As Chatham-Kent continues to see a growing local population with more people choosing to either return or move to the region, business owners are seeing new opportunities to service the increasing demand. Stephanie Laforet identified this opportunity just prior to 2020 and took steps to launch The Esthetic Studio, her new salon business focused on providing a variety of high-quality beauty and spa treatments.
“It’s been a real rollercoaster of a year with the challenges brought on by COVID, but I had a vision and despite all of the challenges, I knew I would make it happen,” said Laforet. “There has been a lot of work, planning, and time dedicated to getting the studio setup the way I want it, and I was so happy to finally open my doors to the public after the lockdown ended.”
In speaking with Laforet, she indicated that there were times that her dream almost did not happen, especially when she was working another job, dealing with provincial shutdowns, and trying to overcome other unexpected hurdles.
“I almost gave up,” said Laforet. “But, I had people helping me along the way and encouraging me to take small steps every day. I have big plans and even though I am working to see those dreams come true, I know it’s going to take time.”
Laforet added, “Now that I’m here it’s really exciting to be open. I love my studio. It’s my space, setup for the care of my clients. I love to help people, that’s the purpose of my business.”
Laforet has over 10 years of experience in the beauty industry and has a passion for working with clients and helping them both look and feel their best inside and out.
“It’s all about wellness. My customers are looking for ways to look and stay younger, and they are also coming to my spa to de-stress and relax,” said Laforet. “The entire experience from the moment a client walks in the door, through their personalized care, and all the way through to the end of their session will leave them feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.”
As part of the development of her new business, Laforet connected with the experts at the Chatham-Kent Small Business Centre for help. With a combination of the team support, expertise, and dedicated training offered through the Starter Company Plus program, Laforet was able to build a solid foundation for her business.
“Stephanie has done an outstanding job developing her business, including creating a solid business plan that looks at what it will take to be a success today and for years ahead,” said Doug Robbins, Economic Development Officer with the Chatham-Kent Small Business Centre. “As she worked through the Starter Company Plus program, it became evident that she was a strong contender for the $5000 grant component. She took the business training to heart and in the end was successful because she made a compelling case.”
“The program really made me look at my business plan and how I was going to make my business work,” said Laforet. “I soaked in as much of the training as I could and really paid attention during the sessions because it not only had my head turning with ideas, but grounded me in what I could do today and plan for tomorrow.”
Laforet has put the grant funding to good use in her business with investments into equipment, tools, and other vital materials. However, it is not all about the money for Laforet. She is also active in giving back to the community through a variety of volunteer and charity work.
“I volunteer with several groups, including the Chatham-Kent Women’s Shelter and Ashely’s Angels in Tilbury, to provide spa treatments for people going through a difficult time. After all, everyone deserves to feel good in their own skin,” said Laforet. “It’s also part of my mission to make sure to incorporate local products and services into my work, and I’ve been able to source some of both which has been wonderful.”
For people looking for more information on the Starter Company Plus program, including the training, mentorship, and requirements to enter the program, please visit www.investck.ca. For more information about The Esthetic Studio, including booking an appointment, you can call them at 519-784-2064.
Marketing and Communications Officer
Economic Development Services, Community Development
Municipality of Chatham-Kent
124 Thames Street, Chatham, ON N7M 5K8
Phone: 519-352-8401 x2039