strong knowledge base of the team they acquired and quick to give praise). I’ve had a CBV facial and can attest to this knowledge — the aesthetician who provided the service told me about all the products she used, their ingredients and their benefits, and how I would use them in combination together at home. (My greatest takeaway that day were hearing her tips for exfoliation: she said that you should always dry exfoliate your skin before applying lotion, otherwise it’s like washing your feet with your socks on! A funny analogy that stuck with me, reminding me how important exfoliation is for good skin health.) Whether you’re a long-time customer of Caryl Baker Visage or just being introduced to the brand, their service offering has something for everyone. I hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know more about Caryl Baker Visage’s new brand vision and the savvy businessmen who are bringing it to the next generation.
Want more? Here’s what #WeWantToKnow about Nathan and Justin:
I can't start my morning without...a hug from my girls – my two daughters, Emma and Ellie and my wife, Jamie.
I have a weakness for...ice cream and popsicles.
Most people don't know that I... watch other people playing video games online.
Currently reading... The Martian because I loved the movie and heard the book was even better.
An important lesson I learned from a challenge I faced...life’s too short — only do good business with good people.
I want...Caryl Baker Visage to become a 100+ location beauty powerhouse within Canada and internationally.
I can't start my morning without...seeing my kids.
I have a weakness for...red wine and carrot cake (but not together).
Most people don't know that I... am a science nerd (they know the nerd part).
Currently reading... The Gene: An Intimate History.
An important lesson I learned from a challenge I faced...be the most prepared person in the room.
I want... more time.
Thanks Nathan and Justin, for participating in #WeWantToKnow!