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How Kristen Gale, CEO and founder of THE TEN SPOT, used franchising to optimize the growth of her company.
Written by Bay Street Bull staff
When the first bricks of any business empire are laid down, they are reinforced by a combination of factors that include a strong team of leaders, an outstanding product and service, and agility. At least that’s the case for Kristen Gale, who started her brand of beauty bars back in 2006 when she noticed a gap in the market for something that would combine high quality with speed and efficiency. Fast forward 12 years and she’s expanded THE TEN SPOT® to 25 locations across Canada with another 17 in the queue, along with a new vegan product line and plans to conquer the US market. It’s no small feat, but something she was able to do with the help of a franchising model. Here, the Canadian power woman shares her experience and advice on why franchising was the best business decision she ever made.
What does entrepreneurship mean to you?
To me, entrepreneurship is [about] freedom and thrill. You’re really able to create your own career and life. It has also led me to empowering other females to build their own lives and jobs through franchising. When I first opened THE TEN SPOT® at 24-years-old, I didn’t even think about the opportunities of empowering others but now it’s a huge part of what makes me feel so excited to come to work every day.
How do you think opportunities for women can be better improved upon in the franchising sector?
Franchising really helps to smash that glass ceiling for women. You’re not held back by anyone else as a business owner and your success is completely based on the work you put into your business. The corporate politics, which I hear about so often, are non-existent. You own your growth.
Where do you see the most benefits?
Franchising really helped THE TEN SPOT® brand grow across Canada in record time. Besides swift growth, I love a franchising structure for my business because I get to be in this with other people. When I was on my own, it was a very isolating experience. With franchising, you own your own business, but you’re not alone. I love that!
How has this business model allowed you to innovate?
With a large team of Franchise Partners on board, we can accomplish so much more and at a faster rate. Last year, after about a year spent on research, we brought in laser hair removal, and it launched with a huge amount of support from our beauty bar leaders (franchise partners and their teams.) We couldn’t have made the impact that we did without them.
A large hurdle for entrepreneurs and business owners is obtaining access to capital. How have you been able to navigate these hurdles?
The great part about franchising is that you have owners that invest in the brand to open their businesses; capital comes from franchisees. It really helps to accelerate growth.
In your experience, do you think people work harder through this model?
For sure. Our Franchise Partners own their own business, so their focus on topline revenues and profitability benefits them directly. It is truly a structure where success is based on meritocracy; they have full control on growing their beauty bar business (including expansion through multi-location ownership.)
Do you think it is more difficult to instil a sense of community and consistency with franchising?
I find that it is easier. Franchise Partners invest in the brand and our core values; they know that a franchise is most successful when it is a consistent experience for our guest. The feeling of community and culture throughout the system helps to build a consistent, profitable experience, so everyone wins. Our HQ hosts an annual conference where we all come together face-to-face for team building and strategy sessions. This is key to building our culture and my absolute favourite time of the year. We also have a Franchise Partner Feedback Committee and a Slack workspace, which helps us stay connected.
What is the best advice you can offer to those wanting to embark on their own entrepreneurial journey?
1000 percent, just do it. Whatever it is. If you want to start a business or ask for a promotion, you just have to do it. Your best-case scenario is that you get what you want. Your worst-case scenario is that you end up where you are now.
If you already have your own business and are considering to franchise, my best advice is to make sure your protocols and procedures are super tight. You should have every system on lockdown and have digital tools to help manage communication and projects. Without these, your franchise company could become a runaway train.
How do you define success?
[Success is] waking up excited every work day and anxiously waiting for Monday to get back to work.