two women with tattoos posing for a photo with their certificates

Am I Winning?

Episode 4

May 17, 2023

Success can mean many different things, from making a social impact to making millions. Our entrepreneurs tell us how they define this lofty goal.
Does success mean making millions of dollars, becoming famous, improving the world for others, or just getting paid to do your hobby? Jenna McInnes and Ashley Moore of Bombshell Beauty Bar define success as doing what you love for a living. Tia Grossett grew up dancing and loved every second of it, but when she aged out, she turned her love of dance into a business – and Brickhouse Body was born. As someone who is legally blind, Kevin Shaw saw an opportunity to make the world of dining out more accessible. And that was just the beginning.
View Transcript
Am I winning?



Ashley Moore: I know personally, like, I'm someone that puts in 125 per cent, and I'm going to, you know, give that to whomever I'm working for. So, why would I put all my time and my energy into building someone else's business?


Kevin Shaw: Well, I started my first company out of a place of frustration. I think that's where a lot of people start their companies. It's, you know, find yourself a problem that's so big that you can't help it solve it yourself.


Tia Grossett: Dancing was really where where my whole entire life was.


[Founders Drive theme music]


Katie Sampson: Welcome to Founders Drive. On the last episode, we heard a lot about the word no. But today is about something different.


Tammy Raycraft: Success? Yes, but what does it really mean to win? I remember Frank Porco, the tattoo artist. For him, winning was all about doing his own thing, not having to work a 9-to-5. What did you learn about success, Andrew?


Andrew Neary: I had an idea about success, but Anong Beam, the all-star paint maker from Manitoulin, Island really reframed it for me.


Deidra Clarke: My yes came from you guys first, when you guys said yes to me, I said yes to myself.


Katie: Success can mean many different things for different people. Like being an international hit and one of Oprah's favorites such as Cup of Té or just getting an idea off the ground.


Tammy: Sometimes it's just about chasing your dreams.


Katie: Speaking of chasing your dreams, every time I think about Jenna and Ashley, at Bombshell Beauty, I can't get over how young they are – how they have gone after exactly what they want.


[Sound of street noise]


Katie: Bombshell Beauty Bar in Bowmanville, Ontario, is the perfect place for pampering. The huge windows allow light to fill the space with warmth. Greenery breaks up clean white walls, and a bright pink neon sign frames the coffee bar at the end of the hallway. Most days, you'll find Jenna McInnes focus on applying eyelash extensions for her clients. Three years ago, she was enrolled in Police Fundamentals, but her plans quickly changed when she failed the eye exam.


Jenna McInnes: When I went to school, I always wanted to kind of go into policing, and then my eyesight was too bad. Then I went to school. It wasn't for me and I think also, too, I was going into university, like during like the peak of COVID. So like it was all online, like, I just was, like, not interested.


Katie: She turned to her passion for the beauty industry and started with eyelashes, which quickly grew into a beauty bar offering a wide array of services. As a business owner herself. She wanted to continue to support entrepreneurs. Jenna started seeing Ashley Moore to get her nails done because she was also an independent artist. Ashley's journey to entrepreneurship started in the hair industry before health issues forced her to reconsider. Nails was something that she could do and loved to do. Not long after they met, Jenna and Ashley became fast friends. By their third meeting, they were already discussing opening a joint business.


Jenna McInnes: And then we were just like, “Why don't we just partner?”


Ashley Moore: So, we stumbled upon this space, and then the rest is history, I guess.


Katie: And Bombshell Beauty was born. The duo found their dream location in the heart of Bowmanville’s historic and quaint downtown. They got some help from family and friends and renovated the entire building to create the perfect girly space for their business. It really is exactly what they wanted.


Jenna McInnes: Yeah, honestly, I think it's just like rewarding to be able to, like, build your own like, -


Ashley Moore: - and see, you know, where you're getting. Like, Jenna sent me a video this morning of us opening the doors to Bombshell, the first time with the key. And like, just looking at what we have made of this space already, and we're nowhere near finished in what we want.


Katie: The business has grown tremendously since opening last year. The salon now has multiple employees offering a variety of services, ranging from nails to eyelashes to teeth whitening and hair. To celebrate women-run local businesses, Jenna and Ashley have also dedicated a board in their salon to showcase those products and services.


