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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Margot Grant Witz of Elizabeth Grant

Margot Grant Witz grew up as a student of beauty and style. Her grandmother, Elizabeth Grant, is the founder and CEO of luxury skin care company Elizabeth Grant International. Several years ago, Elizabeth welcomed Margot into the company as the head of the Public Relations and Marketing department.

Hailing from South Africa originally, Margot now calls Toronto, Canada home. Before moving to Toronto, Margot graduated with an international business degree from the prestigious Grenoble Ecole De Management in the south of France. Now, she spends a great deal of time traveling the globe promoting her namesake beauty brand and opening up new markets for the company. Like a true citizen of the world, Margot considers Manhattan her heart; New York City is her home away from home and travels to her favorite city on a regular basis.

Margot is a wonder executive for the company. At 24, her instincts for the business have injected the brand with a new customer base and has resulted in a product that is often heralded a ‘beauty favorite’ 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. Over the last year, Margot has redesigned the company logo, created new product packaging, and found a promotional face to take the company forward. Margot has just completed directing and heading up all creative aspects for a new campaign and photoshoot with the company’s cover model, Israeli model Hofit Golan.

Margot also knows that attending festivals, charity galas, and society events are another important part of the business. Margot brings the Elizabeth Grant brand to the red carpet with style and class. She spends time with celebrity clients and works hard to build and maintain those relationships. As a result, the company now boasts an A-list following with fans such as J.Lo, Rosario Dawson, and Petra Nemcova among others.

Nevertheless, it’s not all business and networking for Margot. She has a keen sense of the real world around her and a deep need to give back. The charitable division at Elizabeth Grant ‘EG Cares’ is also run by Margot. EG Cares provides education and gifts in-kind to non-profit and charitable organizations. Recently, Margot spent time in workshops for women living with cancer and gave them Elizabeth Grant’s Rejuvenating Serums with Torricelumn™. Margot recognizes the importance of feeling good about oneself and positive thinking while going through treatment.

From the moment Margot took her first step, her grandmother had her practicing in ‘training’ heels. Today, Margot continues to be by her grandmother’s side as they build the luxury brand that is Elizabeth Grant Skin Care.

Peachy Deegan interviewed Margot Grant Witz for Whom You Know.

Peachy Deegan: How did skincare influence your upbringing?
Margot Grant Witz: It did in a lot of ways. It made me more aware of how I presented myself. From a very young age I was taught the importance of taking care of your skin, and how easy it can be. That it was not just a cleanser and off you go—but that cosmetics and skincare go hand in hand. It only became trouble when my love of the sun and tanned skin came to be known by grandmother. Unfortunately for me, the tanning days are done. The last time I was more then sun-kissed was 6 years ago! Lucky for me, I pull off sun-kissed and alabaster skin very well!

How would you compare South Africa to Toronto to Manhattan? What are the best of each?
Wow—now this is a tough question to answer! They are very different places and all have very different mentalities. I think that South Africa is a country immersed in nature and nature is immersed in the country. There is a respect and and understanding that the world isn’t just about the city you made, but it’s the road that you built to take you from where you were to where you are. Africa—it’s gorgeous, amazing, undefined and rough.
Toronto—Is a very business orientated city, it needs a little more soul to it. But the interesting part of Toronto is how multicultural it is. Every culture here is recognized and has its own part of the city for their community. However the city as a whole honors each culture. There is no melting pot here!
Manhattan—Is my heart. It’s the city that never sleeps, the city that has a respect for its past, but a place that is spearheading towards its future. Manhattan isn’t afraid of risks, culture or art. It is a place where the life meets business. No one skips a beat. E.B. White once wrote, "New York, is the concentrate of art and commerce and sport and religion and entertainment and finance, bringing to a single compact arena the gladiator, the evangelist, the promoter, the actor, the trader and the merchant."

Since you live in Canada, we assume you like hockey just as much as we do at Whom You Know. Who are you picking for the Stanley Cup? Whom You Know readers need some direction as the Rangers just lost in Game 7....
To tell you the truth, I am a habs fan! Sadly they got booted out of the playoffs, but it’s ok! I think that when you are picking a playoff team you have to be faithful to either your team or to the sport. But if you are wondering what my thoughts are? It’s a tough one this year. Out of the West it’s going to be Vancouver. Out of the East, I’d say Boston or Washington. At the end of the day, I would say Boston vs. Vancouver and Vancouver to win the cup!

