London

Entrepreneur offers hope to women with auto-detailing business in London, Ont.

A small, independently-owned auto-detailing business in London, Ont. is hiring women in need of new skills and a second chance.

Layla Kh created the concept to honour late brother, advocate of those experiencing homelessness

Layla Kh is founder of Cover Girls Auto Detailing. She created the business to help women in need get on their feet. (Angela McInnes/CBC )

A small, independently-owned auto-detailing business in London, Ont. is hiring women in need of new skills and a second chance.

Layla Kh, entrepreneur and founder of Cover Girls Auto Detailing, said she came up with the idea for the business following the death of her older brother, Sam. 

"We used to pass around food to homeless people," Kh said. "He had a big desire of helping the ones who are in need." 

Kh said that when she went with her brother to pass out food, she would often meet women experiencing homelessness and learn about their struggles firsthand.  

She opened Cover Girls in the city's west end in September, aiming to help women overcome barriers and build a sense of independence. 

An employee for Cover Girls Auto Detailing vacuum's a client's car. (Angela McInnes/CBC)
 

The single-garage shop offers exterior and interior car cleaning services. Cover Girls is meant to be a source of income for its employees and a second home.

"This is a place where I want to be able to help them to get back on their feet, to believe in life again, to have hope again, and to say they can do it as well," said Kh. 

"It will be a big help for those that really don't feel comfortable to go somewhere else to work," she added. 

'Family values, hard work and dedication'

Since opening, employees Manveen (Moon) Kaur and Clara Musazade have learned to provide detailing services such as waxing, vacuuming and shampooing to a growing clientele. 

Kaur, who found Cover Girls through a friend, said it's been empowering to come to work. 

"I've learned about family values, hard work and dedication," Kaur said. 

For Musazade, working at Cover Girls has been an opportunity to connect with the wider community that comes through the door.  

"It's exciting for us to have communication with different people of what their thoughts are and what their life goals are and what they're going through," said Musazade. "It makes you feel good actually to accomplish good things and help to make someone smile." 

Kh said that for the foreseeable future, she plans to continue to hire only women for the shop and hopes to eventually expand the business. 

Cover Girls Auto Detailing, located on Oxford Street West, opened in September. (Angela McInnes/CBC)

The end goal, she said, is to provide as many women as possible with opportunities for a better life.  

"We can do it. We can do detailing. We can become mechanics, we can become construction workers," she said. 

"It's the power within us that we need to show it out there, that we can do it." 

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