Once upon a time, the business and entrepreneurial world was mostly dominated by men – flash to current day and we live in a world where women are CEOs, earning more than our SOs and generally, just kicking ass. Our next StyleProfile is on a woman who had a dream and turned it into something huge. Kristen Wood is the founder and CEO of one of Toronto’s favourite beauty bars, THE TEN SPOT, and was recently named one of Canada’s Top 100 Female Entrepreneurs by PROFIT, Canadian Business, and Chatelaine. We had the opportunity to chat with Wood about how she got started, her advice to entrepreneurs, and her favourite hot spots around the city – check it out below!
SD: Tell us a bit about yourself. What should our readers know about you?
KW: I was born and raised in Winnipeg. I left there when I was 17 to go to the University of Western Ontario (at Huron) and did a (useless) degree in Philosophy. From there I went to New York and did an internship (which turned into employment) at Vice Magazine, then moved to Montreal and did a degree in Graphic Design (which I loved). I didn’t parlé francais so I moved to Toronto at 23, worked as a designer for a while and a year later when I got laid off, I knew I needed to think of something fast – so over a slice of pie with a friend I thought of an idea for a beauty bar and alas, THE TEN SPOT was born. I started franchising about two years ago now and so what started as one spot on Queen West is now a small chain with 13 locations and rapidly growing.
SD: What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs looking to start up something of their own?
KW: 1000% just do it. It’s not just about the freedom to do what you want, when you want; it’s also the thrill of taking a leap and seeing what happens. THE TEN SPOT was literally an idea that I had over a slice of pie with a friend one night. It could have easily stayed as that. Instead it’s now a multi-million dollar company that employs almost 70 people and has grown into what will be 15 locations.
SD: What is the most challenging part of your job?
KW: The most challenging part is having ‘tough talks’. I hate conflict and unfortunately when you work with people you inevitably have to have to some difficult conversations. Also, reading legal documents. With franchising there are endless legal documents to review and I find it boring but they are so important, so you can’t just skim them. I find I have to make a coffee and get in the right head space to read them.
SD: What has been the most rewarding experience for you since opening THE TEN SPOT?
KW: The best part is when I tell someone what I do and they say, “Oh, I love THE TEN SPOT!” It’s such an amazing feeling to know that people are really in to something I created. It could have remained an idea in my head; instead, it’s this place that thousands of people visit every month, and that’s still mind blowing to me.
SD: What was the most challenging part of opening your own business?
KW: There are always countless challenges, some big, some small, some business and some personal. The thing is to just keep moving forward. I just try to keep my head down and keep doing what I’m doing.
SD: Finish this sentence: I love Toronto because…
KW: I love Toronto because it’s so alive, ambitious and exciting. There are so many cool people and places and things to do. You can literally have a new adventure every day of the week.
SD: If you hadn’t opened The Ten Spot, what would you be doing?
KW: I don’t really know – another business of some kind for sure…. Most likely I’ll have a few businesses under my belt before I’m done. I just get so inspired and excited about so many things.
SD: What are some of your favourite spots to visit in the city?
KW: My go-to treat spot in Toronto is a dumpling place in Chinatown – I don’t know the real name of it – but it’s the one with the Got Dumplings neon sign. It’s unreal how good they are. I also happened to fall in love with my (now) husband there.
SD: How can people stay in the loop of what you’re doing?