Ashley Moore: And we've met so many other amazing women and people in this industry because of that. Like our photographer, she doesn't work in the building, but she's here all the time. Like, she's so supportive, always sharing our stuff, like hyping us up to people, like, just so many different people that we've had a chance to meet that aren't even here all the time, that just show us such support, and that is what I honestly think is the most special thing.


Jenna McInnes: We also do, like, retail out of our studio as well, so we have a lot of small businesses - all women-owned. So, it's really just cool to see like that, and we get a lot of support in that kind of way. So yeah, we have, like, four retailers right now who all own small businesses – and yeah.


Katie: Now let me remind you, both of these women are in their early twenties. In fact, Jenna was only 19 when she started discussing the business. Now, they are proud owners of one of the most successful beauty salons in the region. As impressive as that is on their own, they have employees and quite a few at that. Now, this isn't the case for a lot of entrepreneurs. Jenna and Ashley had a really smooth-sailing ride and experience with entrepreneurship.


Ashley Moore: Always wanted to be a business owner. I knew that right away. Like I know, I knew I wasn't gonna be working for somebody. “Hey, no, actually, we're doing it our way,” and “Thank you for the input.” But do I work for someone? Do I work for myself? I know personally, like, I am someone that puts in 125 per cent and I'm going to, you know, give that to whomever I'm working for. So, why would I put all my time and my energy into building someone else's business when in the future I can be making, you know, six figures off of this and, you know, forwarding my future instead of, you know, forwarding somebody else's?


Katie: There are so many reasons people may want to start their own businesses and become entrepreneurs. But Jenna and Ashley knew exactly what their goal was for the business: to do what they love full-time and make a living off of it.


Jenna McInnes: Now that we're owners, like, it's kind of like you're always busy, but when you're busy doing what you love, then it's not, you know what I mean? Like it, I don't know, like doing like social media and stuff at night and stuff like that. It's not really time off, but it's also, like, you enjoy creating it.


[Sound of street noise]


Katie: And this passion has grown into women supporting women. The Bombshell Beauty partners had so many odds stacked against them, their young age, limited experience, a competitive industry, the economy, and an expensive area to open a business in the first place. But, they are thriving. They really are the unicorns of entrepreneurship.




Tammy: Bombshell knew what they wanted and found success with it, but not everyone has a single focus. Andrew, tell us about Kevin Shaw who calls himself a recovering entrepreneur. What does he mean by that?


Andrew: [Rapping] Boots and cats and boots and cats. Kevin's first foray into entrepreneurship was through the world of DJ-ing.


Kevin Shaw: Well, I had a little bit of experience being an entrepreneur. I used to be a - I used to be a mobile DJ right out of school, actually, during my undergrad. You know, I used to DJ parties and weddings and that sort of thing.


Andrew: During school, he discovered a problem with a different kind of disc that inspired his first big move into entrepreneurship.


Kevin Shaw: Well, I started my first company out of a place of frustration. I think that's where a lot of people start their companies. It's, you know, find yourself a problem that's so big that you can't help but solve it yourself. And for me, it was being up in my bedroom, nothing to do on a Sunday afternoon and I had a shelf full of DVDs that were all still in shrink wrap. I knew that there were described video tracks on these DVDs, but I didn't want to have to navigate the silent DVD menu just to turn on the track for audio description. If you don't know, audio description is basically to blind people what closed captioning is for the deaf and hard of hearing. It's a narrator describing everything that's happening on the screen in between lines of dialogue. And I thought, well, this is, this is the business that I can start because I know enough about media and I know enough about, you know, described video and accessibility to, to put something like this together.


Andrew: And put it together. He did.


Kevin Shaw: I built a prototype and began to kind of shop that around to folks saying, hey, I think there's a really big market for described video and I'm looking to build basically a Netflix for the blind.


Andrew: But even with Kevin's know-how, it wasn't an easy task. The companies that own the content wanted lots of money, and Kevin needed their shows to bring users to his business.


