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This article was published 17/11/2017 (1305 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Although she’s able to point toward plenty of other success stories in Brandon, there’s no denying that Heather Day’s business enterprise is a source of inspiration for other local businesswomen.
Granted, it’s an inspiration for businesspeople in general, but she goes above and beyond in connecting with fellow women in the local business community, through both formal organizations and impromptu meetings.
"We’re out looking to improve and change and support women," she said, adding that this sentiment goes both ways, in that she also finds inspiration in many of the women she meets.
In keeping with her family legacy of entrepreneurship, Day spent approximately one year working at someone else’s hair salon before striking out on her own, and has been her own boss ever since.
Born and raised in Brandon, she headed down to the United States for studies after graduating from Vincent Massey High School, but quickly returned to dip her toe in the waters of entrepreneurship.
Love at first sight, she ended up plunging in, owning and operating different salons, including Fringes and Straight Up Salon, before settling into her current operations.
These current efforts include Daydreams, an all-encompassing beauty and wellness centre, and H & Co Academy, a combination hair and aesthetics academy with locations at 603 Princess Ave. and 80110th. St., alongside Daydreams; a building she opened earlier this year.
Her enterprise currently employs approximately 25 people, but Day said that while there are long days keeping everything running smoothly she doesn’t find much time to stress out about her obligations.
In fact, she’s already thinking about her next project.
Setting up these businesses was not easy work, and the path to success has come with its failures.
The purchase of a large house she went into with her sister, Lady of the Lake owner Bridget Shaw, with the intent of turning it into a conference centre was one such failure, in that it got hung up in zoning and they weren’t able to proceed.
Even so, she’s reluctant to refer to it as a failure and instead shrugs it off as "lessons learned."
She said that she’s always taken a "just-do-it" approach to business, whose underlying question is always "why not?"
A "risk-taker" by nature, she said that she always does whatever she can to forge ahead.
With her new space at 10th Street, it took visits to several lending institutions before she found one —Sunrise Credit Union — that would agree to support her vision.
Earning accreditation for the school was another major hurdle that took a great deal of work, but was another effort that she said was worth the hassle.
Now, she has a base of approximately 30 students, from whom she can pick the cream of the crop to bolster her own business’s workforce.
Daughter-in-law Lindsay is poised to take over as sales director and her youngest son Kolby will take over office operations, freeing her up to take on the next big project, or projects.
She’s joining forces alongside a group of like-minded businesswomen for this project, she said, adding that it’s too early to share much more at this point.
Cathy Snelgrove said that businesspeople supporting other businesspeople is one of the best means of bolstering the local economy as a whole.
Snelgrove is a founding partner with Siere, a local business advisory and high performance coaching company.
She said that close friends and family tend to be agreeable and supportive, and that reaching out to a wider base is a better means of bouncing ideas around and gaining more constructive criticism.
"Make sure that you have a really good idea before you put time and energy and money into it," she said. "You need to get out there and network."
Walking up to others who have businesses of their own is the best means of doing this, Snelgrove said, adding that a little guidance can help make "the whole process of starting a business a lot easier."
Day said that she recently had an entrepreneur stop by to pick her brain about starting up a business, and before they knew it they’d talked themselves through the evening.
Day is also a member of a local Lean In Circle chapter; a group of businesswomen who meet on a monthly basis to discuss their experiences and support one another.
After approximately a half-hour of discussing her career, Day took a moment to reflect on how odd it is to summarize one’s life in such a concise manner.
"I just move forward," she said, bashfully admitting that her life summarized thus far sounds pretty great.
Still, she’s more excited about what challenges her next big project might bring than anything else.
While she has found some financial success, she said that it’s never about the money; it’s about facing and meeting the many challenges that inevitably come up with entrepreneurship.
» Twitter: @TylerClarkeMB