Colin McEwen: Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneur

Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneur is My Salon owner Colin McEwan, whose surprise passion for the beauty industry spurred him to open up his own shop in downtown Toronto. We caught up with him to find out what inspires his salon and what advice he would share with other young professionals…


Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
I am the proud owner of a new salon in Toronto called My Salon on Richmond located on the lower east side in the up-and-coming neighbourhood Old Town. The concept of My Salon started with the idea of keeping the guests in mind. The goal was to allow guests to feel as though they have ownership and comfort of expression in the salon, and enjoy their experience enough to consider the space their own, hence the name. When a guest comes into my salon, during the consultation I listen to my guest for their needs and wants, and create a style that best suits their everyday lifestyle.

Why did you start working at your company? What was the inspiration for this career route?
The reason I started my company was to fulfill my lifelong dream of being a business owner. I just never imagined it would be in the beauty industry.

I owe the inspiration to my good friend in New Zealand where I lived for a year. At that time, I had the opportunity to be a hair model for a major beauty wellness fair.  Through this experience, I felt this was the industry that I wanted to explore and see what opportunities were available.

What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis?  The most challenging part?
The best part of my day-to-day is by far making people love their hair. Hair is a very powerful and personal tool. You can come into the salon having a bad day and leave feeling amazing, and that’s what inspires me.

I had a client who was on vacation with her family in Mexico. She messaged me and wanted to let me how much she loved her hair cut and colour. For someone to take the time out of their vacation to send me a message like this is truly why I love my job. 

As for the most challenging part of my job… well, it’s all challenging. Being a business owner in the beauty industry, you have to be up to date with the latest styles and trends. Not only of hair, but fashion as well; which colours work well, what are the new fashion trends, etc. At My Salon, I plan education classes on a bi-monthly basis, from hair colour and cuts to the latest for nails and our spa.

What is one sign that you’ve seen over the years to suggest that your work/life balance is off?
Not being able to go to the gym and not being able to see my friends and family as often as I would like.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years I hope to be opening my second salon and having my current salon as my flagship.

What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
Opening the salon. There was a six-month gap between when I left the original salon I was working at and when I opened up My Salon. I wanted to ensure I didn’t lose my client base. To do this, I rented a chair so I could continue to work with my guests. I would also keep them up to date on the progress of the new salon. This was a very critical moment and a challenging part of my career.

What does success look like to you?
Success to me is when I can take some time off and be able to create balance in my personal and work life.

What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
This would have to been the first day that I started to take clients at My Salon.  It was difficult to see all I had accomplished and created, but when I was there by myself, there was a happy dance at the end.

Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
My advice for other young professional is to never give up. If you’re passionate and love what you do, then there is nothing stopping you but yourself. It’s a risk to go off on your own, but once you’ve done it you’ll never look back.

Where is your favourite place to wine/ dine in your city and why?
Salt Wine Bar is by far one of my favourites. Their menu changes often, the wine selection is excellent, and their service is what keeps me coming back.

When you’re not working how do you love to spend your time?
I love going for a drive outside of the city, even if it is just to the Scarborough Bluffs. I also play competitive volleyball, which helps my life balance.

Where is your favourite place to travel? Why?
My favourite place for a vacation is St. Kitts.  My best friend and his family live there so it gives me a great reason to visit. It’s a beautiful island with many great people.

If you weren’t doing what you’re doing, what would you be doing?
If I wasn’t doing hair, I would either be living in New Zealand, working with the man that has inspired me to become what I’ve become today, or I would be living in St. Kitts enjoying the island life. Another route I’ve considered is to go back in the hotel and restaurant industry.

What to you is notable?
Notable to me is something or someone that sticks in your mind.