Ingrid Gagné is the co-founder of BG Beauté, a Canadian company launched in 2003. She also founded the brand Misencil, which specializes in lash extensions. With a presence in close to 50 countries and 12,000 points of sale, Misencil is seen as an international reference in the world of eyelash extensions.
There was no single moment when I realized I had become an entrepreneur. I think it really developed over time. Of course, I obviously deliberately did things to arrive at my current state, but there’s a world of difference between dreaming and reality. I never would have imagined at the start the will, courage and luck needed to achieve success!
I think that you become an entrepreneur when you start to take on responsibility, when you have to make choices and you hire one, then two, then ten people. You also become aware of it when you work with providers that don’t necessarily have the same standards in terms of quality, accounting, banking, and when you get first one, then ten, then a thousand customers.
I’ve spent my whole life in the esthetics field, whether in salons or spas or as a representative. Combined with my personal interest in the field, my careers have allowed me to stay on top of the trends, and sometimes even to predict them. I remember going to my first eyelash application in Florida, a state where lash extensions were still unknown at the time.
When my husband and I started off, with only two employees, we would nevertheless buy ad pages in Elle Québec so people would talk about us to their esthetician and say, “Wow! Now that’s what I want!” We created and even compelled the market into existence, since professionals at the time did not want to get involved in it.
I think that to succeed, you can’t be blinded by ambition. You have to always keep a cool head and question your decisions, especially when things are going well. That’s why we started brainstorming groups in which we regularly meet with our clients. While we might think all of us in the office are pretty smart, in the end, if you don’t understand your clients’ motivations, that means nothing. Learning how to anticipate and innovate is also a very important element. To achieve this, you need to stay open-minded and always keep an eye on what’s happening elsewhere in the world. Being curious remains a big ingredient in the recipe for success.
A lot of people think that becoming an entrepreneur is like a kind of honour or even an end in itself. But registering or incorporating a company and having nice business cards and an office is just the start.
At our company, being two people really helped in our day-to-day reality. When you start a business, there can be big joys and disappointments, sometimes even within the same day. When that would happen, when one of us was too affected, the other would be able to bounce back. It made things easier. My husband and I have a simple slogan: Every day is a lifetime!
I also think that skills are essential to a business. We are able to be judged on this basis, here in Quebec in 2018, rather than on the fact of being a man and a woman. Personally I have never felt like I was being treated differently, and part of our dream was always to surround ourselves with collaborators who were even more brilliant than we were.
Being an entrepreneur means working hard and working all the time. You can’t let yourself feel unmotivated when you experience failures. That’s the cost of success.
As Abbé Pierre often said, “The biggest failure is not having the courage to try.”
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