Career change: Bill Baker

Why the ad exec went into the skin care game.

Daniel Ehrenworth for Canadian Business

As told to Denise Balkissoon

I came by skin care honestly. I had spent 20 years in advertising and marketing, working with brands like Microsoft and CIBC at companies like Saachi & Saachi and Publicis when, in 2005, I started getting dermatitis. A co-worker gave me some natural products to try. I couldn’t believe how quickly my problem went away, for good.


It was around then that I began researching skin-care ingredients, and what I learned shocked me. It’s crazy to eat healthy and go to the gym and then slather yourself in products that are loaded with methyl paraben and dimethicone—ingredients that are banned in food but get absorbed through your skin. But the natural products on the market were always in stereotypical brown packaging. They didn’t feel indulgent to use. So that was the idea: healthier products that had the cool factor women look for. I was in my 40s at the time and at a pretty senior level. The next step would have been general manager of an agency. I wanted to do something meaningful—professionally and personally.

As luck would have it, I went to high school with a guy who’s a cosmetic chemist. We started with soaps and lotions. The barrier to entry is lower, but those customers are promiscuous. They go from brand to brand, looking for nice-smelling stuff. We quickly moved on to skin care, which people take more seriously.

Now we’re sold across the country and have a flagship store in Toronto, where we offer books on nutrition and seminars on aging skin. It’s the best business move I made. I definitely see us expanding our retail footprint.