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Business lessons from Canadian icon Lise Watier

Lise Watier shares a few memories from the start of her career, some professional wisdom, and what lies ahead.

Refusing to listen to naysayers, Lise Watier launched her eponymous brand at the age of 22, and with passion and creative vision built it into a global phenomenon. Stepping down from her management role in 2013, she now focuses her time on the Lise Watier Foundation, which is dedicated to empowering women to move out of poverty and become independent, confident, and fulfilled.

AS TOLD TO STEPHANIA VARALLI

Three words that describe me are…
Prove them wrong.

When I was first starting my company, I was…
Not expecting anything. I was just following my dream.

One memorable failure happened when I…
Hired the wrong person.

I got over it by…
Firing that same person.

My first job ever was…
Model on a weekly TV show. Once a week, fifteen minutes, and in those days it paid $26.

My first job taught me that…
I learned to go beyond expectations. I was earning $26 a week, but my mother, who was a buyer for her sister’s store, would always buy dresses wholesale, and she insisted that I would wear the nicest ones. It was my investment in myself. She would buy dresses that, in those days, were $100, or $125, even though I was earning $26!

The best mentors are…
Those who listen carefully before sharing their experience.

I want young women in my industry…
To go beyond, to dare, to put more energy in. Go beyond what is expected, and you’ll always climb faster.

The advice I most often give is…
Follow your dreams, and your soul will find peace.

I seem to surprise people when I tell them…
Jokes. They never expect it from me, but I can make them laugh a lot. I love jokes and I’m a very good joke teller.

I wish I could be better at…
New technologies.

I am excellent at…
Creating. A look, products, whatever—this is what I live for.

In my life, one thing that has helped me is…
All those that didn’t believe in me or didn’t believe in my project. It was an excellent motivation for me to prove them wrong.

Something I still want to accomplish is…
Helping women come out of poverty with my foundation.


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