Tips For New Canadians Who Want Their Own Businesses

Kapila Spa owner Candida Layman shares her story:

“I came to Canada and opened my salon ten years ago. It was a real adjustment. I am still adapting.” Those are the thoughts of Candida Layman, owner of Kapila Salon and Day Spa in Windsor, Ontario. “In the Dominican, where I am from, going to the spa is part of life, not something reserved for weddings and graduations.”

Finding adequate resources was also a challenge for Layman. “There just weren’t that many resources, especially for us women, to get a business started. I was bringing what I knew from my own country and that didn’t work. In the Dominican, the customer is everything. It is all about customer service. In Canada, you get more of a ‘service isn’t my department’ approach. It is very hard to get used to.”
“I love what I do,” Layman continues, “in three hours I can transform a person. And it costs a lot less and is less invasive than plastic surgery.”

Layman, who has years of experience in the hospitality industry in the Dominican Republic admits she found changing professions and countries a bit challenging. And now, she has the additional responsibilities of being a wife and mother to two young children. “It is difficult to juggle everything.”

Tips for immigrant women wanting their own businesses

1. Be clear about what you want

2. Have a well crafted marketing plan

3. Set your goals based on what you know you are capable of achieving

4. Watch the response of your market

Things won’t be exactly the same as at home. You have to be able to be flexible in what you offer. Without a market willing to buy what you are selling, even the best plans have to be changed

5. Be prepared to do it on your own

Layman provides salon and spa services as well as keeps her facility immaculate, then manages the business, markets the business, and coordinates her family’s activities

6. Be true to yourself

7. Be very organized

It will help a lot when you are challenged by everything coming at you

8. Be willing to continue to develop your skills

Candida attends four trade shows per year and participates in at least six days of professional spa and styling development to ensure she is bringing new trends to her clients

9. Customers are your number one priority

Candida brings the same styles and products to her small city clients as those who have salons in New York, Chicago, and Europe

10. Accept that each country has its own way of doing business and if you bring the best of what your country offers, you will have your niche.

Candida Layman runs Kapila Salon and Day Spa


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