Don’t let anyone tell you to never mix business and pleasure. For Victoria Jazic, Blanche Macdonald graduate and Salon Owner at Honey Hair Lounge in downtown Vancouver, running her own thriving business is a pleasure.
“I get here early,” she explains during a rare few minutes between clients. “I turn everything on, get the laundry going, check emails and voicemails, pay bills and make orders before the first client arrives. Doing hair is my passion, but it’s also fun making decisions about what the business should do – like more education, bridal parties or special events. Kevin Murphy sends its educators here to teach our stylists and we’ve even done some classes with clients about how they can style their own hair. We put in a lot of effort to go above and beyond for every client and to make them have a great experience.”
Doing hair is my passion, but it’s also fun making decisions about what the business should do.
Great service, cuts and colours are the cores of Victoria’s business, but she also appreciates that a truly successful organization does more than generate dollars.
“We’re in Davie Village, which is a real community,” she continues. “It’s important to be involved and to bring something positive to that community, even if everyone isn’t getting their hair cut here. People say hello or bring their dogs in for treats. I was part of the team before I took over the business back when this salon was called Volume. We were so involved in the community it just seemed natural to carry on doing the same.”
Victoria would freely admit that the leap from stylist to Salon Owner was a bold decision. She’s been making them since she was a girl growing up in Whistler.
“My parents told me that for my 11th birthday I could do whatever I wanted to my hair. They thought it would be fun. I looked through the magazines of hairstyles in the salon and said ‘that one!’ I cropped it into a pixie-cut and coloured it red.”
The program at Blanche Macdonald had the most education and the most depth.
Everything I read said it was the best school, so why not go with the best?
Colour played a major role in young Victoria’s life. The painting-obsessed high school student was considering heading to university for a fine arts degree for a while. The realization of the career limitations facing full-time artists persuaded her to focus her considerable creative talents elsewhere.
“I didn’t really like graphic design or anything that could be a practical career,” she smiles. “I loved doing my own hair, so I spoke to a friend who was a stylist about her experiences. I did some research and spoke to people who’d been to hair school. The program at Blanche Macdonald had the most education and the most depth. Everything I read said it was the best school, so why not go with the best?”
This future Salon Owner made the trip south to Vancouver (“I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it but I ended up loving it!”) and began her hair education in Blanche Macdonald’s Pro Hair program. She could never have expected that one of her favourite instructors would eventually become a key team member at Honey Hair Lounge.
“Lisa Callender was my teacher for a few of the levels. I always loved her. She was really hands-on in class. She’s very honest and tells it how it is. At the same time, she’s super funny. We knew we were learning properly. There was never the opportunity to develop bad habits.
“I can still remember the first men’s cut I ever did. The teacher was there the entire time to check, but there was still a lot of combing, checking and rechecking before each cut. The instructors weren’t going to let me do something that would make me look bad or the client leave unhappy. It took me about five hours to cut his hair because I was so nervous. But it turned out great.”
Lisa Callender was my teacher for a few of the levels. I always loved her. She was really hands-on in class. She’s very honest and tells it how it is. At the same time, she’s super funny. We knew we were learning properly. There was never the opportunity to develop bad habits.
The cuts were so good by the time Victoria approached graduation, she was offered a job before she’d even received her diploma.
“Jordan Nogiec, one of my friends at Hair School, had done his work experience at Volume. The owner was looking to hire another grad and Jordan recommended me. The first shift after I graduated I was on the floor as a stylist.”
Victoria had been working at Volume for five years when its owners decided to move away from Vancouver. Their first choice to take over the business was already on the salon floor.
“The owners would always joke that it would be me taking over. Of course it was a really big step but I thought I might as well go for it!
“All the team stayed. They were happy I was going to take over. I’m super-lucky I have a lot of people in my life that run their own businesses. My grandparents had opened sporting goods stores in Whistler years ago. My grandfather told me they had no idea what they were doing when they started either. They learned one day at a time and so did I.”
The owners would always joke that it would be me taking over. Of course it was a really big step but I thought I might as well go for it!
And so began the metamorphosis of Volume into Honey Hair Lounge. Beyond changing the name and the colour scheme, Victoria’s biggest challenge was transforming from a stylist to a Salon Owner.
“It’s rewarding even though it’s a lot of work. I was used to working full time as a stylist. Suddenly I needed to make sure all the products were ordered, all the bills were paid and everyone was scheduled and managed correctly. I quickly learned to focus on one thing at a time and not get overwhelmed.”
A major part of this Salon Owner’s quest to stay grounded was to keep doing what she loves: creating with colour and making sure every client leaves the salon with great hair.
“My focus these days is colour. I do a lot of balayage and highlights. I have friends who love crazy colours – purples, pinks and blues – and that’s always fun. It’s so interesting when you have a new colour client. I need to know all the information so we can get to the end result. It’s a science. It’s math and creativity together. You need to know what you’re doing when you’re formulating. Do they have colour in their hair already? What was it? When was it done? What’s the goal and can we achieve it in one sitting?”
Science, artistry and economics are everyday activities for Salon Owner Victoria. So is psychology: especially when evaluating potential stylists to join the team at Honey Hair Lounge.
As a stylist you need to want to grow. You need to keep educating yourself.
“When a client finds a stylist they like it’s mostly about personality. Do they feel comfortable in their chair? That’s as important as what the stylist does to their hair. As a stylist you need to want to grow. You need to keep educating yourself. You have to be passionate about your clients and about what you do.
“Professional skills are essential but your attitude is even more important. You can always improve your skills but if you don’t have a good attitude it’s so hard in the working environment. There’s a fun environment here, so we need someone who enjoys coming into work and sharing that energy.”
You need to be sweet to work at Honey Hair Lounge. Victoria wouldn’t have it any other way.