The 10 Spot

No fuss, big-apple-style salon woos urban professionals with its anti-spa approach

There is no appointment necessary. Forget about having to show up 15 minutes in advance. And don’t expect to find jets in the pedicure tubs. Doesn’t sound like your typical spa? It’s not supposed to.

In fact, The Ten Spot has worked hard to become the antithesis of the traditional spa. The Toronto-based salon—which among other things offers free WiFi and television in almost every room—is not about serenity and relaxation.

“We’re an ‘anti-spa’ beauty bar, meaning we deliver impeccable services in a hip and funky, über-clean, cool environment,” says Lisa Kozoriz, managing director at The Ten Spot Inc. “Most of our service areas are set up in a social way, so that guests can come sit with friends or saddle up to a stranger. It’s all open concept and guests are encouraged to chat, watch a movie on our flat screen, or open up a laptop.”

Admittedly, the New York-style boutique spa doesn’t take itself too seriously, as plainly evidenced on its website: “Screw ‘relaxation’…this beauty and grooming boutique is all about a funky and fun experience.” Kozoriz sums up the mantra of The Ten Spot: it’s all about being efficient, thorough, and getting the job done well.

A cross between a spa and a lounge, The Ten Spot features concrete, chrome, and exposed brick. A long, industrial, shared manicure table (concrete and stainless steel) accommodates several clients at a time. Pedicure banquettes are white subway tile and stainless steel, while the facial bar features signature green barber chairs. Brightly lit, the urban salon is also adorned with flat screens and cheeky spa signage, says Kozoriz.

“We’ve gone for a sleek, clean space to compliment our service style. It’s an informal atmosphere where guests can come, have a great service with friendly care and not feel intimidated,” she adds.

It was the modernity of New York and Montreal that inspired The Ten Spot’s approach. Drawing from her time living the high life in the Big Apple, as well as Canada’s fashion capital Montreal, and eventually Toronto, owner Kristen Gale launched the first beauty bar on Queen St. near Bathurst in the summer of 2006. The Ten Spot has since expanded with a Leslieville location.

A nail salon first and foremost, The Ten Spot also touts a specialty in Brazilian waxing. Kozoriz says they have perfected the application technique, which uses two types of wax. “Plus,” she adds, “with DVD players in each of our waxing rooms, the guests get to focus on the last season of The Office rather than the pain!”

Kozoriz says they like to use (and retail) products with a conscious, and wherever possible, ones that are made in Canada and by women entrepreneurs. LoveFresh, for instance, is an all-natural and made-in-Toronto brand of scrubs and lotions used in The Ten Spot’s manicures and pedicures. “Most of our products are vegan, all natural, or at least paraben-free.”

A Facial Bar—the first and only one in the city—allows for a no-nonsense, customized facial for up to three or four guests (in individual custom barber chairs) at once in a communal setting. “With our unique facial bar set up we are able to have two aestheticians working on a guest at the same time. It’s perfect for our busy urban professional clientele,” says Kozoriz. The most popular treatment among its scene-setter and go-getter customers, she says, is The Works, a full facial, manicure, and pedicure all done in one hour. The Ten Spot also offers gent grooming, with services like The Hand Job (manicure for men), The Foot Job (pedicure for men), and Man Brows, she says.

“In our print and online publications we try to be a bit cheeky as well as irreverent in order to keep things fun and funky. Even our service names have a sense of humour.”

A 10 Spot newsletter includes promotions, discounts, current happenings, and exclusive invites. Clients can also take advantage of The Ten Spot, Ten Club Card (key tags available)—with the purchase of nine services (manicures, pedicures, Brazilians, and facials), clients receive the tenth one free.

The Ten Spot is also hoping to bring its unique approach to the nation by offering franchise opportunities to similar-minded entrepreneurs. Its business model is designed to be easily replicated, addressing areas such as site selection, supply chain, cost control, build-out timing, marketing, and buzz creation.

“We are the package deal,” says Kozoriz. “You get the best of both worlds—efficient, reasonably priced services of the lower-end nail salons with the outstanding cleanliness standards, and impeccable service execution of a higher-end spa. Our friendly, inviting and a touch cheeky vibe doesn’t hurt either.”

The Ten Spot was named one of Canada’s Top 50 Spas in Book4Time’s 2011 spAwards. Spawards.com

The Ten Spot Leslieville

Size: 2,000 square feet
Number of treatment rooms: 4 wax rooms, 4 facial chairs, 8 pedi and 8 mani stations
Total number of staff: 25
Retail: Arbonne, Cake, Dermalogica, LoveFresh, OPI, Solevation, Spa Ritual, SweetSpot Labs

by Bernadette Johnson | Summer 2011