– Words by Lauren Kramer Photography by Lia Crowe
When Lenny Cabrera left the Dominican Republic for Canada in 2016, she knew two things: she was ready for a fresh start and she wanted to own her own business.
The Caribbean island of the Dominican Republic is known for its tropical climate and picturesque, white-sand beaches, and Lenny’s new Canadian friends assumed she’d spent a lot of time sipping margaritas on the beach.
Her reality had looked much different, though.
“I hadn’t been to the beach for 18 months before I arrived,” Lenny admits.
As a corporate lawyer in the Dominican Republic, the 33-year-old served as legal counsel for brands including Kentucky Fried Chicken, TGI Fridays and Mango clothing. She was deeply involved with their marketing, branding, staffing and legal policies, and loved watching the brands develop and grow.
“I moved to British Columbia knowing that my endgame was to buy or develop a business,” she says.
She didn’t know the exact nature of the business, but she was young, ambitious and driven.
Six years since stepping off the plane in Vancouver, Lenny is the proud co-owner of a swanky salon in a prime location in Kelowna. The Sweet Spot Beauty Bar opened nine months ago on Lakeshore Road across from Gyro Beach, with 2,300 square feet of pedicure bowls, nail stations, massage and facial treatment rooms, a lash and eyebrow station and a hair station. Clients can order pastries, muffins and snacks during their treatments, and as a fully licensed bar they can also enjoy cocktails, wine and beer.
The idea for The Sweet Spot began during the COVID-19 pandemic. Lenny had met her business partner, Alicia Jameson, soon after arriving in Kelowna in 2017. At the time, Alicia was an aesthetician who dreamed of opening her own salon, but didn’t want to embark on the business alone. One night, as the two women shared a bottle of wine, she mentioned her dream to Lenny, and suggested they give it a go.
Lenny loved the idea and the two immediately began brainstorming, planning, writing their business plan and securing financing to bring the idea to reality. Lenny recalled her spa experiences in the Dominican, where wine or cocktails during a pedicure was a standard treat and part of the pleasure of unwinding at the end of a busy work week. She wanted her clients at The Sweet Spot to enjoy the same libations.
“We wanted a beauty bar that was a one-stop shop, a place where people could wind down with good quality service and a glass of wine for a girls’ night out or a fun couples experience.”
Step inside the beauty bar and you’re enveloped by shades of peach and pink. Plush cushions and comfy seating entice clients to the pedicure bowls, and a wall of pink flowers separates the nail bars from the treatment rooms and lash stations. The wide array of services on offer includes manicures, pedicures, nail extensions, nail art, eyebrow shaping, eyebrow tinting, eyelash extensions, eyelash tinting, body waxing, face waxing, facials and massages. The space is inviting, relaxing, luxurious and designed with sharp attention to every small detail.
Lenny and Alicia remain equal partners deeply committed to The Sweet Spot’s success and optimistic about the future. While Lenny handles the finances, Alicia oversees training and service procedures. Each brings individual strengths that combine to make the business flourish.
“Wedding season is coming and our bookings are ramping up with tourists to Kelowna, bachelorette parties and brides’ days of pampering before their nuptials,” Lenny says. “During the winter the local community showed their support and we worked hard at introducing our new business through social media.”
“It’s a new business and it’s not perfect,” she reflects. “If anyone asked me what it’s like to be an entrepreneur, I’d say, buckle up, because it comes with growing pains, a lot of work and many issues that are beyond our control. The business is still in its early stages and I don’t think I’ll be able to relax until it becomes an icon in the Kelowna community. But I’ve never had any doubt that Alicia and I could pull this off. I’m happy and proud of what we’ve achieved so far, and right now, the future is looking pretty bright!”