Bringing natural back to beauty
Audrey Hepburn was once quoted as saying that “the beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman is seen in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides. True beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It’s the caring that she lovingly gives the passion that she shows and the beauty of a woman only grows with passing years.”
I was reminded of Hepburn upon a recent meeting with Wallis-born Jacqueline Piotaz; a woman and a brand, a unique personality who combines brilliant concepts with passion and generosity.
Piotaz exudes the confidence and charm that one would expect from an entrepreneur–and with good reason.
As a young girl in an agricultural setting, she found herself tucked away in the valley, ever longing to discover the world beyond the things she knew. “My grandmother,” explains Piotaz “was a governess in luxury hotels such as the Bürgenstock in Lucerne and the Montreux Palace. It was the stories she told of the rich and famous from faraway places that gave me the impetus to spread my wings. It helped that I was very interested in languages. After commercial studies, I left for London, did my proficiency in English and worked for real estate company and CBS. It was an extraordinary experience.”
Piotaz later launched a new career with the global management consulting firm Mc Kinsey, and it was there that her professional path took a turn as she began to lay the foundations for a successful vocation in the beauty business. “By pure coincidence, a colleague of mine had been denied a job at Swissair. I thought to myself that joining the Swiss national flag carrier would be an interesting challenge and, before I knew it, I was hired.”
It was then that her caring personality burgeoned, and within a few years she had been promoted to a purser and instructor and given the responsibility of training crew members on the aircrafts and later becoming responsible in the particularities of etiquette and savoir vivre and beauty training for flight attendants. “The exposure to the world I had always dreamt of became a reality and it was a key moment in my life. Also, the constant exposure to cosmetic training from the companies that supplied Swissair enabled me to set the standards that would become my own,” she explains.
As Jacqueline Piotaz began to unveil the story behind the man who changed the course of her life – both professional and personal – our conversation took a new and light-hearted turn.
It was some twenty-five years ago when her then fiancé, a well known coiffeur who ran the salon at the Hotel Baur au Lac, the historical luxury establishment in Zurich, made her an offer to partner with him that she could not refuse.
“As always, I did not take this proposition lightly. If I was to meet the high standards I had set for myself, I had to know this industry inside-out. I obtained a master’s degree in cosmetology and some five years later, was recognized as an international examiner for beautician certification.”
Ever the businesswoman, Piotaz added beauty product distribution to her scope of activities over time but though customers and friends often commented on her deep understanding of the industry, she felt no need to launch her own line of products. And then an unexpected nudge. There came a day when she was perusing an article in the American press telling of Michelle Obama’s secret to youthful looks: a rare Swiss apple with an exceptionally long shelf-life.
Piotaz was intrigued.
With a twinkle in her eye, she tells the story of the inception of her line of cosmetics: “I am a country girl from a farming area surrounded by majestic mountains like the Matterhorn, by valleys abundantly rich in vineyards, trees and flowers. When I heard of this apple – the Uttwiler Spätlauber that originates in the Canton of Thurgau – I decided to take a closer look. I called upon the expertise of a close friend who had recently retired from La Prairie laboratories and we got to talking.”
It didn’t take me long to see the possibilities of combining my love of nature with my interest in cosmetic innovation,” she continues, “and despite any initial hesitation on my part, I decided to focus on the creation of my own line of cosmetics.”
Within months, Piotaz had identified a perfect partner: a Swiss research laboratory with a broad experience in the area of plant stem cells research. She also found a renowned laboratory in the mountain in the Valais and with their help, she set the basis for the Jacqueline Piotaz care concept. Much has been said on the therapeutic potential of stem cells, and the entrepreneur was quick to see an opportunity. She concentrated on three basic ingredients, all of Swiss origin: the Spätlauber apple, the Gamay grape and the Alpine rose.
“My years of experience in the field led me to conclude that consumers expect effective results and quality from cosmetics, and that they rapidly see through clever marketing ploys. I decided that if I were to associate my name to a brand, I would only do so if I could combine innovative biotechnology with natural ingredients of traceable Swiss origin. I insist on the Swiss element because it reflects my determination to develop. It is also perhaps the reason why I decided to launch operations to coincide with the Swiss National Holiday on August 1, 2012.”
Barely a year after the inauguration, the Jacqueline Piotaz line has grown in leaps and bounds. She has voluntarily kept her basic line at a manageable number – just five products – due primarily to her own frustration. “So many brands tend to flood the market with numerous types of overlapping cosmetic care products that even we professionals have difficulties to find our way through them. Imagine what the unsuspecting customers have to face!” But of course there will be a few more products and a couple already in the pipeline, she added smiling.
In the company’s literature, Jacqueline Piotaz signs out with a most elegant “May your dreams come true for a timeless beautiful skin.” It would seem that the young girl from Wallis has come close to having her own dreams fulfilled.
The secret behind the brand
Each of the five Jacqueline Piotaz products contains the combination
of three plant stem cells. Extracts of the Uttwiler Spätlauber apple, the Gamay grape and the Alpine rose; and for maximum efficacy, each formula has been supplemented with additional active complexes and further high concentrations of ingredients.
This innovative formula cleanses the skin deeply, but gently. It cares for and protects with exclusive active ingredients such as allantoin, phytosqualane, organic edelweiss, organic honey and vitamins B3 and E. It leaves the skin feeling as soft as velvet.
Soft Peel Tonic
This energising two-in-one toner has a gentle exfoliating effect thanks to a combination of five plant and fruit extracts. It supports cell regeneration and the natural functions of the skin with active substances, such as organic edelweiss, vitamin B3, polysaccharides and Swiss spring water. The skin looks smoother and tighter and is now optimally prepared for the next step.
Energy Booster Serum
This highly concentrated serum stimulates, firms and vitalises the skin instantly and noticeably. Expression lines and wrinkles fade away and features look relaxed. Organic edelweiss, hyaluronic acid, vitamin B3 and pullulan increase the skin’s moisture levels and have a smoothing effect.
Advanced Eye Care
This unique eye cream is rich in valuable ingredients for fine, sensitive and stressed skin around the eyes. A combination of allantoin, caffeine, D-panthenol, grape seed oil, hyaluronic acid, organic edelweiss and natural vitamin E, add radiance and brightness to the eyes.
24-hour Power Cream
This effective day and night care refines the skin, makes wrinkles fade and offers intensive moisture and protection. The cream’s antioxidant and moisturising formula supports skin regeneration and an exceptional combination of organic edelweiss, macadamia nut, vitamin E and Swiss spring water, gives a youthful, even, and silky radiance to the skin.
Article by Raymond Langley