Kevin Shaw: One of the biggest roadblocks that I faced was dealing with - dealing with the studios for the rights to the content. You know, the studios are there to represent all the, you know, all the rights holders in movies and TV, you know. Me approaching them with a service like this and saying, hey, this is needed and there's an audience and there's a market for this definitely drew a lot of support in terms of, yes, we agree, and, you know that this should be the right thing. But I think what ended up happening was, you know, they said we've got pricing to maintain and we've got contracts to uphold and agreements to maintain with the various rights holders, so, you know, actors and musicians and everybody who worked on the film. And so here's what the pricing is going to be for, you know, to have a movie on your service. You know, I think a lot of investors got nervous about having to leverage and license other people's content in order to make this service successful.


Andrew: Kevin put together a team and launched his business, turning his dream into reality. Unfortunately, his competitors caught up with him and started offering described video on their much larger platforms. Kevin had to close his operations but said all the effort was worth it.


Kevin Shaw: I'll definitely say it was a success for me, you know, at least personally. I thought I built a great team. As I said, I had a two-time Emmy Award winner on board. I attracted the lady who did the Xbox launch in Canada, and a campaign for TD, which is “Banking could be this comfortable.” We had sort of some really great people like, you know, the former head of Lionsgate Entertainment on on my team. And it was great, you know, we were very nimble, very agile team. In terms of how I measured that success, hey, we were, you know, we were a fully launched service. People were logging in. We were getting testimonials from people saying, “Hey, you know, I'm watching this film on Tell Me TV. This is great. I can totally understand what's going on in, you know, in the movie or the TV show.” I think the other metric of success was just knowing that we had all these great contacts, that we had all of these great contacts in the entertainment industry here in Canada and in the United States, and that they were really supportive of something like this. And I think, you know, certainly carved out a space for myself as an entrepreneur who had the battle scars of just going through the entrepreneurial process. I think - I really think that that is what gained me a lot of favour when when I when I was approached by CNIB to launch an entrepreneurship program for them.


Andrew: Today, Kevin also hosts a television show called “Mind Your Own Business” on AMI TV, where he helps entrepreneurs with disabilities start their dream businesses. Because like us, he believes entrepreneurship is for everyone.


Kevin Shaw: The advice that I normally give people is find yourself a problem that's so irritating to you that you can't help it solve it yourself and others are going to have that same problem. And that's really the genesis of - that's really the genesis of most businesses. Finding out as to whether or not it's for you is part of the journey. There's always a place that you can start. You don't have to quit your 9-to-5 and jump into it full-time. It's working evenings and weekends and, you know, doing stuff on your lunch break even if it's just sending out one email. There's always an ‘in’ to entrepreneurship and a way to sort of test the market and test the waters to see if this is actually something that's going to be right for you. If you go on the journey and you spend two years working on a business and it takes off and you can quit the 9-to-5, and all of a sudden you're going from a start-up to a company, hey, that's great. And if not, you've learned some new skills. You've learned accounting, you've learned marketing, you've learned operations, you've learned a bit about finance, you've learned about legal. You know, there's a certain joy to it. There’s certainly frustration and so forth, but I think there's a lot to be said for trying and failing versus not trying at all.


Andrew: Even though Tell Me TV didn't end up the way Kevin hoped, it didn't discourage him from trying again. The unique experiences and skills he gained helped him get where he is today.


Kevin Shaw: For me, it was like the opportunity of a lifetime to go on this journey and to suffer the slings and arrows, you know, of working in the entrepreneurship world, you know, but there are a lot of joys and successes there, too. And I think that folks who have disabilities, particularly with folks in the sight loss community, should not discount entrepreneurship as a field. This is for everyone. This is not for people who are just sighted or not just for people who come from a certain socioeconomic background, and anybody can start and anybody can do this. And entrepreneurship can be big and it can be small, but I definitely think that there's there's room for everybody in the world of entrepreneurship.




Tammy: Some entrepreneurs go all in on their business but a side hustle can still be a win, right?


Deidra: For sure. Like lots of young girls Tia Grossett started dancing at three years old and kept it up until her twenties. She reached the top of the dance world and then left the stage. She was done. She reached the highest level she could. Three years later, she's since come back to the studio and turned her passion for dance and fitness into a successful side hustle.


