“Feel the fear and do it anyway” balances with financial savvy and strong support for Sooke business owner Gwen Fisher
Gwen Fisher, founder and owner of Pure Elements Hair Design and Body Works, was born an entrepreneur. It’s not always been easy; but the rewards keep her working with her passion. Gwen’s advice to other entrepreneurs focuses largely around financial responsibility and a strong supportive network. Equally meaningful is the entrepreneurial drive to work for two groups separate but related groups: the customers, who experience Gwen’s passion, and her employees, who experience her commitment.
Living and breathing the entrepreneurial experience
Gwen, who loves loves cutting hair, has been in the salon business for 34 years.
“I owned a salon/spa in Alberta for 11 years, then since 1996 I opened Magnolia’s and worked at home with other stylists and estheticians until we out grew our business and formed Pure Elements on Goodmere Rd.”
Pure Elements will be entering into its ninth year of business this June, “and we are starting to see the light.”
When asked if she was born or made an entrepreneur, she answers: “I came out a leader. It has been so long that I’ve been self employed I forget otherwise honestly.”
The rewards are many: “I love it, I get to make decisions, and keep a standard of consistency.”
Gwen draws strength from two key sources: her parents and her husband. Gwen has always had an entrepreneurial framework, having grown up in an entrepreneurial family. Her parents offered their support, experience, and trust.
Her husband Ed provides sweat equity and support, believing in Gwen’s vision and her ability to deliver.
“They call it sweat equity,” Gwen notes, recalling his contributions with renovations, gardening, computer repairs, and maintenance to mention but a few. “I think he is waiting for the real equity, but he is very patient.”
Staying motivated[sam_ad id=”57″ codes=”true”]What keeps her motivated? That’s easy. Her staff, and her clients.
Gwen’s salon employs eight people, all of whom are the primary income earners for their families.
“This is a huge responsibility,” reflects Gwen, “So things like benefits, and a positive, busy work environment are key.” As an employer, she is committed to “keeping a long standing work relationship with my staff.”
The other big reward is the clientèle. “We wanted our guests to arrive and instantly feel at home,” states the websites. “The biggest reward is watching guests leave happy,” adds Gwen. Their commitment to the customer satisfaction is best summed up by their two-word mission statement: Loving Kindness.
There are many challenges, especially given that Sooke is a commuter town.
“The biggest challenge is our lack of infrastructure in Sooke, but we will see some changes maybe in the next ten years,” reflects Gwen. The lack of a downtown flow, lighting, and even snow removal when it’s needed poses challenges. “It’s hard enough to build a business in a commuter town, but with the lack of flow in Sooke its even harder.”
Words of advice to other entrepreneurs
Given the challenges, her central advice to other entrepreneurs is to stay on top of your finances.
“Follow a budget,” she advises. “Be sure that when you open your doors that you have the stock and image you want right off the hop. First impressions are huge. It’s the reason you get or don’t get a second visit from your customer.”
Her other words of wisdom include:
- Never bad mouth other businesses to your guests, keep it positive.
- Hire a great bookkeeeper.
- Stay open minded, if one aspect of your business does not work, change it. Be diverse.
- Know your strengths and limits.
When asked if she would do it all over again, the answer is short and to the point: “I would do it all again. We only grow from mistakes and learn from them.”
And this last point, growing from your mistakes, runs through Gwen’s key message.
“Feel the fear and do it anyway! That is my motto, otherwise fear holds us back.”
– Britt Santowski
- Pure Elements Hair Design and Body Works
- Website: pureelementsspa.com
- Phone: 250-642-6452
- 6689 Goodmere Rd.
[sam id=”1″ codes=”true”]