“I felt like everybody else knew what I didn’t know. … I felt that by admitting I didn’t know, I would admit I’m a fraud. But I found through talking about it, I knew more than I thought I did.”
Kristen Wood is the CEO + Creator of THE TEN SPOT® Beauty Bars, Canada’s fastest growing beauty services company with locations across Canada.
Starting with a single store in Toronto’s then up-and-coming Queen West neighbourhood, THE TEN SPOT® has become one of Canada’s beloved brands, channeling Kristen’s edgy, honest humour and commitment to excellence. She has won three separate entrepreneurial awards, including the PROFIT/Chatelaine W100 Top Female Entrepreneurs award from 2014 to 2016.
Did anything finance-related surprise you when you first started your business, the Ten Spot?
When I started my business, I was 24 years old and knew nothing about finance. So, I hired a bookkeeper. But I soon discovered that that wasn’t enough. I felt like I didn’t know what I was doing and found myself lacking confidence when it came to reading financial statements. I just didn’t understand the lingo and buzzwords. I decided it was time to stop hiding and dig in. I went online, read blogs, watched videos, looked up definitions, and built a resource library for myself. But it was still hard to keep it all straight. So, I made infographics, charts, and reference materials – things I can quickly look at to remind myself how to apply what I’ve learned.
In your experience, have you ever had a feel-good, women-supporting-women moment?
My biggest inspiration is my CFO, Laura. She’s not only run my company’s finances for the last 12 years, she encouraged me when I wanted to learn about her role and understand my financial statements. Essentially, she took me under her wing. We would meet up every week to talk about finance. And during those sessions, she would help me calculate different ratios and ask me to explain certain topics. It really helped me get a handle on things and feel confident about my business. I think that when women take the opportunity to help each other, it’s a win-win because someone gets to learn and someone gets to teach, and both parties get to feel good about themselves.
Is there a piece of advice that has changed the way you think about your business and personal finances?
In the beginning I felt like everybody else knew what I didn’t know and that by asking questions, it would seem like I didn’t understand my own business. I assumed I should know what most finance terms meant. And that by saying I didn’t know, I would admit I was a fraud. So, I would hesitate to ask questions. But I’ve learned that sharing information with people allows you to find out exactly how much you know. And, it gives you the opportunity to discover that you know more than you think you do.
Someone told me recently that the best time to start saving was 10 years ago, and the second best time to start is today. It inspired me to confront whatever was intimidating me – to dig in and figure out what I needed to focus on. I’ve realized that the longer I avoid it, the more I’ll doubt myself. So, I’ve become comfortable with just starting and learning about anything.
As told to Cara Lau exclusively for Stnce. We make taking financial ownership approachable and relatable.