Caryl Baker Visage has serviced thousands of faces since it opened in Sarnia's Bayside Mall almost forty years ago. The store’s current owner, Jennifer Crawford, has carried on the tradition in her current Lambton Mall location. Caryl Baker Visage’s mission remains the same: to be Sarnia’s premiere face spa and go to destination for the best beauty products and services to make each client their most beautiful self.
Crawford learned the cosmetic business at a young age and always loved being a make-up artist. She managed The Body Shop in Lambton Mall for several years. "I loved what I was doing. The owner of the Body Shop was amazing. She taught me a lot and she gave me a lot of responsibilities." However, when Crawford became the corporate manager, she started to feel boxed in. "They tell you which shifts you have to work and I wanted to make my own decisions for the business," she explains.
After an unsuccessful attempt at acquiring The Body Shop location as a franchisee, an unexpected opportunity came about. "The mall marketing director at the time, Julianne Jones, came down to see me at work one day and suggested that I buy Caryl Baker Visage because it was for sale." She had to learn more about the brand. "In Toronto, I went down to the head office, I talked to them and I realized it was about make-up and skin care—it was everything I loved." Crawford experienced a setback in September 2002 when she was in a car accident in the middle of her training with Caryl Baker Visage in Toronto. "I was hospitalized, I broke my leg in several spots and I had to have plastic surgery on my face and my hand." Knowing that she wanted to take over the store before Christmas of that year, she forged ahead. "I went back to Toronto to work every day and I sat behind the counter on a stool with my crutches and my cast. I focused on learning the ins and outs of the business in Toronto until the owner taught me everything she could about the business. Then I returned home to run the store in Sarnia. We had a record-breaking holiday season that year.”
In 2005 the business was successful enough to move into a significantly larger space in the mall. “I was nervous that it was too soon for such a large expansion, but I knew that it was now or never and it has worked out very well.” She currently employs twelve staff. The extra space has allowed Crawford to create individual service rooms that offer more privacy, something that clients have come to expect from high-end salons. She wants each client to receive the best possible customer service, whether they are coming in for just a quick eyebrow design, or a complete day of luxurious high end services, including facial treatments, teeth whitening, eyelash extensions, ear piercing and makeup application. “It is very rewarding when we make people feel amazing about themselves.”