With parents who owned a haircare distribution company, Desiree Catana grew up in the beauty industry. From attending hair shows to running around salons to using products her parents would bring home, she knew it was an industry where she belonged.
What solidified her love of beauty was working at Brittney Banks’ original location: Hair by Banks. Not only did the experience confirm her passion for the industry, but it also birthed a desire to have her own salon one day. And last year, that dream came true when she and Banks joined business forces and opened Baz and Banks.
“The birth of our salon came very organically as Brittney was so supportive of my dream to open my salon, and having her alongside me through the process is a dream come true,” says Catana. “Our vision for the salon was for it to be an inclusive space for all and to inspire other women in business at any age.”
From its beachy aesthetic to its “Instagram-worthy” bathroom, the trendy 1,400-square-foot salon in Toronto’s Liberty Village has many enticing features but perhaps most interesting is what’s missing. Namely, mirrors in front of stylists’ chairs.
“Since our vibe is very relaxed and informal, we have our guests facing the bar and TV instead of mirrors to encourage a condo/homey vibe rather than that of a traditional salon,” says Catana. “No one wants to stare at themselves in a cape with wet hair for three hours. The time goes by quicker for clients sitting and processing when they’re watching the women of The Real Housewives or RuPaul’s Drag Race on TV.”
Make Yourself at Home
If tuning into reality TV isn’t enough to make clients feel comfortable, they’re also welcome to take the edge off at the salon’s fully stocked bar. “We offer drinks that range from a glass of Prosecco to seltzer to IPA beer,” says Catana. “When we say we want you to feel like you’re at your friend’s condo, we really mean it!”
“It’s even decorated with that aesthetic in mind,” she adds. “The decor is similar to what you might see in someone’s condo. The furniture is super comfortable, with lots of rugs to create a home-like vibe. We chose super-neutral furniture and paired it with printed throw pillows, rugs and blankets. We also incorporated lots of accent walls with different Moroccan-inspired tiles and woods to warm up the space.”
Location, Location, Location
While having a cozy and inviting environment was important to the duo, being located in Toronto’s Liberty Village was also a must.
“It was a no-brainer for us,” says Catana. “Liberty Village is a community filled with tons of condos, young professionals and people who don’t want to go very far to get their services done. It has a large population with just two very small salons before we launched. We wanted Baz and Banks to emulate Brittney’s other salon, Hair by Banks—trendy, cozy, serving up drinks with a very young and fun vibe, and there was nothing like it in Liberty Village until now!”
Inclusivity is Key
In addition to her dream of being a salon owner, Catana has always wanted her salon to be an inclusive space where everyone can feel completely at home, which is also why they’ve implemented a gender-neutral pricing model.
“We provide haircuts based on length, not gender, which is a way we help keep our space more inclusive,” she says. “The world has evolved and is continuing to evolve, and we want to make sure we are keeping up with the change. Supporting our friends in the LGBTQ+ community and providing a safe and welcoming space for them was a major priority of ours.”
Opened in 2021
Maddie Clarke Interiors
1,400 square feet