Customer complaints, we love them!!!

I know I know, I can see your reaction as you're reading the title of this blog, the confused quizzical look on your faces.  

This blog idea came from a conversation I had with a friend a few weeks ago. She was telling me she had a product that wasn't the right colour, but the item was a year old.  I asked her why she didn't bring it back?  She replied "Well, one of the staff picked it out for me and I didn't want her to feel bad so I just didn't use it and left it in my bathroom on the shelf."  

My reaction, as she is cutting my hair, was "So if I don't like my hair cut today I shouldn't tell you, then go somewhere else to get my hair cut? Or I'll just share the disaster with all my friends ?".  

And you know what her reaction was? "Of course not, you have to tell me!".  

Why is it any different when I have the problem or complaint? 

We humans are all very similar in that we don't want to hurt someone's feelings.   We run around frustrated and mad or disappointed because we are afraid of speaking up.  Keep sharing your positive experiences of course,  but remember sharing the negatives can create change and better your experience the next time around for you and others.  

The whole point of this blog is to give you the other side of the complaint equation, from our point of view.

I get comments and feedback like this all the time:

  • I feel bad saying something
  • I don't want to get anyone in trouble
  • It's not that big a deal I just won't go back
  • I am frustrated and not sure what to do
  • If I complain then I can't shop there anymore
  • I should have said something sooner
  • I should have brought it back sooner
  • If I switch estheticians then it will offend the other girl

I could go on and on but you get my point. 

I'm guessing that everything listed above could have been solved easily without anyone's feelings being hurt, and you would have left feeling heard and satisfied. 

I love to receive a compliment when I do things right, who doesn't? It makes you feel good, you feel validated, it makes your day. On the opposite side a complaint can make you feel bad and having to voice it, feel even worse.

However, if we don't know, we can't fix it. When we know better, we do better, and that my friend can build a better experience and business for both of us.

Posted on October 27, 2016 .

Let Me Introduce You to the Team

To some of you we are like family, you have been our clients since we opened in 2003.  For others, we are brand new to you and you haven't got to know us quite as well yet.  Here's a little introduction to who we are and what we do when we are here.  


Ashlee Williamson

Administrative Assistant and Inventory Control

She's the gal who keeps things under control behind the scenes and can answer all our questions about everything that happens here.  She is a delight to be around and looks forward to helping clients and staff any way she can.  She is a definite gem!  We are all happy and grateful that she joined our team.


Wendy Ellingwood

Make-Up Consultant

Sales Associate


Wendy has been with us for 11 years and has worked several years in another MN studio before joining us here in Rothesay.  She is very much family to us here at Boutique Zekara and loved by her clients she has worked with over the years.  She has extensive knowledge of Merle Norman Products and is an expert in makeup application.  Her love of fashion and great eye for detail and style have made her a favourite with many of our clients.  She extends her great flair and talent into the merchandising side of the business and does an excellent job creating enticing displays within the shop every week.


Elaine Wilkie

Sales Associate

Personal Assistant

A true loyal and dedicated employee who looks after all of us.  She's the "mom" of the shop.  Always willing to go the extra mile making sure nothing is forgotten and everything gets done.  To her clients, she will make sure you get the best possible service and throw in a few tips about travel as that is one of her favourite things when she's not here with us.  Her love of people and eye for what her clients like make her a wonderful asset to our team.  We are lucky to have her here at Boutique Zekara and Merle Norman.  Elaine's clients appreciate her expertise and look for her when they visit our shop.  She's also been known to sew on a button or two, and fix and mend when necessary.  Not sure how we would get on without her.  


Donna McCue

PT Sales Associate

She's the gal that you will have a few laughs with.  She is the friendliest person I have had the privilege to know.  She will give you great service and chat up a storm.  You are in great hands with Donna and she will certainly make you feel welcome.  Normally Saturday is her day at the shop as this is her "play job" as she likes to call it.   Those who love her will wait to visit the boutique until Saturday just to be able to shop with her.  


Lindsay Atherton


Lash Tech

Make Up Artist

Lindsay is one in a million and we are so lucky to have her.  She is such a special part of our Merle Norman family and has been with us for 11 years. She's a perfectionist in her field and also known as the best in the city for Lash Extensions.  Once you have had an appointment with Lindsay you are hooked. She is caring, compassionate and extremely accommodating to all her clients.  Book your appointments in advance with Lindsay as she is in very high demand. Thankfully she has brought someone on board who is her protégé and is following in her footsteps.  Born and raised in the same community, they grew up together and are now working side by side.  


Lexie White


Lexie joined our esthetics team and was immediately accepted and welcomed by our clients  It feels like she has been with us forever.  With such a warm and delightful personality clients look forward to spending time with her.  She is a pleasure to be around.  When the opportunity presents itself, I sneak in to have a pedicure or manicure with her and come out feeling totally pampered.  


Donna Williamson


I am your host of this blog, as well as owner of Boutique Zekara and Merle Norman.  A background in retail management and my love of all things fashion related lead me to fill a need of a missing niche for woman here in the Valley.  



Posted on October 21, 2016 .

They're back!!

Just when we got used to skinny and straight leg jeans,  the fashion “gods” decide it’s time to bring back the flare.  I have to admit, I do love the look. 

 There’s definitely something sexy and feminine about a pair of heels peeking out from a wide flair leg on a pair of trousers or denim.  

Enjoy the new look this season!

Posted on August 4, 2016 .

