Desperate times usually call for desperate measures, but for The Ten Spot’s founder Kristen Woods, desperate times created an award winning franchise.
10 years ago, Kristen Woods was laid off from her job as a graphic designer when the company she was working for dissolved. She had been there less than a year and it was her first venture into the graphic design field. Wondering if perhaps this was a sign, she looked back on some advice her father had given her, “you can do anything, just make it a business”. He had taught her that entrepreneurship would allow her to flourish under her own guidelines and create the best life for herself. After years of trying out different career paths but never finding the perfect fit, she decided that this was her chance. In 2006, she sat down with a friend over a piece of pie and emerged with a business idea. 10 years later, The Ten Spot is in three provinces across Canada and has 19 locations, with more opening soon. This rapid expansion and amazing success story makes The Ten Spot this week’s #BrandsOnQ.
Hailing from small-town Winnipeg, Kristen Woods escaped her roots after university and headed straight to the city of dreams, New York City. While there, she spent her time working various jobs, from a magazine to a bar, but she still had that small town spirit. After her year abroad in the fast lane, she came back to her home and native land, ready to try her hand at something new. That lead her to a graphic design program, because in the back of her mind she knew that this would be beneficial for her future business, whatever that may be. After graduating, she got a full time graphic design job, inevitably leading her to the day she sat down for pie with a friend and changed her future.
Kristen instantly knew the niche market that she wanted to tap into. “I saw… a huge hole in the market. Spa options in Toronto were either high-end day spas that took too long and played whale music or at the other end very cheap and unsanitary nail places.” She took this as a sign and went home to draft up her business plan immediately. The early morning rolled around, the plan was finished and Kristen was more determined than ever. She went to the bank, got a loan and found her first location. Three months later the first “anti-spa” was opened on Queen Street West. The trendy location and innovative concept made The Ten Spot a quick success. Since then, she has continued to learn and grown, eager to expand her business and help other people experience the freedom of owning their own business. Franchising her company has let her fulfill this goal, and her rigorous standards and flawless business plan have ensured that every location of The Ten Spot is just as amazing as the first.
Becoming “the Starbucks of nail bars” is a large request, but one that seems entirely possible considering the success of The Ten Spot. To manage
this desire for constant and quick growth, Kristen has created “cute branding” that extends to every aspect of The Ten Spot, including her social media! With Instagram being popular among her target audience and the visual medium thriving in the beauty sphere, Kristen admits that she loves to use it to show off her brand’s personality. Gathering content from her loyal followers, as well as her partner brands, The Ten Spot has managed to create a dynamite Instagram account that reaches thousands. This has helped the brand expand across Canada. She has proved to be a genius with this social platform, understanding the potential it has to grow her client, collaborator and influencer network.
As a hugely successful entrepreneur, Kristen has gained many accolades in her journey. From being named one of Chatelaine’s top 100 female entrepreneurs to getting honoured as a semi-finalist for the RBC women of influence award, there is no telling where the next few years will take this determined Canadian. Some tips she’s learned on her way? That fortune favours the bold! She believes that you should get out there with your product and tweak the designs later, because there is always something to learn through each decision. Finally, she wants to make sure everyone feels their best: “We are now building toward a lifestyle brand that aims at making everyone feel like a 10.” And the best way to do that? Head out and help the The Ten Spot celebrate their tenth year!