The Story Of Annie Young
Annie Young has become renowned name in the cosmetic industry in Montreal. Before it became a brand it was a woman with a passion, who was determined and persisted and never gave up on her dreams.
If you've ever been to the Annie Young makeup counter in salons, or the previous boutique on Sherbrooke then you know it's all about the customer experience.
The Annie Young team goes above and beyond to satisfy their clients needs and with over 30 years of experience in the beauty industry, it's no wonder they've mastered the game. Keep reading to find out the story behind the woman who created the empire and brand, Annie Young.
Tell me about how you got started, did you always know you would get into the beauty industry?
Sharleen: Annie has always loved makeup. it started when she was in high school, and continued into her adult life. She would hang around the pharmacy, where my late father worked and sell makeup.
When my father became ill she started to work, doing what she did best, makeup!
Annie: I started my makeup business in my home in 1980. I partnered up with a company whose concept was home parties. I bought 6 of everything and was on my way. Word got around very quickly.
I opened my first studio in a hair salon in 1982 the same year I lost my husband. I was building something in order to be able to take care of my children.
Wow, I'm sorry to hear that. How did you manage to keep going through such a difficult time?
I don't know, I really don't know. Determination. It was something I had to do. I had no choice. I had three little kids I had to take care of them.
In 1987 I became Annie Young Cosmetics and launched my own cosmetic line. I started working in Avanti, and that's where we really started to build the name, the brand. We also were building the wedding business, and became one of the first places to have your hair and makeup done.
How did you manage to open your own spa inside Avanti?
Photo cred - Kevin Photography
The boutique is where we started to create a space where women can come to do their make up with different lines and different accessories. We have 8-9 cosmetic lines. Now we also have our own hair salon inside the spa. We wanted to create a one-stop shop for women beauty. We wanted them to feel confident, take care of themselves in a space that catered to their needs.
Annie Young really focuses on enhancing a woman's natural beauty.
How do you differentiate yourself from the Montreal market?
What were some of the challenges you faced over the years that were crucial to your growth?
Annie: It's a difficult question because there's so many ups and downs throughout all these years and decisions to make, and locations and staff and the right product, and customer service. There's a lot of challenges that go with managing a store. In the beginning it was very hard for me because I didn't know business at all, I never went to business school so I had to learn the very hard way.
There was a time when my kids were growing up and I had to support them so I really had no choice. I've always surrounded myself with very smart people, people that I've trusted - it helped me. The important thing is I never gave up.
What advice would you give young women who want to launch their own cosmetic line/beauty spa?
Follow your passion - because if you love what you do it can't get better than that. Follow your intuition.
Educate yourself as much as you can - we did team building courses, leadership courses and coaching, hiring business coaches. It's an investment but it's a very good investment.
Believe in yourself - even if sometimes that's very very hard. That comes with experience and time.
Surround yourself with solid people.
What services do you offer at Annie Young Spa?
By being inside Victoria Park, there's so much we can offer the clients in one building - we have our spa with our great services. We offer:
- Manicure pedicure
- Facials, with upscale products
- Massage therapy
- Full Service Hair Salon with colourists
- Full Service Spa with waxing, full lash extensions, spray tanning - and so much more.
What motivates you to keep going?
Sharleen: We can't say no! (laughs) it's so exciting. Lately I look at my husband and I tell him: what am I doing? and he says: don't worry, it's going to be okay.
I love to see people have a great experience. After every great massage, or facial or make up application - I love to see the staff love the conditions they're working in and to have clients love to get their services done.
What's next for Annie Young Spa and Cosmetics?
Sharleen: Our online store is just about ready to launch - other than that we are now focusing on our new spa, and our brand. We are always up for new challenges so... one never knows!
Monday: 9 am to 6 pm
Tuesday: 9 am to 6 pm
Wednesday: 9 am to 8 pm
Thursday: 9 am to 8 pm
Friday: 9 am to 8 pm
Saturday & Sunday: 9 am to 5 pm.
*All services available on Sunday*