Jacqui Jepson knows there’s no wizardry involved in starting a business. The magic happens through a combination of hard work, grit, determination, and not giving up too soon. Her philosophy has paid off, and she’s grown her residential and commercial cleaning company from a one-woman enterprise into a profitable franchise opportunity.
Hailing from a family of entrepreneurs, Jacqui was always attracted to the idea of controlling her destiny. Life presented the opportunity to grow a part-time cleaning gig into a full business in 2008 when Jacqui and her husband separated. She needed to make money but still be there for her kids, and the idea for The Pink Wand was born. Choosing a name wasn’t difficult: “I like the colour pink! And people sometimes said it was like a miracle after we cleaned their houses, ergo the magic wand.”
Starting small, saving, reinvesting back into the company, a low salary, and living within her means were smart moves that benefitted her new enterprise. Word of mouth from satisfied Airdrie and Calgary clients helped her expand from residential-only to commercial services as her business grew.
Jacqui describes her segue into franchising. “The business was at a point where it was almost self-operational, and I needed something more.” She hired a business coach and, over time, developed her franchise model. After a disappointing experience with a system database provider, Jacqui found a developer and built the franchise system herself with help from her dad, an experienced marketer, accountant, and entrepreneur. Her efforts paid off, and The Pink Wand now has four franchisees, with Jacqui maintaining eleven other locations.
Covid-19 presented many challenges, but Jacqui wasn’t deterred. Faced with a temporary stall of many lucrative commercial contracts, Jacqui knew actively preparing for the new reality was key to a quick recovery. She spent time sourcing PPE suppliers (information she shared with her health services business contacts), equipped her vans and premises with protective barriers, and with solid legal and HR advice, developed new protocols, processes, and waivers to protect both clients and staff.
“Going through the worse times in my life has always led me to success,” she says. “During Covid, we had to temporarily lay people off and implement new measures to protect our clients and ourselves, including rapid testing. It was tough, but it’s what I had to do for my business to keep it going. We follow what our clients dictate, and safety is number one.” As the environment changed, The Pink Wand slowly regained traction, and Jacqui reports June 2021 was one of their best months.
The winner of several Airdrie business awards and featured in The Financial Post as an Alberta Business Awards of Distinction nominee 2021, Jacqui appreciates this recognition. “Winning awards adds reputability to my business, and when you own your own business, you don’t always get a pat on the back. Others don’t always know when you are scraping by to meet payroll.”
Jacqui values community and donates time to SMARTStart, the community-based program supporting new entrepreneurs and existing business owners. Her contribution as a mentor and now in an advisory team capacity is a chance to share her perspective and self-employment journey. She is also a director on her local Community Futures board, dedicated to the growth and expansion of small businesses in the region.