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A distinct do

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A distinct do

Glen Sanderson likes it when clients leave happy. IMAGE 1 OF 1
Village salon ticks all the right boxes
Hairdresser. The word can strike terror into the most valiant of hearts. Who among us has not skipped innocently into a posh-looking salon, placing our manes in the hands of an assumed professional, only to skulk out half an hour later looking like a refugee from the land they call Mullet?

Take my current travelling companion (I’m writing this from the road). Last week she entered her local Supercuts possessed of a gleaming ebony do reminiscent of Jacqueline Onassis. Twenty minutes later: Jackie Chan.

So when you find someone who respects both you and your hair, you stick with them. It’s certainly been the secret of success for Glen Sanderson, owner of Distinct Hair Design. “I want every person who walks through our doors to feel a sense of welcome and comfort,” Sanderson says. “Even before they sit down in the chair, I want them to feel like we’re glad they’ve come in.”

Certainly the salon’s décor plays a large role in the space’s sense of relaxed elegance: the walls and work stations are sleek and fuss-free, with a lack of clutter and product posters that is both refreshing and classy. At the back of the room are two sets of French doors, opening up to a secluded courtyard shaded by a beautiful lilac tree.

“It’s a great place for both us and the clients,” Sanderson says. “People can sit out there and process their colours instead of just sitting inside. It’s peaceful and creates the feeling of a nice connection to nature.”

It also dovetails nicely with the salon’s emphasis on ecology and natural alternatives. Sanderson is what one might call a practical conservationist, utilizing eco-friendly products wherever possible, while still maintaining a high professional standard.

“I won’t sacrifice the quality of what’s walking out the door of this salon,” he says. “But there are many eco-friendly products that are every bit as good, or better, than the old standards. Our main colour line here is Schwarzkopf’s ammonia-free line, and we use a wonderful biodegradable shampoo called Sojourn.”

Sanderson admits that his commitment to lowering both his personal and professional eco-footprint can occasionally mean a more slender profit margin. “If that costs me a dollar or two more, then so be it. We’re all citizens of the world, and we’ve got to take ownership of it or we’re going to lose it.”

The ability to make such decisions is definitely part of the delight that he takes in owning his own business. A latecomer to hairdressing, he formerly worked as a wig stylist and window designer for The Bay, while moonlighting as co-host for the now-defunct Bar 501’s infamous window shows and drag bingo in the guise of Mr Bunny LeBlanc. Giving up a regular salary — with benefits — was a scary prospect, but the lure of entrepreneurial freedom was too strong to ignore.

“I went back to school in my mid-30s,” he says. “I haven’t looked back since. My goal was to own my own salon by the age of 45, and, well, mission accomplished!”

Now just more than a year old, Distinct is doing a bustling business — enough to keep Sanderson and his team of stylists busy five days a week (they’re closed Sundays and Mondays). They stay on top of trends and techniques with courses and seminars, and, miracle of miracles, seem to genuinely enjoy working with each other. It’s a busy life, and Sanderson loves every hectic second of it.

“I really like the responsibility,” he says. “I like that when our clients leave happy, whether I was the stylist or not, I can take pride in that I created this business and created this atmosphere. That makes me very happy.”

Distinct Hair Design is located at 97 Maitland St.

See distincthairdesign.com or phone 416-551-2266 to book an appointment.

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Distinct is the best
I followed Alison , once she started doing my hair I felt like I belong there and you better know that no one "NO ONE "touches my hair but her. Congrats folks a great place to make us feel and look even better about ourselves
@Roy Advertorials
Its not my role tell you the meaning of Advertorials; there's world of difference between that and news stories do your own research.
Its not my role tell the meaning of Advertorials; there's world of difference between that and news stories do your own research.
@Michel - feature stories vs news stories
Michel, I really don't see much of a difference between Xtra doing a feature story on a local LGBT business, and the numerous past occasions where Xtra published a feature story on the latest work of a local LGBT artist or musician (e.g., displaying their latest photographs at a coffee shop in Parkdale) or a published a story on the latest proclamation of a local LGBT activist (e.g., one person holding a protest outside a film festival or writing a letter to a politician). These types of stories don't represent a major news event, but Xtra publishes them because they are presumably of interest to many of its LGBT readers.
LGBT businesses (Roy)
Folksy business advertorials dressed up as news stories, should be publish once in Blue Moon, hopefully Xtra has no plans to publish a plethora of them as per Roy's suggestion. Xtra is a national newspaper not a Farmers Almanac.
LGBT businesses
I think it's good for Xtra to do "feature stories" on different types of LGBT businesses in Toronto - rather than just the usual fare of bars, bathhouses, strip clubs and angry activists. Serafin LaRiviere seems to be good at these types of feature stories. One thing Serafin may want to consider is doing stories on LGBT businesses outside the Church-Wellesley area (e.g., gay-owned businesses that may be located in an area of Toronto known for fashion, furniture or food, gay-owned bed and breakfast establishments in towns like Niagara-on-the-Lake, or a non-traditional gay-owned business that may be located in an industrial park). Similarly, Serafin may want to do a story on the leading LGBT-owned medical or veterinary practices in Toronto or the leading LGBT realtors in Toronto. There are many talented and creative entrepreneurs in the LGBT community and we should learn more about them.
HOW IS THIS NEWS ??!! Should this not be in a gossip column? I understand the benefits to The Village of portraying LGBT businesses. But we should not be duped by this shallow gossip about hair --mixed in with news. Would it not be telling if such tripe would get more comments than any other news article? LOL
I'm surprised at the fisrt comment. I've been going to this salon since it opened. Glen has been cutting and colouring my hair for quite some time now and I've always been happy. It's too bad Xtra comments always brings out the worst, and is why I try not to read them.
This Salon
It is unfortunate this client was displeased with his experience at my salon.
The services provided were exactly as requested on all three separate occasions.
At Distinct Hair Design we are committed to customer satisfaction. Our repeat business and growing clientele gives us confidence that we are successful in meeting this goal.
This salon sucks bags
Been to this salon and glen fried my hair hi coloring job is no good I have had to drive to montreal to see my own hair stylist I had to go to this salon 3 times just to get glen to fix it it just was bad all around do not go to this salon they suck bags
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