An exclusive series by Carolyn Grisold that profiles female entrepreneurs in Toronto
Business Name: Fuzz Wax Bar
Owners: Florence Gaven, 30, and Jessica Frampton, 27
Type of establishment: Aesthetics
Neighbourhood: Queen West
Address: 701 Queen Street West
Closest major intersection: Queen and Bathurst
Hours of operation: Monday to Friday: 10 a.m. to 8pm; Saturday and Sunday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
How did you come up with the business name?
Spending hours staring at a paper with a long list of names, we always found ourselves coming back to Fuzz. It seemed on par with the brand and the atmosphere that we wanted to create. It was important for us to have a name that we could have fun with.
Did you work in the beauty industry previously?
We have absolutely no background in business, or even in the spa industry. [Jessica was in event planning and Florence in the movie industry.] We learned a lot during our eight months of market research prior to opening Fuzz. Although we’re proud to say we’ve achieved our goal of opening the business, we’re still learning every day.
When did you decide to become an entrepreneur?
We were both freelancers, so we were never interested in working for a company 9-5. Starting a business was always in the back of our heads, but we were just looking for the right opportunity. So we would probably say it was a calling to become an entrepreneur and a choice to start being one with Fuzz Wax Bar.
How do you feel about the work/life debate?
It can be very difficult to separate the two when you’ve put so much time and effort into a project. It’s even more difficult when you truly love what you do and believe that you can take it further. So we think that even if entrepreneurs want to get away and take a break, their mind can never truly be away from their business for too long. We’re still a young company, and still really excited about Fuzz so that also makes it hard to even want to separate life from work.
What steps do you take to maintain balance?
Our mental and physical health is very important to us. Yoga and working out is a must! We have also become really good at separating our personal friendship from our work, so that means that we try not to talk too much about Fuzz over a glass — or two! — of wine. Another must is travelling, and that has been a great advantage with there being two of us [running the business]. We always make time to get away as much as possible!
What kind of challenges did you face when you first opened?
The main challenge for us was the risk in opening Fuzz Wax Bar. We were opening a concept that had yet to exist in Toronto at that time. [Pairing this] with no prior salon or business experience made our market research and realistic expectations very difficult to evaluate. Since our opening, other wax bars have popped up in the city, so it’s safe to say we started a really great trend.
Why did you choose to locate your business in the Queen West neighbourhood?
We got really lucky with Queen West. We had only seen about three other spaces when we were driving by and spotted the lease sign. We immediately stopped, asked the current tenants if we could take a quick peek and left knowing that it was the one!
How does the neighbourhood’s small business community support one another?
The Queen West crew (which includes a lot of the business owners in the area) is awesome. All of us go out of our way to help promote each other through social media and our events, and give back whenever opportunity comes our way.
What do you wish you knew when you first started out?
A bit more about the industry we were getting involved in. But, after extensive hours of market research, we quickly realized how easily we could educate ourselves.
What have you learned that has been the most surprising?
We are surprised with how far our passion and drive alone got us to where we are, and how supportive and willing others were to help along the way. Do it with passion or not at all.
What do you love most about being an entrepreneur?
We both love the challenge. We also love that the growth and success of Fuzz Wax Bar is solely dependent on our decision-making, which makes the outcome a lot more gratifying. And of course we appreciate the perks of making our own schedules and being our own bosses.
Could you imagine being anything else?
Absolutely not. Being an entrepreneur is addictive. We love this adventure that we’ve created for ourselves. We’re still a very young company and have lots to look forward to.
Carolyn Grisold is a contributing writer to various print and online publications (Post City Magazines, Toronto.com, Gallery Magazine, Argyle Magazine). Follow Carolyn on Twitter @CityandCharm. To suggest a female entrepreneur, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.