After 22 years in business running hair and body studio Head to Toe, sisters and business owners Shari Macintosh and Staci Kindervater have learned a thing or two about the salon industry.
“You have to be adaptable to change and you have to be able to roll with everything,” Macintosh said. “With ups and downs, with staff changes and customer changes, you have to stay current and keep adding more services.”
“There’s no getting old in this business. You can get old, but you can’t look old,” laughs Macintosh, who along with being the salon co-owner, works as an aesthetician and makeup artist.
Over two decades ago, Macintosh borrowed $10,000 from a boyfriend’s mother and then received a $10,000 dollar loan from Däna Näye Ventures to pursue her salon business.
“Thank God she’s still my friend,” Macintosh says of her original investor.
Those early investments helped Macintosh and Kindervater open Head to Toe in the optometrist building, where Macintosh says their rudimentary salon setup included “the crappiest linoleum and hand painted everything.”
“We just keep building and borrowing, and building and borrowing,” Macintosh said, looking back on their growth, which progressed to the most recent upgrade to their well-established local business: a full expansion in their Mah’s Point location on second avenue and Jarvis Street.
While Head to Toe had already been established at Mah’s Point for five years, Macintosh and Kindervater were offered the new space in January after Amy’s Teahouse closed. The space included focal points like the bar and mid section with chandelier.
“Honestly, how do you say no to a place like this?!” Macintosh says gesturing around the salon.
The Head to Toe owners decided to keep the bar as a centrepiece for mixing and serving and then went one step further.
“(The Yukon government) passed legislation in the Yukon and we got a liquor license in our salon,” Macintosh said, adding that it entailed a lot of research, work and meetings for her and Kindervater.
Head to Toe is the first ever salon to offer a bar service to their customers, including mimosas, house wines, scotch, coffee and baileys, and import and local beer.
“It’s exciting,” Macintosh said. “It’s a really nice added service to your pedicure or haircut, at the end of the day, on Friday, Saturday – or any day of the week!”
Macintosh notes that their new alcoholic beverage service is about relaxation.
“People really put that together with relaxing and sometimes you don’t realize how important that is for people.”
The expansion, which took place in July, has allowed Macintosh and Kindervater to grow individually and together in their shared space; Macintosh owns the esthetics side and Kindervater owns the hair side of the business.
Head to Toe offers a full line of esthetics, pedicures, manicures, facials, waxing, lash extensions, and a full line of hair services as well.
Their salon currently employs six hair stylists, five estheticians and six rotating receptionists that work different hours. The entrepreneurial duo also recently added a stand up tanning booth and an infra-red sauna.
“The infrared sauna is great for chronic pain, fibromyalgia and diabetes,” Macintosh said. “With all the environmental toxins people are exposed to, this sauna is a clean, hypoallergenic way to detoxify the body.”
Macintosh says that what makes their business unique is the the fact that you really can access all services from head to toe, without jumping from salon to salon.
Though sisters Macintosh and Kindervater have been co-running Head to Toe for over 20 years and also juggle families of their own, Macintosh says of their joint business:
“I couldn’t imagine anything else, and we even hang out on our days off!”
Head to Toe is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.