When Susan Keane, owner of Cosmetic Boutique on Elm Street in New Canaan, wanted to provide additional cosmetic and medical treatments to her customers three years ago, she teamed up with Manhattan-based board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Elan Singer.
Singer specialized in injectibles, fillers, face and eye lifts, scar revision and torn earlobe repair. But demand for his services rose so much that the boutique's small treatment room started to become crowded.
Fast forward to March 2012: Dr. Singer's clients are now directed upstairs to the Aesthetics Center of New Canaan, which is equipped with a comfortable waiting room and a spacious procedure room.
According to Kean, the decision to expand was a natural one. "We listen to the clientele in town," she told Patch. "I do what my clients want."
A "Cancer-Driven Decision"
Cosmetic Boutique, which sells over 125 makeup and skincare product lines, and provides facial, waxing, massage and body treatment services, is the brainchild of Keane and her sister and began with a flagship store in Chappaqua, NY, where Keane lives. Following its expansion to New Canaan four years ago, a third location opened in Fairfield earlier this year.
But Keane's foray into the world of makeup and skincare isn't as glamorous as one might imagine.
In fact, Keane was practicing real estate and personal injury law full-time. (She still practices law on a part-time basis.) But it was her battle with an aggressive form of thyroid cancer that pushed her to try something completely different.
Following numerous surgeries and treatments to fight the cancer, Keane was told by doctors that she would never regain full use of her right arm and shoulder, which experienced bouts of pain and numbness.
She used sponge painting as her physical therapy, which is now reflected on the walls of her business. But it wasn't until the day that she was given a clean bill of health that the idea of Cosmetic Boutique came to her.
"That day, my sister, who was a makeup artist for Bobbi Brown at the time, and I went to lunch and it just came to me," Keane said.
"And my sister was doing my make-up a lot during that time so that I would appear alive and not as sick... I just wanted to find a way give back to the community."
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"We Did Something Right"
Keane attributes the success of her store on Elm Street, which has a team consisting of two nurses, two estheticians and two make-up artists, to its focus on educating customers as opposed to just selling them products.
"We're not sales-driven and we're commission-based," she said. "We're all about teamwork and we do our research to make sure that we're not selling anything that's harmful."
Since opening in New Canaan, Cosmetic Boutique has gained some new neighbors that also happen to be in the business of selling make-up and skincare products.
"When we arrived, only Benefit was here," she said. "Now there are five [cosmetic stores], but our clientele is very loyal and we've been able to expand and flourish during an economic downturn. It looks like we did something right."
When asked what one piece of advice Keane tries to impart of all of her customers, she told Patch that it's all about treating the skin with lots of TLC.
"You need to take care of your skin," she said. You can't keep covering things up with make-up. You have to know what [products] to use and what treatments your skin might not be ready for. You can't just buy a product because someone says to you 'Oh, this is great.' You have to find out why."