Spa franchise The Ten Spot will open a new flagship—its 19th location—at Toronto’s CF Shops at Don Mills on September 9. The chain, which has been named one of the country’s fastest-growing companies by Canadian Business, is celebrating its 10th anniversary, as well as revealing a brand refresh.
Inside The Ten Spot’s newest location, at CF Shops at Don Mills in Toronto
At 1,900 square feet, the new space will house a retail section with lacquers, skincare and more, stocking Get Nailed (the in-house polish line), Essie, OPI, The Brow Gal, Dermalogica, Sunbum and Merben International, plus Canadian brands Hand Chemistry, Lovefresh, Kaia Naturals and Miracle 10.
It’s the first location to feature The Ten Spot’s new look, including a refreshed logo, a streamlined orange and grey palette, and updated fonts. As the largest location to date, the flagship will offer the full menu of 30-plus services, with a focus on nails, waxing and facials.
The Ten Spot’s founder, Kristen Wood, opened her first location in 2006 on West Queen West, aiming to bridge the gap between pricey upscale spas and speedy but cheap nail salons. Then just 24 years old, Wood went after a millennial clientele, serving cocktails alongside manicures and using cheeky lingo like Handjob and Bumkini to describe the services at her “anti-spa.”
In 2013, Wood opened her business to franchising opportunities, a decision that resulted in rapid growth. Now, with 19 Ten Spot locations throughout Ontario and on both coasts (in Charlottetown and Vancouver), she has her sights set on expanding into Quebec and eventually the U.S. Wood’s successes have earned her a spot on the PROFIT/Chatelaine W100, which recognizes Canada’s top female entrepreneurs.
Kristen Wood on the cover of Canadian Business’s October 2015 issue. The Ten Spot was ranked one of Canada’s fastest-growing companies, based on five-year revenue growth of 362 percent (2009-2014)
On the eve of The Ten Spot’s flagship opening, Cosmetics caught up with Wood to chat industry trend-setting, connecting with clients and the brand’s future growth.
You founded The Ten Spot at age 24 after studying philosophy and graphic design. How did you make the transition into spa services?
I [thought] it would be so dope to have a cute little store on Queen Street. When I lived in New York, I lived above a nail bar and it was so busy. It was one of those crappy “chop shop” ones, and I was like, Why doesn’t somebody do this awesome, where it actually isn’t sketchy but clean and the people are nice, and you could go with your girlfriends for manis and pedis before brunch? So that’s what I did.
What were the biggest advantages and disadvantages of not having a traditional spa background?
I was all about branding, marketing and getting the space looking cool and neat. I knew what I wanted from a client perspective, and not being in the industry helped a bit. I think I would have been in a box, if I had known a manicure is traditionally 45 minutes. Because I was more business-focused, I was like, No, no, no, this should be 30 minutes. Nobody wants to be there for 45 minutes to get their hands done. If my background had been in aesthetics, I would have been more about keeping within that existing paradigm.
What was unique about The Ten Spot when it first opened?
The landscape in Toronto was definitely either the “chop shop” kind of thing or the high-end spas. There wasn’t really anything in the nail bar or beauty bar market at the time. When we opened, combining the best of those worlds and leaving out the undesirable parts struck a chord with people. From a low-end side, we were efficient and way more casual, with more reasonable price points. From the high-end market, we took the cleanliness and the great guest chairs, and left out the whale music, the stuffy robes and the all-day appointments.
When you first opened, what was your target demo?
Somebody like me, in their mid to late 20s or early 30s, a busy professional who doesn’t have all day to spend doing these services. Somebody who gets value and the importance of health and safety, but who still wants a place that’s fun, where she can get in and out and have everything done—and done well.
How did you reach your future clients?
I used my own voice to market my business. Using humour and speaking authentically gained us some [media] attention. Also, Queen West was really up-and-coming, and because we were so new and different, we gained a cult following quickly. [Hiring the right people made] the overall vibe of the place really exciting as well.
What’s next for The Ten Spot?
Now we’re at the 19th location at Don Mills. We’ve got four more opening [locations and dates TBA] and we’re working on a deal to do 10 in Quebec, mostly in Montreal. We have plans to go into the States, but we’ve held off because we want to get at least 50 in Canada before we move our focus.