Meet Founder & CEO Jennifer Cooper an award-winning stylist hailing from Barrie, Ontario. She is a second-generation stylist & salon owner. Jennifer has been licensed in the beauty industry since 2011 graduating with honours. She grew up in the world of hair art, creativity and salon business firsthand. Jennifer currently resides in Sudbury, Ontario with her husband and two children.
Jennifer Cooper created The Northen Dream Weaves an online teaching tool for hair stylists looking to improve their skill set course to help support ambitious stylists all across Canada. This course is for a stylist employed by a salon, a commissioned stylist, apprentice, booth rent owner, salon owner and even beauty school students. Northern Dream Weaves is a digital course for anyone in the beauty industry looking to expand their skillset by offering their clients an exclusive alternative to hair extensions. Made by stylists for stylists.
”This opportunity is one of a kind.. We know first hand how valuable word of mouth referrals are so let’s get you to be one of the first in your area on our map. So you have nothing to lose! My hindsight is your foresight and that is why I’m so passionate about launching this Canadian brand for stylists. Adding this skillset has been a lucrative addition to the salon and I’m excited to show you how to do the same.” Jennifer Cooper
In your own words, what do you do?
I am a mentor, educator, and hair stylist. I love teaching my hairstylist students something brand new, bringing new concepts and innovation to life, and showing them how they can work smarter, not harder. I’m a passionate educator and I love helping my hair students along their own unique journeys in the hair extension world.
Tell us something about your online education program for hair stylists what does it contain?
Northern Dream Weaves is an online education program specifically for the professional hairstylist looking to advance their skills in hair weft extensions. This method is taught online through our module step-by-step program. We additionally offer wholesale support for products and tools. This program is self-paced so the stylist can take it at a time that best suits their needs. This move online was needed as we shift things to fit a more digital world, also we can reach more hairstylists in more remote communities. This allows hair stylists from literally anywhere in the world with digital access to be able to be certified in our technique.
What drove you to set up your own company?
The desire to start my own education company in hair weft extensions was to create something here that hasn’t yet been created. Years ago I was looking for something similar, but at that time my only option was to travel far and wide to be able to attend in-person courses that were going to also cost traveling fees in addition to the course fees. I saw a gap in the marketplace, especially here in Canada, where education needed to be shifted online. It will never replace the in-person aspect however it is the second-best option and hopefully soon we will also be able to start incorporating in-person classes with the online support being an addition to the students learning in an ongoing manor.
What are your top three tips for success?
I would recommend to-be open-minded and coachable. Success is a constant state of learning, and you must be open to pivoting your learning style. I would also recommend to-be patient. There are certain situations that are out of our control, but with a good attitude and lots of patients it will happen. Stay the course and stay focused. The third tip for success is one of my favourites and most important, surround yourself by people who support you, encourage you, uplift you, and really have your back. A support group to lean on or staff members who believe wholeheartedly in your business and mission make you want to be the best boss, it also encourages you to always work harder because you don’t want to let them down, you want them to be proud of you as a successful leader.
Where do you get your inspiration from daily?
My daily inspiration comes from my customers who wear these extensions, my students’ success stories after implementing the online training and of course the amazing mentors in the beauty industry. I am constantly listening to business podcasts, attending online webinars, and reading or watching inspirational quotes and stores online. Feeding my brain and soul positive and uplifting content.
Any advice for entrepreneurs on moving beyond a failure?
My advice to entrepreneurs who are moving beyond a failure or setback is to always ground yourself in your WHY. Things happen, and sometimes they aren’t good. But if you know your reason why then what you failed at is another opportunity to shift to get it right. As the owners of our companies, we have to be the masters at pivoting. We almost need to foresee the future in every-which way so that we can expect setbacks to happen, but we can make the right moves beforehand to avoid that all together. Come up with a solid contingency plan, stick to the process. Most importantly believe in yourself.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?
My best piece of advice is, do not be afraid of doing it alone. We always talk about teams and the advantages, but no one really talks about how scary starting up a new brand can be when you’re the only one making the decisions in the beginning and calling all the shots. You can be a solopreneur and still be successful. You can start small and still be successful. Set goals for hiring, and leverage things that you know you don’t have the capacity for. As someone once told me, be good at hiring slow and firing fast. In the beginning I would also recommend contract other small businesses to help you get started. We are expected to know everything, but we’re just really-good at figuring out what we can do well and what can be contracted out. Time leverage your time.
How do you balance work and Life? Can you tell us how?
I balance work and life by staying to a very strict schedule. Everything we set aside for family time or activities gets put into the calendar, and work schedule gets added around that time. Everything gets written into the calendar. From scheduling work meetings, Salon appointments, gym time, and kids’ hockey tournaments. We stick to this routine because it works the best for our family & my customers. Time is so very precious to us, and we only get so much of it to spend with the family. The balance of the two have led to a more fulfilling love for my career, as the breaks taken are meaningful and resting. The equal balance has me looking forward to the time with the family after work or the time back behind the chair after meaningful time and rest with the family.
What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
This credit must go to my parents. They have been and continue to be self-employed entrepreneurs. Growing up, I was always imagining myself operating a business rescuing animals or taking over my mom’s salon. But ultimately, I did start up my own salon, three hours away and now I have pivoted to my new business of online education @NorthernDreamWeaves for professional hairstylists and I am so glad I did. I have quite a few friends who also own their own businesses and I aspire to be just as amazing of a CEO as they are. I love working the hardest for myself.
Share with us some tips for women who are in doubt of leaving their secure job and starting their own business.
Tip 1. Work at your new business every single day.
Tip 2. Figure out if the reward is greater than the risk.
Tip 3. Start by doing both, set a timeline, and once you get to the stage of leaving the secure job, work as hard or more for yourself then you did for anyone else.
Tip 4. Save for a rainy day. Have a savings that you can use as a cushion in-case times get tough.