We recently spoke with Elizabeth Grant International’s VP of Creative, Margot Grant-Witz, about being part of a family dynasty, getting over angst, Jennifer Lopez and giving big.
Born in South Africa, schooled in the south of France and currently based in Toronto, Margot Grant-Witz is a citizen of the world.
As a child, she was reared in beauty, grace and style—her tiny feet in the training heels of her famous grandmother, Elizabeth Grant.
“My grandmother would always say to me, ‘people will do to you as you let them. But no one should ever tell you no except yourself’.”
Canadian-owned and operated, Margot’s grandmother, Elizabeth Grant, created her namesake company in 1958 as a skin care treatment line so that she could share the secret formulation she had created for her own skin.
Back then it was unusual for women to run companies. “Being a woman in business is hard work,” Margot reminds us. But through determination and perseverance, her grandmother took the company from a home-based small business to a multi-million dollar global corporation.
Today, Elizabeth Grant remains at the helm of the luxury skin care company, while daughter-in-law Marion Witz presides as President and Margot as Vice President of Creative at Elizabeth Grant International.
“I did not want to join the business when I was younger. I wanted to do my own thing but when I finished university, my mom said, ‘okay you’re coming to work with the company now.’ I remember being very angry at that.
But then I learned that I had more opportunities to lead and have a voice by joining the company. Once I got over that angst, I realized it was really a blessing.”
Margot began her career at Elizabeth Grant International in the public relations and marketing departments where she quickly excelled using her creative talents and natural business instincts, which injected the brand with an expanded customer base.
“When I first joined, I didn’t receive anything just because I was the granddaughter. In fact, I had to work harder, be smarter, be more humble. I had to earn it more.”
She spends a great deal of time traveling the globe promoting the brand and opening up new markets for the company.
“I call myself a living infomercial,” she laughs.
“We do everything on-site within the same walls which means I could be doing anything from meeting with chemists and our product development team, to dealing with our manufacturing staff on package design, to doing press interviews to overseeing our PR and marketing campaigns.”
During her first years at the company, Margot redesigned the company logo, created new product packaging, developed new and innovative products, and truly brought the business forward making it a recognized brand around the world.
“The higher you go in rank and in titles, the more involved you need to become with your business. I have to know everything from the science that goes into our products to how they look, smell and feel.”
“The higher you go in rank and in titles, the more involved you need to become with your business.” —Margot Grant-Witz, Vice President of Creative at Elizabeth Grant International
Margot also knows that attending festivals, charity galas, and society events are another important part of the business.
As a result, the company now boasts an A-list following including Jennifer Lopez, Blake Lively, Rosario Dawson, and Petra Nemcova to name a few.
“Regardless if it’s Jennifer Lopez or my next door neighbour, all our clients are VIP’s. All women are wonder women and we all want the same thing—to look great and feel confident. We sometimes get tired and the question for most women, celebrity or otherwise, is how can I not look tired?”
Her public relations acumen has resulted in Elizabeth Grant skin care products that are often heralded a ‘beauty favourite’ by top editors around the world.
Margot has a strong understanding of the international marketplace and an innate understanding of the importance of brand image.
She also has a keen sense of the real world around her and a deep need to give back. As part of her role at Elizabeth Grant, Margot oversees EG Cares, the company’s charitable division.
“My maternal grandmother would always tell me if you have two coins, keep one in your pocket and give the other one away. Not because of the accolades, but if you are kind enough to others it will make you grow as a person. If we can help, that’s very important.”
EG Cares has developed many charitable partnerships with organizations that assist women recovering from cancer and other diseases that severely impact the skin.
Helping women’s skin heal along with their bodies gives them the confidence they need to face the world anew.
Margot is also a volunteer with Look Good Feel Better, an organization that runs workshops for women battling cancer.
In order to further support their fundraising goals, Margot founded The Big Give, an annual fundraising event, to raise funds for Look Good Feel Better. In its hey day, The Big Give brought out over 600 guests each year and raised tens of thousands of dollars for Look Good Feel Better workshops and programs.
“It’s something that I did a few years ago and we raised about $200,000 for Look Good Feel Better. We had to take a step back from it but I’m looking to re-establish it in the near future.”
In addition to her day job at Elizabeth Grant International and her side-gigs in charitable fundraising and volunteering, Margot also sits on the board of the Canadian Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association.
One of the Association’s primary goals is to establish and maintain an optimum business environment that promotes Canadian industry’s global competitiveness through smart regulation.
“The CCTFA works on behalf of the government, agencies, and beauty and cosmetic brands to keep us up-to-date with trends and new regulations in real time. They’re able to let us know about all sides of new and emerging policies and changes within the industry.”
With her expertise in social media, marketing, and trend forecasting, Margot brings in an important viewpoint to meetings and championed various programs.
“Through the success of The Big Give, the CCTFA Foundation initiated the Mirror Ball to continue to raise money for Look Good Feel Better and cancer survivors. With what I created with The Big Give, they knew this type of event fundraising could be successful.”
As an entrepreneurial-minded woman, Margot is always looking for ways to make other women feel good, feel confident and empowered. Always wanting to keep the Elizabeth Grant brand at the forefront of beauty and skincare technology.
“In terms of beauty development, I want to reinvigorate the idea of beauty. I want to redefine the beauty industry.”
When asked about where she’d go if she could hop on a plane right now for a non-work-related trip, Margot excitedly replied: “Well, I’ll be travelling to Russia at least five times in the next 12 months.”
Then remembering the parameters of the question she quickly added, “Japan would be the best place for a non-work trip… Wow! You stumped me on that one!”