Starting a business

An inclusive haven redefining the beauty industry: Meet Pride Beauty Lounge

Behind every small business is a 'big why' – the reason they started their company in the first place and what motivates them to keep going, even when times get tough. Intuit QuickBooks is proud to support Canadian small businesses through every step of their journey and is pleased to celebrate companies doing remarkable things in this “Small Business, Big Why" series.

Growing up with self-employed parents, the idea of entrepreneurship was ingrained in Tori Yeoman's mind from a young age. With a background in mental health and community services, alongside an interest in aesthetics, Tori set out to create a salon and spa that embraced consent-based and trauma-informed care—while promoting inclusion and accessibility.

Thus Pride Beauty Lounge was born. The Halifax-based sanctuary provides marginalized communities with a safe space to pamper themselves, without fear of judgment or prejudice. “I knew the only place like this that existed was inside of my head, and I wanted to make it a reality," Tori says.

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Beauty beyond the binary: A niche that resonates

What sets Pride Beauty Lounge apart from traditional salons and spas is its commitment to serving LGBTQ, BIPOC, disabled, and neurodivergent clients. While individuals from these communities may be overlooked or even discouraged from seeking beauty services—the salon's openness about being gender-neutral, and its focus on “beauty beyond the binary" have attracted a loyal clientele. By catering to this specific niche, the salon has found a competitive edge and fostered rapid growth, resonating deeply with clients who appreciate the genuine empathy and understanding they offer.

Redefining beauty standards

Having experienced bias and judgment within the beauty industry due to their own appearance, Tori was determined to create a space that rejects discriminatory practices. At Pride Beauty Lounge—tattoos, weight, physical appearances, gender identity or orientation don't define staff members' worth, nor their ability to do their job. "Embracing diversity is key to empowering individuals to express themselves authentically," says Tori—who identifies as disabled, queer and Indigenous.

“It's about much more than getting a haircut, nails, or lashes done," they explain. “Beauty services can make us feel confident about expressing how we feel internally, which is extremely powerful. I think having a space where your estheticians and stylists can hear your goals and help you achieve what you want is so important."

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Nurturing business growth and overcoming challenges

Starting small with just three estheticians and a receptionist two years ago, the salon has since expanded to a team of 10 at two locations. Like any small business, Pride Beauty Lounge has had its fair share of challenges. With no prior experience in business management or leadership, Tori had to learn quickly on the job. It was their perseverance and passion for the cause—and some help from QuickBooks along the way—that paved the way for the salon's remarkable growth.

“Investing in your education and knowledge to learn how to run a business is the best money you will spend," advises Tori, who adds that understanding the fundamentals of bookkeeping, budgeting, and leadership is crucial for long-term success.

Teamwork makes the dream work

Tori's proudest accomplishment is the strong team they've been able to assemble. Beyond achieving widespread media recognition and keeping clients comfortable and safe, the success of Pride Beauty Lounge lies in its staff, who embrace the salon's mission with sincerity and dedication.

Their collective efforts create an environment where clients feel welcome and eager to schedule their next appointment, reinforcing the positive impact the salon has on their lives. In return, the salon gives back to the community by offering a sliding scale fee structure, promoting clients' own small businesses on social media, and contributing to projects and charities that benefit queer and BIPOC communities.

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A safe haven for all and an advocate for change

With dreams of becoming an inspiration to other beauty establishments, Tori envisions Pride Beauty Lounge as a platform for promoting inclusion in the beauty industry. Their next initiative is to offer business consulting and educational programs and to expand to new locations across Canada over the next few years. This will allow the salon to grow and impact to a broader audience.

In a world that often promotes conformity, Pride Beauty Lounge stands as a beacon of hope, embracing diversity and individuality with open arms. “Everybody deserves a safer space where they feel comfortable, and where they won't be criticized or denied services because of who they are," says Tori.

How QuickBooks Canada can help your business

Looking for tips to start, run, or grow your small to mid-sized business? Whether you need help with payrolltime tracking or insights into the latest trends, look to QuickBooks Online to guide you through your entrepreneurship journey.

Are you a Canadian business fuelled by passion and purpose? Share your business's 'big why' on Instagram and TikTok using the #SmallBizBigWhy for a chance to be featured by Intuit QuickBooks.

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