20 Questions For Kristen Wood: Ten Spot Founder And Woman We Love
Kristen Wood was a graphic designer itching to start her own business when she came up with the idea for The Ten Spot, an anti-spa spa that merged quality manicures in an affordable, low-fuss environment. The time span between her inspiration and actual opening? Four months. Now that's entrepreneurship in motion! We caught up with Kristen on the eve of the launch of a new location of her successful salon in Toronto's Forest Hill neighbourhood and got her to answer our 20 questions.
Tell us a little bit of your company story. What inspired you to start The Ten Spot?
It was after brunch one Sunday and my girlfriends and I were wondering what to do next. I had the idea for all of us to go and get pedicures but then realized there wasn’t really an ideal spot to go to.
We didn’t want to risk it and go to a chop shop and we weren’t in a position nor had the inclination to drop a bunch of cash and spend the day at a spa, separated in solitary rooms wearing white robes all day.
Realizing there wasn’t an alternative gave me my first hunch on what I thought might be a great idea. I fleshed out the concept with a friend of mine over a slice of pie, then raced home and wrote my business plan until six in the morning. That night I registered my domain name, got my new email, created my logo and then sent it all off to the bank the following morning.
That Monday afternoon, I walked along the Queen West strip and picked out the block I wanted to be on. By Wednesday, I had signed a lease for a unit there. That night, I put in a few phone calls to my closest friends who connected me with a contractor, corporate lawyer and designer. About four months later I opened up for biz!
Who is your ideal customer, and what kind of experience do you want them to have?
My goal for each of our guest is the same as what I wanted for myself all those years ago -- to give awesome services in an unpretentious, fun and most of all, clean environment.
If you couldn’t do the work you're doing anymore, what would you do?
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.
In your fridge right now, you would find...
White cheddar cheese and homemade spicy pickles - my go-to snack (with taco chips on the side).
On Saturday mornings you can find me...
Trying to sleep in past 7:30. I have an nearly three year old son and so he’s on a pretty regular clock, it’s tough to get him to sleep in.
Salad, fries or half-and-half?
Half and half, fo sho.
Are you a morning person or a night owl?
I’d love to be a morning person, I find if you’re up early you can almost get a full day in before 10am but I am totally inclined to the night. If I don’t put myself to bed I can be up on my computer working away until 3am before I even realize it’s late.
If you had to eat one cuisine for the rest of your life, it would be?
Good ol’ Canadian meal: meat / potatoes / corn on the cob / pie
Best words of advice you’ve ever been given?
High risks, high rewards.
What is your supermom skill?
My back rubs and back tickles - It’s like I have a gift.
What’s your mom kryptonite, the thing about your kid that leaves you in a puddle?
I do this thing with my son where I point to a bunch of places on my face where I want him to kiss. I start off pretty basic (right cheek, left cheek, forehead) but by the end of the game I’ll point to a dozen spots -- and he gets it right every time and pretty much in the right order. He takes it so seriously and it just kills me.
End this sentence for me: I can’t start my day without my...
Snuggling my boy. Usually it irritates him a bit but I just can’t help myself.
Did you have a nickname in school and would you share it?
Not really. But I was usually referred to by my full name (at the time) Kristen Gale, which was odd since there wasn’t another Kristen is my class, so I’m not sure why the last name was always included.
Haircut you most regret?
I got such a bad one at my last haircut that was so super short, I had to change the entire way I dressed in order to compensate for it. I added a ton of product, flipped my part to cover the butchered bangs and punked out my outfits so the short choppiness seemed intentional. In retrospect I totally rocked it, but my ‘edgy phase’ didn’t start out intentionally.
Fashion era you most admire?
The 1950s. I could watch about 1000 YouTube videos on how to rock vintage style. Some people get crazy with their hair and I totally admire it but at the same time feel like all that curling / priming / pinning is a bit of a waste because they are going to have to sleep on it or wash it in just a matter of hours.
How many lipsticks are in your purse right now?
About five that are in heavy rotation. I love reds and brights.
Beauty trend you can’t wait to be over?
Pointy nails actually. Just not my thing.
Beauty trend you wish more people were into?
Sadly my brain is only thinking of horrible trends (men wearing headbands, juicy velour jumpsuits). I guess maybe gold chains, really thick heavy gold chains for everyone!
App you can’t live without?
Anything made by Google (Google Keep, Google Drive, Gmail) and Uber -- the cab one. It is totally awesome. It makes me wish I took more cabs.
Ideal vacation spot?
Paris / New York