Iconic Vancouver hair salon Suki’s celebrates 50 years in enterprise

Iconic Vancouver hair salon Suki’s celebrates 50 years in enterprise

Considered one of Vancouver’s most prestigious and awarded hair salons is marking 50 years in enterprise.

Suki’s Hair Salon is based by Suki Takagi, initially from Tokyo, Japan.

Takagi started her profession working for Gene Shacove in Beverly Hills, whom she describes because the “godfather of the trade” in the US and whose purchasers included prime film stars and fashions, together with Elizabeth Taylor.

She says she remembers Beverly Hills dominated by male hairdressers within the Nineteen Sixties, whereas girls got shampoo or manicure duties.

However Takagi, who was the highest scholar at her magnificence faculty, says all that mattered was expertise.

Suki Takagi is pictured with Canadian architect Arthur Erickson within the Nineteen Eighties. (Suki’s Hair Salon)

“I used to be very profitable in Beverly Hills,” she stated.

“It did not matter who you’re, Asian or Japanese or girls, so long as you are good.”

In 1972, Takagi moved along with her husband to Vancouver and bought her first salon — which nonetheless exists in the South Granville neighbourhood. 

Constructing an organization that can ‘by no means discriminate’

As Takagi walked into the property with desires of constructing Vancouver’s finest salon, Takagi says she was confronted with a grim actuality. 

“Shock, shock. All of the stylists working in that salon stated, ‘We won’t work with girls nor Asians. We’ll by no means work for Asian,’ they usually walked out,” she stated. 

“And the shopper stated very related issues. They didn’t belief feminine hairdressers.”

Suki’s hair salon celebrates 50 years of enterprise in Vancouver

Founder Suki Takagi shares how she skilled discrimination when she first began out within the hairdressing enterprise.

In that second, she says she selected the philosophy her firm would observe for years to come back.

“Irrespective of what number of years I’ll take, I’ll construct an organization that can by no means, by no means discriminate [based on] nationality, race, color of the pores and skin, faith or no faith, tradition, customized, language and really importantly, sexual orientation,” she stated. 

“And for these 50 years, I am very proud to say we now have by no means been compromised.”

Over 5 many years, Takagi’s enterprise has grown from the unique five-chair salon to 5 upscale salons throughout three cities — together with Victoria and Surrey — and a hairstyling academy, with practically 200 workers.

‘100% high quality and all style’

When she opened her salon in Vancouver, Takagi says she needed to carry one thing new to the desk. 

That meant rapidly adapting her work to town’s wet local weather. 

She says she designed distinctive hairstyles for every visitor that not solely complemented their hair sort and bone construction, but in addition suited their way of life and occupation. 

“It is fashion-forward,” stated Lisa Tant, a mode professional and shopper at Suki’s Salon. 

“You may have your individual in all places you go, and for me, it was coming to Suki’s first as a result of I knew it could be 100 per cent high quality and all style,” Tant stated. 

Suki Takagi is pictured in Vancouver, B.C., on Nov. 23. Her enterprise, now 50 years in enterprise, has grown to incorporate places throughout three cities, and a hairstyling academy. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

“To have maintained the extent of high quality and excessive type for 50 years is a outstanding expertise and much more tough for a single mom, a lady of color, to do at such a excessive degree on a regular basis,” she added.

Ashley Hood, normal supervisor at Suki’s, describes the corporate as a “profession salon” with a really low turnover of hairdressers.

She says individuals who come to work at Suki’s discover a sense of group and have a tendency to remain and develop collectively.

“Considered one of Suki’s first apprentices, Kenny, remains to be working right here to at the present time. He is been with us for 47 years,” she stated.

“All of us simply sort of develop and develop collectively. I have been right here for 15 years and within the historical past of Suki’s, that is similar to somewhat tiny blip.”

To have a good time 50 years in enterprise, Suki’s hairdressing staff will current 5 reveals from Nov. 27 to Nov. 29 at Dr. Solar Yat-Sen Classical Chinese language Backyard in Chinatown.