Regina salon owner wins national Indigenous entrepreneurship award – Regina Leader-Post

Destinee Peter bought her salon at just 22 years old. Eight years later, her business is thriving and she’s using her experience and knowledge to help other young entrepreneurs.
When Destinee Peter bought a salon at just 22 years old, she knew very little about running a business.
What she did know is she had a passion for cosmetology and a desire to offer a safe space for everyone by holding true to her Indigenous identity.
Growing up, Peter was always interested in hair, practicing on anyone around her, whether a sister or a friend. She graduated high school and jumped right into cosmetology at Avant-Garde Beauty College. Soon after completing the program, she began working at Tangles Hair and Beauty Salon.
Three years after she started at Tangles, the owner approached Peter and said she was looking to sell the salon. She asked if Peter, who was just 22 at the time, would be willing to take it over.
“I was super hesitant and scared to take on that role because I didn’t know anything about owning a business or running a salon, but she sat me down and encouraged me and said that she would walk me through how before she leaves,” Peter recalled in a recent interview.
She agreed, learning a lot from the previous owner quickly and getting advice from her father, who is also a business owner.
Still, she had her work cut out for her.
“I took a lot of classes. It took a long time to build the team. I had no staff at the start, so I built the team, I rebranded Tangles, I remodelled the whole salon and made it the way I wanted the salon to be,” Peter said.
She also taught her team about her Indigenous background and how hair is sacred to Indigenous peoples, training them to be culturally sensitive and to give people the option of taking their cut hair home.
Eight years later, Peter has a thriving salon with a six-person team and has become a mentor for other young women entrepreneurs.
In recognition of her success, Peter won an Up and Coming Award at the inaugural Indigenous Entrepreneurship Awards on Thursday, which was put on by the national non-profit Pow Wow Pitch.
The road getting there had its fair share of ups and downs, however, and Peter attributes her success to the support of her home community of Carry the Kettle First Nation and other local women entrepreneurs who were always willing to offer support or advice.
Many people from Carry the Kettle drive an hour to Regina just to visit her salon.
“Going through COVID-19, I don’t think I would have been able to pull through if it wasn’t for that dedicated clientele that I’ve had and always having this support through all the struggles that I could lean on,” Peter said.
Now Peter wants to give back to all those who supported her when she needed it most. Before the pandemic, Peter taught cosmetology lessons to interested students in Carry the Kettle and she hopes to resume this after the pandemic. She also facilitates the Matchsticks Indigenous Women Business Mentoring Circle, a program run by Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan (WESK).
She said she is always more than happy to offer advice or mentorship to another young entrepreneur.
“That’s what I needed in the beginning of my entrepreneurship, and so for me to be that for other young entrepreneurs, I think that’s what they need and that’s what they want, so I’m glad to be that support for them,” Peter said.
“It makes me feel good, like people looking up to me now, right? And they can learn from my mistakes or my obstacles that I’ve had to overcome.”
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