With 26 locations across Canada (12 of which are in Toronto), there’s a good chance you’ve been to, or at least heard of, The Ten Spot. Their newest location has just opened doors inside the Hudson’s Bay’s Queen Street location, and stands out like a shimmering jewel in its new home on the corner of Richmond and Bay. Just before opening the latest in a series of new locations that will soon be opening their doors, The Ten Spot also launched their first ever in-house line of skincare products. As big fans of everything The Ten Spot does, we couldn’t wait to catch up with the company’s founder, Kristen Gale, to learn more about her story and her business.
Business Name: THE TEN SPOT
Name & Title: Kristen Gale, CEO + Creator
Education: BA in philosophy and a degree in graphic design
Edit Seven: Tell us about your business, what do you do?
Kristen Gale: I’m the CEO + creator of THE TEN SPOT ®, the original beauty bar, born in 2006. At this stage, my focus is on brand oversight, development and expansion. my main role is making sure I’ve got exceptional people on my team (I do!) and a strong strategy to get to our vision of becoming the biggest and best beauty bar company in the world!
E7: How did you start your business? what inspired you to start?
KG: I got fired (twice)! I took that as a sign I should stop trying to work for someone else and start my own business – something I had wanted to do since I was a kid. so I developed the concept for THE TEN SPOT ® in one night while sharing a slice of pie with a friend. I knew that I could bring something new to the market, and got straight to work. I wrote my business plan in one night, submitted for a loan the very next day and had a lease signed just two days later. The rest is history!
E7: Why do you love what you do?
KG: It sounds corny, but our mission is to make everyone feel like a ten – and I love that we stand by it in every single thing that we do.
E7: What makes your business special?
KG: We’re the original anti spa ® ! Every woman knows what it’s like to feel icky in their local chop shop or like they’ve wasted their entire day at a higher end spa just trying to get their monthly maintenance done. We’ve got the best of both worlds – we fill that perfect niche, offering efficient but impeccable services in a gorgeous space.
E7: What have been some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned from running your business?
KG: I’ve learned enough to know that I will never stop learning – business is a journey and there’s something new to tackle every single day!
E7: Your business grew from one location to now having more than 25 franchised beauty bars across Canada. Tell us about what your journey of expansion has been like?
KG: 26 and growing! we have an additional 17 Canadian locations in development, set to open in the next few years and we’ve started working on plans to expand into the U.S. of A! Besides allowing for our amazing growth as a business, franchising has given me the opportunity to help create female entrepreneurs and empower other women to become business owners, and is something I’m incredibly passionate about. Being able to share in the growth and success of our franchise partners is incredibly rewarding.
E7: At what point did you decide to franchise your business? Was it always a part of your business plan?
KG: It wasn’t – I started the franchising business in 2012, which was a major milestone for us.
E7: What was the process like to turn your business into a franchise? What are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned about it over the years?
KG: Franchising is all about breaking things down so that you can understand your business from the inside out. we have policies and procedures for everything! if you’re going to do something, it needs a procedure so that it can be executed perfectly whether your team is in Vancouver or in Halifax.
E7: What advice would you give to a fellow entrepreneur who is interested in building or evolving into a franchise business?
KG: Make sure you have a strong team – franchising requires an understanding of your business and what makes it great, and ensuring that you can translate that into a successful model for your franchise partners. A strong team helps you to distill each and every part of what makes your biz amazing.
E7: You’ve just launched your first in-house beauty line for the first time. Why did you decide to create it?
KG: From day one (over twelve years ago!) our guests have been asking us for products as efficient, clean + trendsetting as our services. We are so excited about our new line of 10spot ® beauty! while we’ve always had an in house scrub and lotion, this iteration of it has that extra touch of luxe and we couldn’t be happier with the result. the real first-time milestone here for us is that our products are finally available to order online!
E7: What was the process like to create your own brand of products? Did you find it easy or challenging?
KG: A little of both; knowing what we were after was easy – something that felt high end and luxurious without being over the top expensive. Getting there was more difficult. We literally tested a trillion products and went through so many formulations before arriving at the final product sitting on our shelves (and on your sinks at home!).
E7: What makes the new products so special?
KG: Honestly? our signature scent. It is to die for! We worked with a local Toronto perfumer to get the blend just right and we can not get enough of it.
E7: Is there anything you wish you’d known before starting your business?
KG: Whew – that’s a tough one! if I could go back I would remind myself not to stress over all of the things that I can’t control.
E7: What is a challenge you’d tell future entrepreneurs in beauty business to prepare for?
KG: Embrace the change, baby! This is one of the core values we live by and it couldn’t be more true. In the beauty biz, things change so quickly. In order to be successful leaders of the industry you have to be prepared to build on change and face adversity.
E7: What’s the biggest lesson you learned from running your business so far?
KG: Business is one never ending to do list. As you tackle each task, you’ve got to be ready to move on to the next one.
E7: What is your #1 piece of advice to keep in mind when starting your own business?
KG: Hire a bookkeeper! It is one of the very first things that I did. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses is absolutely key – if, like me, finances aren’t your strongest suit, you need to make sure you have someone on your team who can back you up in that department.
E7: How do you stay organized, balanced and motivated?
KG: I use a lot of tech to help me navigate my day – we use Slack to communicate as a team and we use lots of project management software to make sure we’re on track! Staying organized is the best way for me to feel like I am balanced, motivated and ready to take on the next challenge.
E7: Who are some of your mentors/role models?
KG: Kelly McDougald is my mentor and coach and she is just the most bad-ass CEO I know. Watching her in action actually gives me chills and makes me realize how far I still have to go.
E7: Do you have a daily or regular ritual you practice that you love?
KG: Spending time with my son, jack – whether it’s us doing a craft, going on a mini adventure like treetop trekking or just snuggled up on the couch playing video games or watching a movie – he’s my favourite thing ever.
E7: Where do you go or what do you do to look for inspiration?
KG: Music. It seems a little ridic – but depending the moodI’m in it always gets me going – if I want to be really introspective, a little melancholy indie does the trick – or if I want to get pumped up there is nothing that a little Dr. Dre chronic 2001 album can’t do for me.
E7: What can people expect with the visit to a THE TEN SPOT® location?
KG: Efficient yet impeccably executed beauty services, in a spotless environment with a great vibe – totally unpretentious, cheeky and fun.
E7: Who is THE TEN SPOT client and why should they check out your locations and products?
KG: We see a lot of women ranging from early 20’s through to beauties in their 50’s, 60’s and each of them has a different reason why they love us! Who we see most of are female young professionals in their late 20’s and 30’s who love the trendy vibe, our awesome esthetics experts and our drinks menu! we promise clinical cleanliness and a timely experience so they can get back to their busy schedules feeling like a ten.
For more info on THE TEN SPOT, click HERE!
(Story by Editor-in-Chief, Gracie Carroll)