This business savvy Edmonton salon owner is redefining the role of traditional salon owner.
At Icon Hair & Body in downtown Edmonton, you won’t find the salon’s owner, Christina Aitchison, behind the chair. In fact, she’s never worked a single day as a hairstylist. Instead, with her background in marketing and business, Aitchison dedicates herself solely to the growth and development of her business and team.
“I run everything from staff meetings and team development to front-desk and marketing,” she says. “I am passionate about growing our people and salon, and creating a great work environment for our team. It’s important to me to empower them to be creative and to hone in on their skills. I let them be the artist and it’s my role to support them.”
While Aitchison has professional beauty experience as a makeup artist, it was her business acumen that helped grow her business from a hair salon to a hair salon and spa. In 2015, the salon was rebranded to Icon Hair & Body, and offers a range of hairstyling, nail and spa services, and caters to a large bridal and male clientele.
The rebranding included a two-phase renovation, which was completed earlier this year. Aitchison and her contractor worked with existing elements of the space while she (with input from her salon team) elevated the décor—everything from the fixture choices to paint colours—to create a welcoming environment for both her staff and clients.
“My main goal was to utilize our space better and increase our revenue potential,” she says. “As a business, sometimes you can get so wrapped up in the look and feel for the client, but at the end of the day we have to make sure it makes sense revenue- and pro t-wise.” Adding a new styling station (bringing the salon’s total to eight), Aitchison also added a four-person pedicure bench to boost pro ts. To enhance the salon’s service areas, she upgraded the ooring and shampoo area, which now features four backwash sinks.
The salon has also incorporated two makeup stations, two manicure stations, two treatment rooms and a vast retail space.
Rather than an all-white décor, Aitchison opted for a slightly more colourful approach. “My vision was to create a gender-neutral space that still felt warm and inviting,” she explains. “While a lot of salons are going with white and keeping things quite [minimal], we decided to go with a blue wall colour. And for all of our fixtures, we kept them black and white to keep them neutral.”
The pièce de résistance? The salon’s central cutting space, which features an expansive, circular design. “It is a curved wall in a circle design, which creates a beautiful open environment,” says Aitchison. “Instead of having squared walls, it’s a big, open curve. It really gives the place a wow factor.”
Making a Difference
Icon Hair & Body has been a Green Circle salon since 2012, and has gone above and beyond to make their space environmentally friendly.
In addition to recycling their colour, tubes and foils, Aitchison says her salon has added natural wood and greenery into the space, implemented eco-friendly practices, including switching all lighting to LED and adding eco- heads to shampoo hoses to decrease water consumption and further reduce their carbon footprint.
“It’s not just about the look and feel of the space, but also our environmental impact,” she says. “We wash all of our laundry in cold water to use less energy, we use [reusable] wool dryer balls instead of dryer sheets. We use micro ber towels because they dry faster and use less energy, and we use hand towels instead of paper towels.”
While Aitchison says their renovation is completed for now, they are in the middle of opening their second location in Edmonton, which is scheduled to open next year.