For Po Chau, the owner of Onyx & Ivory, a uniquely designed salon located in Calgary’s Inglewood neighbourhood, having a bright, open-concept space to share their team’s love of hair with the community was top of mind. Unfortunately, their debut was short- lived as their doors opened in November 2019 and just four months later, the salon was forced to temporarily close due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite being open for such a short time, the new salon still had plenty to offer clients, from their extremely friendly and welcoming staff to their stylish layout with beautiful fixtures and furnishings. And then there’s their coffee, tea and assorted beverages bar. “Our bar is a showstopper,” says Chau. “I haven’t been in any salon in Calgary that has a bar setup like we do, and I really wanted that connection with clients, where we serve them a drink and talk to them like in a lounge.”
Make Yourself at Home
Functionality was important to Chau when envisioning her own salon, which she’d been dreaming of since she was just three years old. Wanting everything to fit and flow, from the styling and washing stations to retail display to the colour bar, she also wanted to make sure clients felt welcome throughout the salon, which would end up doubling as a gathering and social space.
With the help of her interior design team at Block Interior Design, Chau was able to create her dream space: a contemporary and modern salon with a nice flow. “Yin and yang is a thing for me,” she says. “So having a proper flow in the salon was very important. I wanted it to be like a house where you walk in and sit and have a drink.”
By creating a space that balances a high-end vibe with a welcoming staff, Chau says the result is a combination of luxury and comfort. “In most salons, you’re stopped in front of the door for reception and I don’t like that feeling. I want you to come in and enjoy yourself, just like you would at home.”
When asked about her salon’s best feature, Chau can’t help but compliment her staff. “The talent is what sets us apart from other salons,” she says. “Darryl, my business partner, and I have over 50 years of combined experience in the industry, and everyone on our team is so talented and work so well together. They’re each able to express their own creativity and execute their own work while helping each other out and picking up any slack.”
Hello and Goodbye
As a new business owner, Chau has had an understandably hard time during the pandemic. “It impacted us quite a bit,” she says. “I care about my team so much and as a leader, it was really hard to see my staff go through this process. That said, the team held so well together and supported each other so much. COVID has definitely impacted us but our great staff and clients have been so supportive. We survived it and now feel like we can survive anything.”