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Standard Interviews: Kristen Wood, founder of The Ten Spot Beauty Bar
Standard Interviews is a daily series that showcases the creative individuals that are making Toronto a better and more vibrant place to live.

It’s amazing what sharing a slice of pie with a friend can inspire in a person.

For Kristen Wood, founder of The Ten Spot Beauty Bar, it drove her into a sleepless night of creativity as decided to open her very own spa on Queen West. Now, her brand of anti-spa beauty bars are set to start popping up all across the country.

In four sentences or less, tell us who you are and what you do.

My name is Kristen Wood. I’m the CEO and creator of The Ten Spot Beauty Bars, a growing chain of upscale, “anti-spa” beauty bars. We specialize in manicures, pedicures, waxing and facials. We’re most famous, though, for our Brazilly waxes.

Where did the idea for The Ten Spot come from?

I was over at a friend’s, sharing a slice of pie with them when I had the idea of opening up a nail salon on Queen West. That night, I raced home and wrote my business plan, working on it until six in the morning. I created a logo, registered a URL and drafted my services menu. I took it all to the bank the next day to apply for a small business loan and then pounded the pavement looking for a space to lease. By the following day’s end, I had signed a lease and paid the deposit. I got the loan subsequently and, three months later, we were open for business.

What made you decide to start your business in Toronto?

I’m originally from Winnipeg, but spent most of my 20s moving around. I went to school in London, Ontario, then spent a year in New York, a couple years in Montreal and a summer in Paris. I finally settled down in Toronto and found that I loved it the most. It has the best of everything—cute boutiques, amazing cafes and restaurants and a lot of culture. Despite our long winters, there’s no better country to live in than Canada.

What’s the most challenging part of your job? What’s the most rewarding?

Tough talks are the most challenging. I dread having to have difficult a conversation with someone. Unfortunately, you can’t get away from them in any sort of business or personal relationship, and you can’t pass them off either. But they can also be valuable.

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 .

What does success look like to you?

My definition of success is feeling excited by what I already have and being inspired with where I’m going. I feel successful because I have an amazing son, who is my everything, and a great husband, who is always pushing me to become more. I’m inspired with where the brand is going and the awesome franchise partners we have. They’re taking Ten Spot to places I never imagined it would get to.

Is there a local neighbourhood that you identify with? What is it about that neighbourhood that inspires you?

Definitely Queen West. I love it there and miss living on the strip, I used to rent the apartment that was attached to our Queen West location. I love how it’s always changing and that more and more amazing places are popping up and yet it still keeps a bit of its gritty charm.

What do you love about Toronto? Why did you start your business here?

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.

What’s next for you personally and professionally?

More Ten Spots. We are expanding into the west coast of Canada. We’re also hoping to bring it to the U.S. by this time next year. We aim to be the Starbucks of the beauty bar world, and I hope to have a Ten Spot in every neighbourhood. Personally, I might try to get pregnant again and have another baby!

This interview has been edited and condensed

Igor Bonifacic is the managing editor of Toronto Standard. Follow him on Twitter.

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