With the 10th anniversary of Dat Salon comes a brand-new name! Throughout the past 10 years, there has always been a deep commitment to innovation and the endless pursuit of creativity. Fuelled by an artistically motivated generation and passion for tailored experiences, Dat Salon was a modern and contemporary staple in the heart of the Queen St. West neighbourhood. This summer, Dat Salon will take on a new name under their recently launched 'Album Hair' brand.
Q. How has your career changed since opening the salon?
A. Dat Salon was started on the Hairdramatic philosophy that all hair should tell a story. Beginning from this philosophy, I was inspired and motivated to create a space of creativity, inspiration and trust for anyone who worked with me or sat in a chair as a client. Constant investment in education and bringing back innovations from global inspirations helped us to build our individual style and aesthetic that mirrored our values.
My focus shifted from just the service, and grew to larger vision of empowerment for our team and help them service clients with their own individuality, sense of purpose and style. Shifting our focus to build memorable experiences and meaningful relationships with our clients has allowed us all to constantly evolve. I'm constantly challenging myself to see how we can all continue to bring more to our clients and help build the communities around us. This eventually led us to explore new ways to do this under a more consolidated effort - through Album Hair.
Q. What have you learned about the business over the years?
A. Taking the time to listen is really important. Having strong two-way communication with clients, internal teams, and to others in the industry. Investing in new innovations and services to support the growth of the team is also extremely important. To stimulate growth in all aspects, you need to keep on trying new ideas to promote the business and the team. Making sure we have consistent positive exposure through online and offline touchpoints is also critical. For instance, exposing ourselves as session stylists, collaborating with other creatives, and doing shows like The Social, entering Contessa (and winning), writing for beauty publications like The Kit, being featured on Bangstyle, Naha etc, the list goes on.
Q. How did you decide to change the name of your salon?
A. As with many things, the temperature for change was rising. The needs of customers were evolving and I saw an opportunity to shift our focus to really service these changing needs. We were looking to create a new salon to support this new shift and there was an innate truth about hair being a big part of our identity and snapshot of our lives; the nostalgia and memories tied to who we are at any given point in time. I wanted to create a salon that was all about being part of that memorable journey - so I came up with the name Album Hair.
Album Hair will be hyper-focused on personalization and services that will embody every individual and their changing needs. The way I want us to operate is to become a part of this intimate journey with our customers. That's how Album Hair came to be. We opened the first Album Hair location in 2018. This then led us to a 2019 Contessa Award and being a finalist for Naha 2020.
Q. What have been the celebrations (or struggles) over the past years as a salon owner?
A. Over the years, we've made many contributions to the industry and have been very fortunate to have been featured in numerous publications recognized by our peers as well as clientele. With Dat Salon, I built a brand through my portfolio and collection of editorials over the years, which was almost like a reflection of my own Album of Hair works.
Everything from the editorial photoshoots to education for the salon, it was a team effort. When we won Contessa for Album Hair- Salon Design of the year, we were all able to share that moment on stage as a collective team. To be able to share all our successes together as a team is the most rewarding experience one could ask for.
Shifting gears to a new brand presented a new set of challenges of course. Adapting to a new model for operation and services was a bit slow to start and we learned from a lot of trial and error. With the new app that launched for Album Hair, a proprietary loyalty and rewards app we developed, we were faced with some technical challenges and there was a huge learning curve.
Despite all the challenges, we're ready to go all in to continue to take risks and bring something fresh to our clients and industry as a whole. Celebrating my first decade of being in the salon business, it felt like the right time to take the next leap, and consolidate both salons under the new brand Album Hair.
Q. What is your favorite thing about being a salon owner?
A. Being able to take on new challenges! I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit and being a salon owner helped me constantly learn, change, adapt and build. With a stable foundation now firmly established, I can take risks on new ideas, manage multiple locations, create an app, and even producing my own product line. All these exciting challenges were made possible by being a salon owner.