Fairly styled

Former UW Student leads by example as salon owner/operator

One year after re-opening its doors under a new name and new owner, 1104 Beauty Bar is looking to set the trend with its focus on eco-friendly products and an artistic approach to hair and esthetics.

Former University of Winnipeg student Chuong Tran has slowly but surely overseen a shift in the way his salon (located at 1104 Pembina) does business, both in terms of day to day operations as well as gradually integrating into the neighborhood.

“I’d worked here for about two years before I got an offer that I couldn’t really refuse, so I decided to take the plunge and run my own business,” Tran says. “I kind of built up a clientele here, got to know the area really well, got to know some of the people in the area… liked the people, really liked the area, so just decided to set up shop here.”

It takes patience to come to terms with the fact that change doesn’t happen overnight, and yet after a year at the helm, Tran sees clear differences from the way things were run when the salon was Saffire Hair & Esthetics (differences beyond simply offering such rare services as straight-razor shaves for men) most notably in organic and eco-friendly products that also maintain a high level of performance.

“I went through probably about 10 to 15 different brands to be able to single out what I wanted to use and it took a good 6 months to be able to find something that performed well, did everything we need it to, and kind of had that same direction that wasn’t plain and boring” Tran says.

Jenna Waldner, a stylist at 1104, points out the difference in the level of consumption.

“The [new] products are fantastic,” she says. “They are very concentrated, so you don’t need a lot of product, which is great.”

Aside from being made from mostly organic ingredients, Tran says the products are biodegradable and use recycled material for packaging. They also have sulphate, paraben, glycol, silicone, propylene and DEA-free products as well.

The product in question is evo from Australia, and Tran believes they’re setting the standard in the way they develop ecofriendly products because of the extreme pressure to conserve water there, and to reduce consumption in general.

The fall trends (seen above) expose the seasonal feel of a shift in weather, Waldner describes. “The look I was going for was braided hair, kind of bohemian, a little bit messy. The style is looking not to overworked for the fall, just natural hair that can be worked into something like a braid or a twist.”

It’s really refreshing to experience a place in the hair and esthetics world that’s both artistic in its style and socially responsible in its approach. In that sense, Tran is well on his way to realizing his dream: “A salon where people are a little more eco-conscious about the products that they’re using, the health of [themselves]... the general health of the world.”

Published in Volume 68, Number 3 of The Uniter (September 18, 2013)

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