Who is Teo Manning, could you please introduce yourself?
My name is Teo. I’m the owner and face behind gyökér hair evolúció, Oakville’s exclusive Scalp Spa. A little about me: I was born in Romania – my hybrid mix is Romanian, Hungarian, Serbian and Israeli. My family and I came to Canada late 80’s. My husband, motivator and business partner – gave me the courage taking on this new journey. It couldn’t have come at a better, or should I say, pivotal moment, in my life. I had been working in the beauty industry for over 12 years for some incredible brands as Regional Trainer, account executive, makeup artist etc. Traveling a lot and eventually burned out. You know when your mind and body just says enough. Well I was there. And as a mom and wife – let’s just say I was not myself anymore. I needed a break. So the Universe answered…Fast forward to New Year’s Day 2020. This is “the pivotal” moment I mentioned above. I landed (literally) on my ass. So hard that I fractured my back. No joke. Happy new year right? After hours in the ER – MRI confirming I was to be still for the next couple months and wear a back brace. My entire world changed. So very thankful to be walking, I began my recovery journey (Little did I know, it would be 4 months in the back brace). So, with the help of my husband. I entered the new journey. We decided I couldn’t go back to what I had been doing. We decided to focus on a business of our own. But what? Where? How? I was definitely excited but also afraid.
What is your business and when did you start?
We are a holistic wellness clinic located in Downtown Oakville providing Scalp Facial therapy treatments, Reflexology, Holistic Nutrition, and Reiki healing. Our team of wellness coaches and Practitioners will help you heal from within. Scalp treatments to help you with atopic scalp conditions such as alopecia, psoriasis, eczema, seborrheic dermatitis, dandruff and more. We opened February 2020. Just before the pandemic!
What inspired you to start your business?
I knew about Scalp facials now for a couple years, had discovered this incredible place in Toronto called Odjibik. I was a client and trust me, I needed it. I suffered from seborrheic dermatitis (SD) since I was a teenager. Using and trying every type of shampoo and ointment. When scalp facials became part of my new routine, the relief from the itching and flakes and scabs was unreal. So, with empathy and from real experience, I knew I wanted to help others. The decision to open a scalp spa was easy once I realized the only thing holding me back was fear itself.
What were the challenges in the initial stages of your business and how did you overcome them?
I had a vision of a place where our clients could feel enveloped by nature and lots of natural light. Let me tell you, that was not easy. After many dark, dull and some pretty smelly places, we found our space ( not to mention finding a place that didn’t break the bank was definitely a challenge). So I did not limit myself to street level/store front type of places. We were prepared to renovate, however, you know when you know. I had the feeling, “this is it” as soon as I stepped upstairs. That’s right – we are on the top floor of a unique building downtown beautiful Oakville. Then the pandemic hit and we had to temporarily close our newly opened spa. New small business in Oakville… big overhead, what were we thinking!?!? These closures have been the big challenge I can say. We have been closed down 3 times. With each closure and re-opening re-starting the momentum.
What motivates you about your business?
I’m very happy to help others dealing with scalp conditions and hair loss. Seeing our repeat clients feel better, grow hair back is truly a very satisfying and gratifying feeling. It also gives me great pride to work with an incredible team. I created the Wellness part of our business later on. I actually did a gut health protocol with one of my clients – and realized how important such thing was – she is now our Assistant Manager and Gut Health Specialist at gyoker.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
One day or day one. Don’t let fear hold you back. Start before you’re ready. In a corporate world where I felt like I was a hamster on a wheel – once I jumped off – yes, with the little push from the universe and landing on my ass – I was able to grow and become stronger. Don’t wait for the kick in the ass! Go out there and work for yourself. Otherwise you will always be working for someone else’s dream.
Interesting fact most of the people do not know about you?
I came to Canada not speaking a word of English, having lived in a communist country…The first time I ever ate an orange and banana was when I arrived here at the age of 5! I ran up and down the isles of Sobeys with my brother with such excitement to see so much food!!
The best business advice I ever received was…
One of my bosses over 20 years ago said to me…“What would you do if you weren’t afraid” and it has stuck since.
My definition of success is…
Having work-life balance. Having my business be able to run on days I’m not there- is a feeling of pride and gratitude. That in itself is success! Also, to have been able to build and grow during the pandemic.
If I could go back in time when I started my business, I would tell myself to…
This is a hard one. I feel that all the decisions and choices I made – starting up – from the location to the design felt right. Is still right – I’ve just been finessing it. I would tell myself to not be afraid of getting too busy. I know I held back in the beginning. I held back from hiring another staff and marketing. It was a hard time though with the pandemic and closure too.
Three books I recommend for entrepreneurs are…
She Means Business by Carrie Green
You are a Badass by Jen Sincero
Thrive by Arianna Huffington
My personal tagline is…
“What would you do if you weren’t afraid” this has been my motto for over 20 years.
Our business tagline is; gyökér hair evolúció
Translation: [root hair evolution], Origin: Hungarian.
Why? Because it was one of the first two languages I spoke as a child. It’s part of who I am. Also, it’s what we do best. Treat your roots! Healthy plants grow in healthy soil, healthy hair grows from a healthy scalp and root.