Lilliane Caron is such an inspirational woman and the perfect person for my Sisterhood Series! Lilliane is the owner and founder of Caronlab and Waxaway and is one of Australia’s top beauty entrepreneurs.
Lilliane is responsible for taking a small business that started in Geelong in 1979, from modest roots to being Australia’s largest manufacturer of salon professional depilatory waxes and waxing accessories. Pretty impressive!
Still based out of Lilliane’s hometown of Geelong, 2015 sees Caronlab manufacturing over 450 products and exporting to markets in the USA, Europe and Asia. Lilliane’s simple yet successful business model of creating innovative products that are Australian made and designed, easy to use and affordable, has seen her become a power-player in the beauty business space.
Tell me a bit about yourself, how did you come to be the owner of Waxaway and Caronlab?
I actually started Caronlab in 1979 when I owned my own salon in Geelong. I was frustrated with the expensive, inferior, difficult to use waxes on the market. I was sick and tired of a system that was desperate for a makeover, so I set about formulating my own range of hard and strip waxes.
I wanted beauty therapists to be able to deliver every treatment with confidence. Caronlab products care for the health, comfort and well-being of their clients. I know the struggles and frustrations of being a beauty therapist first hand. I also realise that waxing appointments are not a luxury everyone can afford, nor is it something everyone enjoys. Some people prefer to wax in the comfort of their own home. This market also deserved the same high quality wax and salon standard results – this is why Waxaway was born.
I think all of my readers would have heard of the Waxaway brand and most of them will have used your great products, what tips do you have on building brand awareness and trust?
I believe the most important thing when developing a brand is to deliver a high-quality product that works. Waxaway’s innovative products are Australian made and designed, easy to use and affordable. I have 40 years’ experience in the industry and, with my team of beauty therapists, we test and analyse the performance of each and every wax until it is perfect. I feel that this quality and innovation is what has proven my product to the consumer – it’s affordable and it works!
What has been the most rewarding thing about running your own business?
I do admit that I love being my own boss! I also love to exceed expectations – one of my greatest achievements both personally and for the company would have to be Brilliance Wax. Brilliance is Australia’s number 1 selling white wax and is my partner in crime when it comes to XXX waxing. Brilliance was an immediate hit and is famous for its exceptional flexibility which makes Brazilian and delicate waxing much easier. It will not go brittle or crack on the skin, delivering unrivalled results and giving confidence to even the most inexperienced beauty therapist. Brilliance is the envy of wax manufacturers’ the world over and many have tried, without success, to replicate the advanced formula. The formula for Waxaway Crème Berry Twist Hard Wax is based on the formula of Brilliance.
What setbacks or failures have you encountered and how have they helped shaped you as a business owner today?
Several years ago, we began manufacturing tanning, nail products and make up which never really took off. What I learnt from the experience is find what you’re good at and stick to it!!
Who do you admire in the industry?
While she was not in the industry my mother will always be my biggest role model. She was an extremely hard worker and had the most dedicated work ethic of anyone I’ve ever known. This has been instilled into me and I strive to be more like her every day.
When I believe in something I put everything into it. Even now, I am in the office almost every day in a sales capacity, researching, developing and regularly traveling to conduct training internationally. A lot of people think that after this many years you could maybe sit back and enjoy all your hard work, but for me there is always something else to do! I am surrounded by a great team of staff who all have different skills and talents that they bring to the table; I admire and learn from them each day.
What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs?
To be successful you need to think it, visualise it, practice it, believe it and know it. Running your own business is in no way easy – if it was easy everyone would do it!
Do not over complicate things. The key is to keep it simple and specific to the area you know best. There is nothing more satisfying than making your dreams happen, but you need to be prepared to work hard. You need to evolve and change with the industry and constantly keep educating yourself.
I have done a lot of traveling over the years and I always try to take something away from each new surrounding I am in, you have to always be on the alert for new things. It is important to make contacts, and talk to people, including your customers – more importantly actually listen to their feedback!