How she started the company and where she plans on taking it

Lydia Sarfati, CEO and founder of Repêchage, is continuing to expand what started as the one and only Four Layer Facial and a 12 sku product line to what is now a skin-care empire. There have been changes over the years, in location, in number of employees as well as an expansion. 

Sarfati speaks about her motivation to continue providing results-oriented skin care, and also shares what inspires her and her many accomplishments along the way. She gives way to an overall view of a successful life from raising her family to her family joining her workforce. Catch a glimpse into the life of a CEO with an around-the-clock schedule, a world travel itinerary and get a first look at the transcontinental Repêchage collaboration launch of Sarfati’s second brand, Kanshi.

Where did you start your career in skin care? 

I started my career in New York City in 1972 as a makeup artist and skin-care specialist at Lamêe Cosmetics on Madison Ave. at 72nd Street. I did blending of loose powders and foundations and as the only skin-care specialist there, I offered skin consultations and makeovers. Individual lashes were the rage and I was able at one time to do a full set in 30 minutes. From there I went to head the skin-care department at ANN Skin Care Salon on 57th Street in New York, before opening my own Skin Center in 1977 under the name Klisar Skin Center. The Truth About Skincare was the first booklet we published, teaching simple knowledge, like how to cleanse your skin correctly and how to prevent aging. 

What inspired you to create Repêchage?

What inspired me to create Repêchage, meaning a second chance, was that more salons wanted to offer facials, but didn’t have qualified estheticians to perform treatments and achieve perfect results. I created the Repêchage® Four Layer Facial® to fill this need. Thirty years later, it is still the number-one choice treatment for professional salons and spas around the world.

What continues to inspire you to lead the industry with innovative skin-care solutions now?

I am continually inspired by the testimonials that I get from clients around the world. I am inspired everyday knowing that what we develop makes a difference for the beauty professionals and the results we obtain are awesome.

What is the difference in size, products and services offered by Repêchage from then until now? 

When I launched Repêchage, we had only 12 products. It was the Four Layer Facial® and products for dry skin and oily/combination skin. In 1980, I began the company with three employees and a lot of volunteers like my public relations specialists who helped me understand the importance of a story. 

What benchmark achievements have you accomplished along the way? 

Along the journey in the last 30 years, there have been many accomplishments, but the ones that are close to my heart is being able to raise two beautiful daughters, offer them a great education, being able to work with my husband, David, for the past 16 years, having one of my daughters join the company 10 years ago and to continue to inspire young professionals to be the best and to enjoy what they do.

In today’s world of big corporations that function strictly without emotional attachment to anything, it’s nice to get up every morning with a smile knowing that we have helped the world to be more beautiful. I know that if I have helped only one person to live better, I have succeeded in life.

Ten years ago, we took a plunge and moved from New York City to Secaucus, New Jersey, to be able to manufacture in the U.S. It was a huge undertaking, but I must say we never lacked courage. Taking risks is in David’s DNA, so we stretched and pushed and accomplished our dreams. Today, we have a full research and development team, production and shipping facility, as well as a teaching academy. We earn the appreciation of our clients on a daily basis. We work hard and have a team of dedicated professionals to help achieve the daily goals.

How did you end up writing a book?

When I decided to write my book, Success at Your Fingertips, it was because I really saw a need. So many salons offering skin care were unsuccessful. I wanted to put it in writing; how I did it and how I will continue to do it. The fundamentals are there.

How did you come about launching Kanshi? 

The Kanshi brand was born out of a need to develop a high end, affordable skin-care line for salon and spa use and to recreate the spa experience at home. With our partner Dzigbordi Dosoo, we have launched in Ghana and Nigeria in 2010 with plans to launch it here in the U.S. at our 30-year anniversary celebration event Aug. 2 and 3, 2010. Kanshi will bring a new dimension to the beauty world and Repêchage will continue to innovate for the future. 

For more information on Repêchage®, visit www.repechage.com.

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