Reflecting Over the Last 20 Years …

How did the adventure... the journey... begin? My story.

It all began on a walk with my mom, Lynn (as so many of you know her).

I was 22 years old and was in need of a “pep-talk”.  I needed more responsibility in my life, she said. I was enjoying life to its fullest yet going nowhere. I needed goals and vision …

We walked by an empty storefront in our beautiful downtown Kincardine and it hit me, she was right!  This empty storefront is where “InStyle Hair Studio” is located and has been since September 19, 2000.

The love and passion I have for the industry, the people, the social aspect… all of this lead me to opening my business. I had completed my schooling and was working as a stylist. I was “very green” with no business experience but I took the leap & have never once looked back!

In the beginning.

“InStyle” started with 2 styling chairs, the entire salon was painted white with black furniture. At the age of 22 this was my vision….

Cindy Gowland (stylist at InStyle) came along for the ride and has been on this journey with me from the very beginning. We connected immediately the first time we met (1998) and created a friendship that’s unbreakable. Together, as a team from day one, we have built InStyle into a dream place to work, to play… a place we both call home!

The salon atmosphere has always been nothing but calm, relaxing and fun. A safe place for everyone who enters.  As the phone began ringing and the salon vibe busier, we started adding to the team.

Our amazing team.

Over the years, InStyle has grown. It is now the home of 7 amazing stylists and 1 amazing manager, mom! (How ironic is it that my mom is now working for me!!)

With over 1400 guests entering the salon monthly and 8 staff members, I feel so incredibly proud … the days are full of so many laughs & shenanigans and some days even tears. We are there for one another through thick and thin. We are so much more than coworkers, WE ARE FAMILY!

Big decisions – greater rewards.

A few years after InStyle opened I was approached by the building owner. He explained how proud he was of my accomplishments over the years and he was ready to sell his building… he wanted me to be the buyer!

I was pregnant at the time with my second son. Maybe not the greatest time for another change but I went for it, I took the risk and I bought the building!

Once I owned the building, I knew it was time to give InStyle a facelift & make some changes. We added more chairs, knocked out walls, changed the colours and created a new vision… InStyle was growing up!

Elite L’Oreal Professional Salon.

At this time we also changed our product lines and became an “Elite L’Oreal professional” salon, things were exciting. Our team was stronger than ever. We spent countless hours doing teambuilding exercises, creating vision boards and always building on our education. As a team we started going on yearly team building events, “you know, where we sit and drink tea, read self-help books & talk shop” .. wink!

In 2015 we hit the milestone of 15 years in business … I wanted a big team building trip but unfortunately, “life happened”. We pushed the big trip out until 2018… Nashville baby!

Celebrating 15 years in business we headed to Nashville!

The entire staff hopped into two vehicles and set out on a road trip adventure like no other. We created so many amazing memories. We strengthened our friendships. We shared so many laughs. It’s true, “what happens in Nashville stays in Nashville“. So much fun!

Business Woman of the Year

2019 was another big year … InStyle won “Business Woman of the Year” award and I was up for nomination of “Woman of Distinction” award! All of this would never have happened if it wasn’t for the strength this TEAM holds, we were (are) the Dream Team!

20 Years In Business in 2020!

Coming off a big year in 2019, we started planning our ’20 years in business gala event’ for 2020.  It would be a party like no other .. everyone would be invited! So much excitement and planning, then … COVID happened.

Not only has our 20th anniversary celebration event had to be canceled, our entire business has been put on hold three times!  Needless to say, we haven’t been able to celebrate in a way we have been accustomed to celebrate.   Although, we do hope it will still happen at some time.  There is so much to celebrate, so much to be thankful for.  Maybe in 2023? Maybe … maybe???

I have to admit, I was very naïve to the “possible” closure of my business when the pandemic started. “you can’t get a haircut online”, was always my thinking.   We are educated & trained in disinfecting and sanitization. WE ARE SAFE …. WE WILL STAY OPEN … but sadly, I was wrong.

Thank you for an amazing 20 years.

Thank you mom for believing in me 20 years ago, before I even believed in myself. 

Thank you stylists for working together, playing and staying together for all of these years. We have always, and will always welcome your clients, our clients, through our doors like family.

Thank you to my family, for witnessing the growing pains of mom being a business owner first-hand and sticking with me through thick and thin.

Thank you community and friends for standing with us, for helping us grow over these past 20 years. We will endure this awkward two years of 2020-2021 as a a piece of history we care never to relive, but will  never forget.  What will we remember most? Our friends, our clients, our community support. 

To be continued…


Author:  Shawna Small

Author: Shawna Small

Owner, InStyle Hair Studio
Shawna has owned Instyle Hair Studio for 20+ Years. She is also an avid fitness and wellness instructor. Follow her on Instagram or Facebook @InstyleKincardine | Call us at InStyle to book an appointment or to buy professional quality hair care products 519.396.1234

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