Georgia-Jean Lockhart is the owner and operator of 81 Main by Georgia-Jean & Co. in Courtland, Ontario, a full service salon and day spa. Knowing that she wanted to pursue a career in aesthetics, and backed by supportive entrepreneurial parents, Georgia took the plunge into self-employment as soon as she could. Being a huge supporter of entrepreneurial efforts, I knew I had to sit down and ask Georgia a few questions now that she has her own physical location in Courtland!
Where did the dream or idea come from to start your own business and how did you handle the feelings of being in an environment that might have been pushing for college or university?
Well, my parents are self-employed and have their own business, so I always grew up in that kind of environment. My parents taught me that the best route to go in order to make it was self-employment, as most of my extended family is following that path as well. My grandpa had several businesses, my uncle runs a business, and most of our friends are self-employed as well. And, since they believe in that so strongly, I would see the opportunities that you can have and what it takes to build something as I was growing up. I believed that I had what it took, so I went with that route as well.
I didn’t graduate high school because I always knew I wanted to get into aesthetics and that I was super into it. I found out I was able to get started right away with a lash extension course without a high school diploma, so, for me, I didn’t see a purpose to stay in high school if I could get to where I wanted to be without it. I started working out of a place in Delhi, ON and stayed there for about 8 months prior to deciding that I wanted to do my own thing. Then, in November of 2018, I opened up my own place.
What reaction did this endeavour spark from your parents and how did they respond when you told them this is what you wanted to do?
They were happy, but they also wanted to make sure that I was ready. It takes a lot of work, a lot of commitment, and it isn’t always what it seems like it’ll be in reality. They were super supportive and just wanted to make sure that I was prepared, but I definitely wouldn’t have been able to do it without them.
As a very young business owner, what did you notice that you loved about it and what challenges were you not as excited about?
I am fairly new with it, but a challenge has been staying on top of everything since when you put something off for a little bit, it can begin to build up. It can sneak up on you so you will wonder where all this work came from and you realise that you’re at the shop pretty much 24/7. I am here almost every day, every night, and even when I’m not working, I will still be working on things like social media or my bookkeeping.
A benefit for me is that I can make my own hours, so it is really nice in that sense. I can still revolve my life around my work and vice versa, which I find very rewarding. And, since I am appointment and service based, I put a lot of my own personality and energy into it.
What advice would you give to someone that is in elementary or high school that has a dream of starting their own business and dealing with the push-back that might come along with expressing this dream?
I would say to go with what you truly believe you want to do in this world. In my case, I hated high school and I always felt like I had to be there all the time in order to be successful, but with me having such supportive parents, I knew I could be very successful without the high school environment. Really think about where you see yourself in 10 years and what you want out of life. For example, I knew I wanted to have a family when I was young, and I also knew that if I went to college or university for 4 or 5 years then that wouldn’t be in the cards for me. It comes down to what you want out of life.
What is your ultimate goal or ambition with your business and how big a part of your focus is that right now?
So, when I was first opening this place, I was really struggling with finding a name for my brand. I stuck with my actual name, Georgia-Jean, since it is a unique name and there is so much that you can play off of it with. I went with the address 81 Main By: Georgia-Jean Co. since I do eventually want to have multiple locations. There is a main street in almost every town or city, so I am hoping to have other locations that also play off this concept.
For right now, I am going to just keep it as myself working out of here, but I will eventually look into hiring employees down the road. I really want to establish a good name for myself and a good reputation, so when people come to me, they know what to expect and they know how I operate.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
My name is Patrick MacDougall and I am a licensed REALTOR® based out of Tillsonburg, Ontario. I service the Oxford, Norfolk, and Elgin County areas and work everyday to bring as much value to others as I possibly can.