Got 3 Minutes to Feel Better? Guest Blog by Catherine Doucet

Busy. I hate that word. Yet it’s true. We are all so busy, between work commitments, looking after our families, and our roles in the community. 

Where do you fit into your priorities?

As women, often our commitment to ourselves is the first thing to fall off of our to-do lists. Yet if we want to do our best, our self-care needs to become a priority too.

What part of self-care is missing in your life?  Do you need time for silence? Do you want to eat healthier foods? What fills you up?

Like you, I’m a work in progress. One of the first things to go for me when I’m overwhelmed is taking time to put on makeup in the morning. It makes me feel better, and it only takes three minutes. Powder, mascara, lipstick, and I’m out the door. It gives me that lift that even caffeine can’t provide. 

Maybe makeup isn’t your thing. That’s fine. How can you spend three minutes making yourself feel better?

You could spend those few precious minutes removing the worn or outdated fashions from your closet. You could devote three minutes to finding your favourite jeans or dress to wear today. You could fix that broken nail. You could fill up your water bottle to make sure you drink enough water today. Or you could spend it in sweet, sweet silence doing nothing.

I can’t tell you how to find that three minutes to do something for you. I can only tell you that you are worth it. You deserve the care and love of your most prized possession. You deserve to be happy. You deserve to focus on your own goals. And who knows? Maybe your renewed journey all starts with just three minutes of self-care.

Catherine Doucette, BPR, MEd, CTDP, is a Training and Performance Consultant who makes a measurable impact on organizations by delivering customized business communications, leadership, and training for the trainer (facilitation, learning styles, etc.) programs in the classroom, one-on-one, and

Posted on July 28, 2016 .

Killer Accessories

It can make or break an outfit!

Know what you love and what suits your personality.

For me, my jewellery choice depends on my mood. Most times I love chunky, dramatic, over the top, quality pieces. Other times I like cheap and cheerful pieces, and sometimes I go for simple and elegant.

Sometimes I come across a piece of jewellery in my cabinet that I haven't worn in awhile and will create an entire outfit based around that item.

Then there is my go-to piece of jewellery that I could put with just about anything and it looks fantastic and I always feel great with it on.  It’s the piece that I paid a lot for, but every time I put it on I feel sexy, elegant, as well as perfectly accessorized. This piece will take a simple cotton T-shirt and jeans and dress it up or make a simple cotton dress look expensive and well put together.  It has probably been the best jewellery investment I have ever made. I wear it more often than any other piece in my jewellery cabinet.  It's my Myka bracelet, shown below.

Swarovski crystal bracelet by Myka Designs

Swarovski crystal bracelet by Myka Designs

So the next time you’re trying to decide if you should buy that piece that speaks to you, but you're questioning the price, remember how it makes you feel when you are wearing it and ask yourself, "does it work with most of what's in my closet ?".  It could be a pair of stunning earrings, a unique neck piece, or a fabulous bracelet, if you will wear it again and again then it's an investment worth making.  

I’ve had certain outfits, that without my go-to piece, do not look or feel the same. 

More than once I’ve arrived at work and needed a punch of something to jazz up my outfit. I carefully select a killer necklace and of course it totally changes the look of my outfit from drab to fab, only to have a client come in a few minutes later, comment about how much she loves it, and then wants to buy it.  That my fashion Divas, is a tough call.  Remove and sell the necklace? Ruin the carefully put together outfit?  Let go of the treasure?  

Of course!  I sell it to her and she is thrilled, but my outfit has now lost its pizazz and I’m back to the drawing board to re-create another look. 

So if you love it, and it's really you, then don’t leave the shop without it.  Make the investment in you and your wardrobe.  You won’t have any regrets.

Share some of your favourite no regrets jewellery purchases with us. We love to hear your stories.  We all have one!


Posted on July 21, 2016 .

The Beautiful Secret of Mineral Powder and the Sun

I am one of those women who doesn’t like to go bare faced — you know au naturel to the beach or anywhere for that matter.

When I’m boating, spending time on the beach, or driving in a convertible, I have to have my foundation.  Not just plain old sunscreen on my face.  Here is why, because now I can have both. Even skin tone coverage and sun protection with just one product.

Several years ago I did a lot of boating with my kids and brother.  A ton of fun,  but it also involved a lot of sun and we all know what damage the sun can do to our skin. The same year Merle Norman came out with a new product called Purely Mineral Makeup.  Like all new products I was excited to try it out.  

This is what I discovered.  Mineral powder is an all natural sun protector.

It’s all I used that summer.  And guess what?  It protected my face perfectly. I applied several layers to get the coverage I wanted and off I went.  Afternoons spent on the water with lots of rays and I was totally protected.  Its the zinc oxide in mineral powder that gives us natural sun protection.

No burn or any trace of sun when I removed my make-up at night.  It became my new favourite product, sun protection and no bare face on the beach or boat.  Mineral Powder made me one happy girl.

Purely Mineral Makeup: It’s pure and simple! Good-for-your-skin coverage begins with this loose powder foundation made exclusively of pure minerals. Free of preservatives, it buffs on smoothly for build a flawless coverage with a healthy, luminous glow. 

Zinc Oxide is sometimes referred to as the only safe sun protection available. It protects from the full spectrum of UVA and UVB rays, incredibly effectively, all by itself, making it truly the best natural sunscreen ingredient available.


  • mica
  • zinc oxide
  • titanium dioxide
  • iron oxide

Our skin care consultants can show you the proper way to apply mineral powder. It’s easy and only take a few minutes.


Posted on July 14, 2016 .