What is your absolute favorite skin product and why?
In my line, it would be the Biocollasis eye cream! AMAZING. I never get to sleep and I travel so much, I really should look terrible. But this is THE best if I want to make sure my eyes don’t look how I really feel.

What mistakes are most common in skincare?
1. People think the more expensive brands are the better brands. Such a mistake. Your skin doesn’t care if the product is $20 or $400—it cares about what is right for it. Everyone is different and reacts differently to products. People don’t know what their skin type is. I love it when someone says, “oh I have normal skin” no one has normal skin; there is no such thing! Learn about your skin, listen to your skin and take care of your skin. The trick of learning the proper regime and the right products? To understand your skin.
2. People don’t drink enough water! HYDRATE HYDRATE HYDRATE!
3. Tricks to a younger skin? Is taking care of your skin when you are younger! Younger people take their skin for granted, and we are all guilty of it. From falling asleep after a late night out (before taking your makeup off) to remembering to put on SPF. The younger generations never think we will get old. But we sadly do, it’s the nature of the beast.

What do you enjoy most about working with your grandmother?
Everything, she makes coming to work fun and teaches me so much. The best part though, is she makes me work. I have to earn my place here with ideas and concepts. Which means, I know she thinks they are great ideas because they are great, not just because I have Grant in my name.

What is your favorite place to be in NYC?
Everywhere and anywhere. The city is the type of place that as long as I have my ipod on, the streets are a great place to roam, as you never know where you will wind up or with whom. That’s the best part of NYC it’s a giant neighborhood that you bump into old friends and new friends everywhere you go.

What is your favorite shop?
I don't have a favorite shop, because I just like to shop! My one component to a good clothing shop is individuality. I love clothing, but I don’t like seeing 5 people wearing what I am! I like any home furniture and home decor shops. I like being creative in my world –colors, textures, price, and “different”. Frankly classic chic with a little bit of funk are my go to’s for buying anything.

What is your favorite drink?
In the summertime it’s a toss up between a great Mojito and a glass of rose (what can I say, I lived in France, of course it’s a must!) All year round? A great glass of wine.

What is your favorite restaurant?
Also a tough q—I love, love, love food! So for a night out with the girls, Buddha Bar or Morimoto. For on the go I have no time to eat lunch? PrĂȘt A Manger. (DELICIOUS I was SO happy when I found it outside of England). The best though is that cupcakes are a food group in NYC. I am a big fan of baked goods (cupcakes, cookies hello?) so Levain Bakery + Crumbs of course.

What is your favorite NYC book?
As in about the city? Never read one. The city is my book. But in the sense of the city playing an underlying character? —Catcher in the Rye

What is your favorite thing to do in NYC that you can do nowhere else?
I am a night owl so the fact that I can go out from 1am on is fantastic! It’s the city that never sleeps you can do anything 24/7 which to me is amazing! You can do whatever you like, regardless of “closing times”. One of my favorite things to do in NYC is after an event (while I am in black-tie fashion) wind up either in a greasy spoon diner at 4am or find myself dancing on rooftops overlooking the city’s skyline (in a gorgeous dress of course).

What do you think is most underrated and overrated here?
Underrated: The people. Everyone has a conception of NYC’ers being tough and mean. Hell they are tough ones, but seriously some of the most determined and approachable people I have met. Their drive is like no other and ability to balance is one of a kind to NYC’ers
Overrated: The forced scene here. I appreciate that there are the go-to places to be seen, and to eat etc etc, but the city has so many hidden gems, go explore! And frankly if it doesn’t say “ NY #1 _____” usually it’s a good bet.

What else should Whom You Know readers know about you?
I always have an amazing story to tell because life is meant to be full, lived and enjoyed! As long as you can eventually laugh about the consequences. At the end of the day, no matter what the situation… I will just make it work!

How would you like to be contacted by Whom You Know readers?
Well since we live in the world of social mediums (that are all connected to my blackberry)—feel free to use what you are most comfortable with.

1. Twitter margotgrantwitz
2. Facebook margot grant witz

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