“We opened Artel Cambie in 2017 and that was a commission salon. We eventually got to the point where we couldn’t take on any more stylists! People always used to ask ‘Are you going to open another one?’ and I was like ‘NO!’”
But it seems the universe had other plans for Eliza’s undeniable salon management talents. Overnight, a salon very near her already-functioning Cambie salon closed. It was a salon in a prime location, just waiting for someone to come along and take over the lease. Puh-lease!
“It was two doors down from the Winners right near the train and bus stops and the best thing was that it was already a salon. Turning a space into a salon is a lot of work but this space didn’t have that element to it. We were kind of like ‘Are we crazy for thinking about this!?’ In the end, we couldn’t pass it up.”
Turning a space into a salon is a lot of work but this space didn’t have that element to it. We were kind of like ‘Are we crazy for thinking about this!?’ In the end, we couldn’t pass it up.
After signing the lease last May, a couple of coats of paint, and a bit of interior decorating, Artel #3 opened its doors last August on Cambie. But with two top Vancouver salon locations on the same street, the question of a name kept coming up. As it’s the biggest space of the Artel Salon spaces, Eliza decided to dub it Artel HQ. And as you might imagine, having a sister salon two blocks up from the other has worked out well for the stylists and clients alike: “Thanks to our toggled schedule system, if someone comes in but we’re booked up, we just send them up the street!”
Artel HQ has become the place for the entire Artel family to gather for education and host classes, in addition to housing six permanent stylists. Running a new salon—even one that’s part of a branded family—is no easy feat, which only highlighted the importance of a good team to get Artel HQ up on its feet. Luckily, choosing the team that would lead Artel HQ the ‘Artel way’ was easy for Eliza: “I look for people who lead by example. My Operations Manager Shay, for example. She’s so passionate about business and the operation-side of everything so we can divide and conquer. The Team Lead at each salon is someone who has shown a natural capacity to lead, who encourages the team and manages the team’s accountability. When as a boss I can support my staff, celebrate their success, and recognize the people who are doing amazing work, it goes such a long way for the culture overall.”
When as a boss I can support my staff, celebrate their success, and recognize the people who are doing amazing work, it goes such a long way for the culture overall.
If three top Vancouver salon locations seem like a lot to manage, that’s because you’re a mere mortal. And Eliza is no mortal. “Most of the time it feels like a natural extension. Every once in a while it dawns on me how many people’s livelihoods rest on my shoulders and that’s a bit nerve-wracking! It’s a lot of responsibility but honestly, I’ve been so supported and so lucky in my ten years of doing this that I know I can handle it. It’s a journey that started at and was made possible by my time at Blanche Macdonald.”