[Sound of fitness class]


Tia Grossett: I was inspired to start my business when I realized that fitness was a passion for me, and I didn't think that I would be a good teacher until I realized that you're a good teacher when you're passionate about something. I think that's what inspired me to start teaching and instructing. So, I stopped dancing because at the time I had went away for school and when I came back, my priorities were not in dancing. I was young, they were elsewhere. You know, I wanted to have fun and do other things, and I feel like from the age of 10 to 20, dancing was really where my whole entire life was. So, I just started new things after that and and had my priorities elsewhere. But I would definitely take on dancing again. I actually sit at home sometimes and I think about rejoining a dance team and just getting started and, you know, because it is a great way to stay in shape. It's fun and it, it keeps you young


[Sound of fitness class]


Tia Grossett: I've been in the fitness space now for about five, six years. I started going to the gym around that time six years ago, and I think I had just gotten started, and I didn't really have any knowledge of what fitness really entailed and what it was about and how to actually stay in good shape. But throughout those five or six years, I think I've gained a lot of knowledge. I've read a lot of books on nutrition, a lot of books on fitness, and seen different perspectives and different mindsets in different approaches to fitness. And I think, that's definitely something that is a lifestyle, and it's definitely something that I am going to continue to do as long as I can do it.


[Sound of fitness class]

Tammy: So, you can step away and do other things and still come back to your passion and be successful. Deidra, you've been working as an entrepreneur for a few months now. What will success look like for you?


Deidra: Success for me right now is making sure the hoodie I'm creating is actually accessible. Once I get it into the hands of other diabetics, I want to ensure that it works or I'll go back to the drawing board and redo my design.




Tammy: Maybe success means different things around the world as well. Katie is back with an update on how things are going for the Guatemalan entrepreneurs. Have you talked to Glenda, Gladys and Heidy since our last episode?


Katie: Yeah, actually I called them up. I was so excited to reconnect with them, since my trip.


[Noé Caal – Zoom call: Hi, Katie.]


[Katie: Hi, Noé.]


[Noé Caal: How are you?]


[Katie: I'm good. How are you?]


[Noé Caal: Doing good. Doing good.]


[Katie: Hi!]


[Glenda, Gladys, and Heidy: Hi!]


[Katie: How are you guys?]


[Noé translates to Spanish]


[Glenda, Gladys, and Heidy reply in Spanish]


[Noé Caal: We are doing good. What about you?]


[Katie: Good. I miss you guys!]


[Noé translates to Spanish]


[Glenda, Gladys, and Heidy reply in Spanish]


[Noé Caal: They miss you also.]


[Katie: How are the laptops?]


[Noé Caal translates to Spanish]


[Glenda, Gladys, and Heidy reply in Spanish]


[Noé Caal:  Heidy say like, it's being a a great tool for her, especially because she has a lot of homework right now in the university, and now she doesn't have a skews to the new campus at the time and and the play to it she's using the play to making podcast selfie and photo essay too. So it's it's been great for her in two different areas like in her studies and her job, too.]


[Katie: Awesome. That’s so exciting!]


[Noé translates to Spanish]


[Katie: When you guys worked with Jay on the business plan, how is that coming together now?]


[Noé translates to Spanish]


[Glenda, Gladys, and Heidy reply in Spanish]


[Noé Caal: The next step with Mr. Jay, it’s about to make the budget - the budget of what they will need to start their business, the French fries business. And then, Jay gave some homework to them to start to think, what is going to be the logo, what's going to be in the logo, what they want to sell, what they want to transmit to all the people about their business.]


[Katie: So, you're working on advertising and marketing right now?]


[Noé Caal: Exactly.]


[Katie: Okay.]


[Noé Caal: Yeah, they're working on the budget, like what we'll need: like a bag of potato, how many plates of French fries it’s going to be.]


[Katie: Gotcha.]


[Noé Caal: Just to see what is going to be the area that they're going to work. And then, they are going to start to work in, kind of like in their logo, what they want to have in their business.]


[Katie: Awesome! That's so exciting. Are you guys excited to get started?]


