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group of 24
nominees, Kyla Gutsche ac-
cepted the Peterborough Examiner
Women in Business Award this April.
Previously, in October, 2012, her com-
pany Cosmetic Transformations won
the Innovation Award at the Ontario
Business Achievement Awards. Guts-
che has also been identified by former
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty as a
leader in Ontario innovation. For over
a year now, Cosmetic Transformations
has been gathering local and interna-
tional recognition for doing revolution-
ary work in a very niche business:
medical and cosmetic micropigmenta-
tion. Micropigmentation is a form of
tattooing which can help restore the
features of those who have suffered
trauma and illness, or enhance features
of people wanting hassle-free semi-
permanent make-up.
Notwithstanding the very public
accolades that Cosmetic Transforma-
tions is receiving, what Kyla Gutsche is
doing with her company is very, very
personal. In her own words, Gutsche
began “…restoring clients’ futures and
confidence after experiencing both the
pitfalls and the benefits of the industry
While Gutsche’s journey into
business has been one of many steps,
her career has been impressive. An
Oxford- trained visual-arts professor
with an interest in medical illustration,
Gutsche was embarking on a prom-
ising academic career before cancer
turned her life around at the age of
During cancer treatments, Guts-
che experienced hair loss and also
areas of her body de-pigmented, par-
ticularly her lips. She enlisted the help
of both her medical team and later a
permanent make-up artist to restore
her facial features but the results were
rather devastating. “My medical staff
had the safety knowledge of medical
tattooing but not the artist-
ry,” she recalls. “and when
a permanent make-up tech-
nician tried to fix the work
they had the artistic skills
but not the safety.”
Gutsche ended up hav-
ing an allergic reaction to the perma-
nent make-up pigments which caused
such severe granulomas that they had
to be surgically removed, resulting in
disfiguring scarring.
Yet Gutsche put an
unexpected positive spin
on the unfortunate turn
of events. She became in-
terested in tattooing in all
its forms, and this interest
became a passion. She ap-
prenticed with plastic sur-
geons, micropigmentation specialists,
traditional tattooists and even pris-
oners performing illicit tattoos while
incarcerated, to research every facet
of the industry. She eventually found
a pigment company and a restorative
surgeon she trusted. After viewing the
copious drawing and ideas she had
developed of how to fix the damage to
her features, the surgeon was so im-
pressed with her tenacity and artistry
that he proposed that she apprentice
with him as a way to pay for the pro-
cedures she needed to restore her fea-