For our career series “How I Got My Job,” we’ll be talking to real people, working real jobs across a variety of industries. These people are pushing boundaries and have made their mark. They’ve found success on their own terms, and now we’re extracting their advice on how to carve out your own career path.
Kristen Gale, Founder and CEO of THE TEN SPOT has never shied away from hard work; after opening the first TEN SPOT location on Queen West in 2006 at the age of 24, there are now 28 locations and counting, making them one of the most recognized beauty bar brands in the country.
The goal of THE TEN SPOT is clear; make everyone feel like a TEN and from the moment you walk into one of their locations, that’s exactly what they do. From complementary espressos, cozy seating, and bright cheery staff, you instantly feel at home when you step foot inside.
Kristen has worked hard to ensure each location has a distinct home away from home feeling; read on to find out how she ended up landing the job of her dreams, what a typical day looks like for her, and how you can land a job just like hers!
First thing’s first, what was the first job you ever had? The job after that? And how did it lead you to where you are today?
One of the first jobs I ever had was waitressing, but after graduating from the University of Western Ontario with a degree in Philosophy, I left for New York and worked as an intern at Vice Magazine. I later moved to Montreal and earned my degree in Graphic Design, and then back to Toronto when I was 23 where I worked as a designer. I had always wanted my own business, but never felt like I knew what my idea was going to be. So over a slice of pie with a friend, I came up with the concept to start a beauty bar, which ended up being my first-born, THE TEN SPOT. Since then, THE TEN SPOT has been growing year after year and now we have 28 locations open and operational, and another 30 in-development with plans to move our brand to the U S of A.
What’s a typical day at work for you?
Every day is different, and these days I’m travelling a lot. Typically, I am up by 5am, working out by 6am, and out the door and ready to start my day by 8am! My day is usually stacked with meetings, phone calls, lunches and dinners. My main role is focused on expansion of the brand, vision and culture. I love what I do, it’s exhausting, but there isn’t a day that doesn’t have some excitement!
What has been the most fulfilling project you’ve worked on so far?
There have been so many fulfilling projects that I’ve had the opportunity to work with at THE TEN SPOT, but the most recent one is launching our 10spot laser services. We’ve been selling our laser service for over a year now and we’ve been seeing some amazing results! Our guests say they’ve switched from waxing to laser and have yet to look back. We have some more amazing projects up our sleeves, but this one has seen some fantastic feedback from both guests and our in-store esthetic experts.
In your time working, what do you think has been the most important thing that you’ve learned?
Where do I start!? If I had to pick one important thing that I’ve learned in this industry, it’s to take chances and to pay attention to the small details. Our brand has taken chances with new services and products, and so far we’ve seen a lot of success with them. Being in this industry, I’m now always looking for new and exciting opportunities to partner with local and international brands. We also try to pay attention to virtually every single detail in our stores, signs and social media pages; it’s the small details that can matter the most.
Creative industries are notorious for unpaid internships or pay via “exposure.” How do you feel about this? Are you for or against unpaid internships?
I’m totally and 100% for paid internships. Before I opened up our first location in 2006, I was an intern at Vice Magazine in New York City, which later turned into employment. My experience at Vice Magazine definitely taught me some useful skills, but I could not imagine working full-time for them while not getting some form of income. I believe internships can definitely be fulfilling and empowering for new entrepreneurs and future bosses, but it’s crucial that these interns within these industries get paid.
What’s your advice to someone looking to get into your line of work?
Just do it! I always believe in living your Plan A, because it’s more than likely that you’re already living your Plan B. So if you have the opportunity to live your best life ever, you need to take it! The beauty and wellness industry is constantly changing and growing, and right now is the best time to get into it. THE TEN SPOT is always looking for badass, female entrepreneurs to join our team in taking over the world (the beauty bar world, that is!)
When did you realize that you wanted to open additional TEN SPOT locations? Was this always part of the plan or was it a natural progression?
Opening up additional THE TEN SPOT locations has always been a dream of mine! I never realized how fast it would all go once we opened our first location in Queen West in 2006. We soon opened up a few more locations year after year, and in 2013 we began to franchise THE TEN SPOT—and after that is history! I can only thank my team and our amazing franchise partners for making this dream a reality. THE TEN SPOT wouldn’t be where it is today without our amazing franchise partners taking a chance on us. They are the real reason why our brand has been able to open almost 30 stores across Canada. Without them, we wouldn’t have been able to grow our brand at such a rapid pace.
What’s the best thing about working for yourself?
I love that everyday is a new challenge and opportunity to grow and learn. I find the traditional 9-5 job to be really difficult to work with, and I’m definitely not a structured individual by nature. I wouldn’t trade it for anything!
To keep up with Kristen and THE TEN SPOT, follow @thetenspot on Instagram.
All Images Courtesy Of: THE TEN SPOT
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