Voss Babes Female Entrepreneur Series – Jenn Murphy, Cove Esthetics

For many entrepreneurs and small businesses, social media can be an absolute game-changer! All it takes is one viral post and a business can suddenly take off.

At Like A Voss Social Media, we’re highlighting local businesses and entrepreneurs who are killing the online game. This week’s spotlight is on Jenn Murphy, Owner of Cove Esthetics.

Cove Esthetics is one of Kingston’s hidden gems, offering sought after services such as “the perfect brow”, waxing and custom facials. Cove Esthetics started in Kingston in 2016, building a loyal clientele that has grown beyond what Jenn Murphy, the owner, could have ever dreamed of. Starting her career in esthetics in 2003, Jenn has worked with top spas in Halifax NS, Banff AB, and Victoria BC. Notably, her time in Banff made her recognize the high caliber customer service she wanted to offer her clients within her own business she hoped to open one day. Today she has clients call her the brow queen and a friend.

Our CEO Mandi interviewed Jenn about her secret to success in the world of esthetics, and how she has made such a name for herself in Kingston. Mandi has been a client of Jenn’s for 3+ years now, and they have grown quite fond of each other. We know that Mandi always looks forward to her visits, and comes out with perfect brows (and lashes, when she has them done).

Oh…and…we also got some awesome insights into what they think makes social media such an effective tool in business.

A Little Bit About Being a Female Entrepreneur

How long have you been in business?

I started running Cove Esthetics September 1st, 2016, it was under a different name at the time but that’s where it began.  So I just celebrated Cove’s 3rd birthday!

What made you decide to break away from the 9-5 and start Cove Esthetics?

Very much by accident!  Our family had moved here to Kingston and the struggle to find a spa setting that suited my experience either wasn’t hiring or offering me minimum wage with very little flexibility for my young family, nights, weekends, time of requests with no promise of fulfilling. The third location offered me a unique opportunity that I hadn’t considered before, to rent the space and run my own gig!  It was terrifying and exciting in equal parts, we had just arrived and I didn’t have any clientele base here. It took coaxing and seeking as much advice from friends who run their own businesses. Now I work more than I ever did for someone else, our industry is prone to working nights, weekends, holidays but at least now it’s on my own terms and works for our family. It was the best decision I would ever make!

What do you love most about being a female entrepreneur?

I love the support from our local community, I see it so strongly amongst the women of YGK but also women globally are moving into entrepreneurial roles and it’s really exciting to be part of that.  Surrounding myself with other brilliant women, running successful businesses, has made all the difference and I strive to be that for others joining the entrepreneur path.

What is the hardest thing you have had to overcome as a female entrepreneur? Something you did not foresee when you decided to start Cove Esthetics?

BALANCE!!!  I’m still very much trying to juggle the work/life balance. Having worked in this industry for 15 years in a spa setting, I always had a schedule and I left work at the door on my way out.  I was still working a full work week but now I will see clients during my working hours then go home to answer msgs, place orders, sort taxes, inventory my stock, advance education…not to mention run a household, be a wife + mother, volunteer, socialize and occasionally get a yoga class in if I’m lucky. As an entrepreneur you strive for success, but often when you throw yourself into one aspect of life the others take a hit.  I’ve come a long way since the beginning when I was figuring this out but still have work to do on that side of running a business. I admire those that seem to have found it but feel it doesn’t fully exist, it’s about prioritizing the important!

What is one thing about working in the esthetics industry that people would be surprised to learn? 

It’s not as easy as it looks, well, it is now, but it took me a really long time to get here.  I hear a lot of horror stories from clients and truth is we all have one, it takes a lot of time to learn our trade, far beyond the 9-12 months of schooling we take.  I went on to study under a Master Aesthetician for almost a decade, worked alongside incredibly talented leaders in my field and realized fast that the learning never ends.  One thing that will damage you is being overconfident, you can always pick up something new from each working experience, even from mistakes others make. I still have nightmares about taking someone’s eyebrow off, it happened this morning!

What would you say is the number one thing that has allowed you to be successful? (Other than the fact that you actually deliver THE PERFECT BROW!)

I listen, I ask a lot of questions, and I take my time with clients…it sounds really repetitive to me but I try to give everyone my full attention while they are in.  It’s the one thing I couldn’t do while working for someone else. It can be a very “get in, get the job done and send people along their way” industry. I hated treating people like a number and I was always on a timeline for services.  You had 15mins to do an eyebrow wax, not a lot of time to build a proper relationship with your clients, it was like speed dating. I still have days I run behind but I don’t answer to anyone so everyone gets the time they deserve, I like to think everyone leaves feeling cared for.

And Now Onto The Social Media Questions!

Do you have a favorite social media platform? Why? 

Instagram is by far my favourite go-to, it’s really my only go to!  I have facebook for business but it doesn’t nearly get the attention from myself or clients that Instagram does. It’s easy, functional to navigate for a less tech-savvy person (myself lol) and it seems to be the masses favourite to scroll through.

What made you decide to start using social media as a way to promote your company?  

Also, by accident!  When I started out I was added into another established businesses account and when I was getting lost amongst their posts, 5 stylists’ hair posts to my limited posts got little attention and botched the esthetics of their account.  I have a very good friend (thanks Blaize) who convinced me to start my own account and helped me get it off the ground. She was a huge source of support to me both in technical support and the best accounts in Kingston to follow, connect and engage with.

How has social media impacted your business? Would you say that it’s an effective marketing tool?

It might be my greatest business resource besides being mildly talented at my work!  It’s instant access to a profile of my work for clients to see first hand, it’s like nothing before in this field from where I started it 17yrs ago.

Truthfully, word of mouth and social media has provided my business with being successful, it has grown my business faster than conventional methods of paid advertisement and service specials.

What advice would you give to other businesses and entrepreneurs who want to use social media as a way to connect with customers?

Loaded question! Be honest, know your audience and engaged with them, go outside your comfort zone and try new things, maybe they will stick or maybe they won’t, try it anyway. Give credit where credit is due, and follow accounts that you admire and lift you up, I take things away from other accounts all the time by watching techniques I haven’t thought to try… and remember to engage in person when you can, live outside of that social media bubble, that can be a safe space but use it to improve relations in every aspect.

A Little More About Jenn

When Jenn is not at the studio running Cove Esthetics, she is spending her time with her partner Allyn and their amazing little girl, Ella. If you wonder where her passion comes from, you can see it starts with her family.  In 2009 Jenn took on another passion, her yoga teacher training, she believes every entrepreneur needs an outlet to support their work and yoga is hers. It allows her to maintain the physical demands of the esthetics world and tries to make time to take in a class at one of the many yoga studios in Kingston.

Connect with Jenn here:

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