[Noé translates to Spanish]


[Glenda, Gladys, and Heidy: Si!]


[Katie: Yay! Do they have any questions for me while I'm here, Noé?]


[Noé translates to Spanish]


[Glenda, Gladys, and Heidy reply in Spanish]


[Noé Caal: Well, they are asking about what was your favorite part of the trip here in Las Arrugas for you.]


[Katie: Meeting you guys.]


[Noé translates to Spanish]


[Glenda, Gladys, and Heidy: Thank you.]


[Katie: Well, it was good to see you guys. I just wanted to check in about the laptops and about the business. But yeah.]


[Noé translates to Spanish]


[Noé Caal: Yeah, Katie. No, no, no. They, I mean, for example, these three girls, they bring their computers to the office because we have just one computer, and we have five people here. So, I mean, that's support a lot, not just even in their personal life but in their professional life, too, as well.]


[Katie: Good. I'm so glad.]


[Noé Caal: I have seen them, for example, like two weeks ago, Heidy and Gladys, they spent the night here in the office - because we have extra beds - so, they spent the night here in the office because they have a lot of homework to do, and they have their computers. So, we're providing Wi-Fi to them and they have a computer that was provided by Durham College. So it's working really, really good. And thank you for that. You know, and thank you to all people who make this possible, you know.]


[Katie: We're all really proud of you and we're really glad that – and grateful – that we could help support you with that.]


[Noé Caal: Thank you, Katie. Thank you so much, Katie. And yeah. But I think in the next week, or a couple weeks, we are going to have our next class with Mr. Jay.]


[Katie: Perfect. I'd love to hear about it. When it's all done, you guys can text me.]


[Noé Caal: Oh, yeah, of course I will text you, and I will send pictures. I will send videos, you know, because they are going to work on their rocket pitch, too like the rocket pitch for their business.]


[Katie: Perfect.]


[Noé Caal: So yeah, we're great, and I'm checking you on Facebook, too. We’re really proud of you, and we are praying for you, too.]


[Katie: Well, I'm so glad to talk to you guys, and we'll talk soon and you can text me. Okay?]


[Noé translates to Spanish]


[Glenda, Gladys, and Heidy reply in Spanish]


[Katie: Bye, we’ll talk later. Okay?]


[Noé translates to Spanish]


[Noé Caal: Bye, Katie.]




Tammy: Well, this is it. When we first started, we shared our personal experiences. At the time, none of us were chasing our entrepreneurial dreams. Wow. Things have changed.


Deidra: I can't believe this is it. It feels like we just started this journey yesterday, and now Season 1 is over.


Katie: In these short eight months, we've interviewed dozens of entrepreneurs and heard so many inspirational stories of their paths.


Andrew: Working with you all this season has been incredible. I learned a lot about entrepreneurship, you and myself. It's inspired me to start another business this summer too.


Katie: Really?


Andrew: Yeah. I'm working on a videographer and photography company and I'm excited to see where it goes.


Katie: Oh, that's exciting. We'll have to hear more about it in Season 2.


Tammy: For me, my idea of entrepreneurship changed. What an entrepreneur is who can be one and what defines success. And that's all because of these amazing founders we've talked to.


Katie: Coming up in Season 2, we aim to travel further abroad to find out what entrepreneurship looks like for young people in other parts of the world.


Deidra: What barriers do they face? What does no mean to them? What's inviting them in or keeping them out?


Tammy: How is entrepreneurship making a difference in their lives? Is it the difference between a life they can control or one dictated by poverty, unemployment and social dynamics?


Katie: Closer to home, we want to see how entrepreneurship takes shape in remote and Indigenous communities.


Andrew: Thanks for coming with us for our first steps on Founders Drive. I'm Andrew Neary.


Katie: I'm Katie Sampson.


Tammy: I'm Tammy Raycraft.


Deidra: And I'm Deidre Clark.


Andrew: And we'll see you on the next one.


[Music fades out]

Guest Speakers

Tia Grossett​
Brickhouse Body
two women in black dresses standing in front of a house
Jenna McInnes and Ashley Moore
Bombshell Beauty
a man in a suit and tie smiling for the camera
Kevin Shaw