Community Futures Program & Services | LEAF Program & New Business Sponsorship from Royal Bank of Canada
Industry | Service-Based Business
Business Owners | Steph O’Neill and Whitney Learie-Kellam
Friends for over 15 years, brimming with excitement and a touch of apprehension, Steph O’Neil and Whitney Learie-Kellam embarked on a journey together, determined to bring an inclusive change to the wax and laser industry in Kamloops.
In 2021, the pandemic put their current employment situations into question. Feeling burned out working government jobs, the two were consciously working on their mental health while brainstorming ideas of working together where they could be inspired and empowered.
While on a much-needed break from work, Foxy Box came across Steph’s computer for a second time, which lit a fire of excitement within her, and she sent a 45-minute franchise video which was to be a short 5-minute intro to Whitney.
“After watching the online video, she was so inspired by the culture of support and empowerment that was at the core of the Foxy Box brand. Whitney gave me her feedback and asked if I’d like to look into the franchise together.” Steph said.
After lots of back and forth, hot tub chats, and the final conversation over a glass of wine, they finally decided to take the leap and turn their shared vision into reality. Together, they set out to create a haven where individuals could feel safe and happy.
“We had our work cut out for us. And, being a Health Care worker and an Educator, you know we were thorough! We even became known as the question girls.” She said. “We would rotate working at each other’s houses, always with a coffee and glass of water as we explored how Foxy Box would be Kamloops’ number 1 waxing destination.”
And then something special started to happen.
“We found that we worked well together and brought different perspectives to the table. It took about two months of work and many conversations but in March of 2022, we decided we were ready to leap and signed on with Foxy Box!”
Foxy Box Laser and Wax Bar is Kamloops’ first full-body laser and wax bar. It is a Victoria-based franchise that is woman-owned and operated. It offers fast, convenient, quality services in a safe, inclusive, and fun environment.
Even though Whitney and Steph had the utmost support from the Foxy Box Headquarters team, they recognized they would benefit from education in successfully running a business. When Whitney contacted Community Futures Thompson Country, the ladies sought tools for their day-to-day operations.
“The knowledge, support, and connections we made, including our amazing LEAF program fee sponsorship from RBC, were invaluable!” She said. “We completed the program with a strategic business plan, great connections, and built more confidence to open our business. We were also given supportive options for funding! We quickly learned the requirement of capital cash flow to operate once the doors got open. Thank goodness for the valuable financial support.”
Foxy Box Kamloops officially opened its doors on June 18th, 2022, just three months after Steph and Whitney signed on with the franchise.
“What a wild adventure opening in such a short time! We are so proud of what we have accomplished and the future to come. The Kamloops business community and the community at large have given us a warm welcome, and we are so grateful!” She said. “We continue to use the skill sets learned from Community Futures and recommend anyone with a business curiosity to explore the program. It will change your life.”
When asked what advice they would give to others wanting to open a business, “Do it with the help of Community Futures! Great programming, which will set you up for success. It will change your life!”