Finding the Right Place – Smithers Interior News
– Words by Lauren Kramer Photographs by Lia Crowe
When Lenny Cabrera moved from the Dominican Republic to Canada in 2016, she knew two things: she was ready for a fresh start and she wanted to own her own business.
The Caribbean island of the Dominican Republic is known for its tropical weather and scenic white sand beaches, and Lenny’s new Canadian friends speculated she spent a lot of time sipping margaritas on the beach.
His reality had looked quite different, however.
“I hadn’t been to the beach for 18 months before I arrived,” admits Lenny.
As a corporate lawyer in the Dominican Republic, the 33-year-old has served as legal counsel for brands including Kentucky Fried Chicken, TGI Fridays and Mango clothing. She was deeply involved in their marketing, branding, people and legal policies, and loved watching brands develop and grow.
“I moved to BC knowing my endgame was to buy or grow a business,” she says.
She didn’t know the exact nature of the business, but she was young, ambitious and driven.
Six years after stepping off the plane in Vancouver, Lenny is the proud co-owner of a chic salon in a prime location in Kelowna. The Sweet Spot Beauty Bar opened nine months ago on Lakeshore Road across from Gyro Beach, with 2,300 square feet of pedicure bowls, manicure stations, massage and facial treatment rooms, a spa eyelashes and eyebrows and a styling station. Guests can order pastries, muffins, and snacks during their treatments, and as a fully licensed bar, they can also enjoy cocktails, wine, and beer.
The idea for The Sweet Spot started during the COVID-19 pandemic. Lenny had met his business partner, Alicia Jameson, shortly after arriving in Kelowna in 2017. At the time, Alicia was a beautician who dreamed of opening her own salon, but didn’t want to go into the business on her own. One night, while the two women were sharing a bottle of wine, she mentioned her dream to Lenny and suggested they give it a shot.
Lenny loved the idea and the two immediately started brainstorming, planning, writing their business plan and securing funding to make the idea a reality. Lenny recalled his experiences at the spa in the Dominican Republic, where wine or cocktails during a pedicure were a standard treat and part of the fun of winding down at the end of a busy work week. She wanted her Sweet Spot customers to enjoy the same libations.
“We wanted a beauty bar that was a one stop shop, somewhere people could relax with good quality service and a glass of wine for a girls night out or a fun couple experience.”
Step into the beauty bar and you’ll be enveloped in shades of peach and rose. Plush cushions and comfy seats draw guests to the pedicure bowls, and a wall of pink flowers separates the nail bars from the treatment rooms and lash stations. The wide range of services offered includes manicures, pedicures, nail extensions, nail art, eyebrow shaping, eyebrow tinting, eyelash extensions, eyelash tinting, body waxing , facial hair removal, facials and massages. The space is inviting, relaxing, luxurious, and designed with careful attention to every little detail.
Lenny and Alicia remain equal partners deeply committed to the success of The Sweet Spot and optimistic about the future. While Lenny takes care of the finances, Alicia oversees training and service procedures. Each brings individual strengths that combine to make the business successful.
“Wedding season is approaching and our bookings are increasing with tourists to Kelowna, bachelorette parties and days when brides get pampered before their nuptials,” says Lenny. “During the winter the local community showed their support and we worked hard to showcase our new business via social media.”
“It’s a new business and it’s not perfect,” she told herself. “If someone asked me what it’s like to be an entrepreneur, I would say, buckle up, because it comes with growing pains, lots of work and lots of problems beyond our control. The business is still in its infancy and I don’t think I can relax until it becomes an icon in the Kelowna community. But I never doubted that Alicia and I could pull it off. I am happy and proud of what we have achieved so far, and right now the future is looking pretty bright! »
Story courtesy of Boulevard magazinea publication of Black Press Media