Linda Skagen may be new to Chemainus, but the hairstyling business is old hat.
Skagen took over the former Shear Impressions location at 9877 Maple St. at the end of October and opened Nov. 1, renaming it the Studio 77 Salon, with new signage still to come.
“I’ve owned eight salons,” explained Skagen. “This is No. 9. Most of them were in Calgary.”
Skagen was born in Saskatoon, but raised in Calgary and lived in many other locations before recently moving to Chemainus.
Calgary was becoming way too large, prompting Skagen and husband Mark to move. They have seven children in various B.C. and Alberta locations and Skagen graduated from high school in 1977 so seven seems to be a lucky number that crops up in the business name.
“We’ve been wanting to move out here for many years,” she said. “We were out here off and on to check it out.
“We knew the area where we wanted to be. We wanted to be between Campbell River and Victoria.”
After scouting out opportunities on the Internet, they jumped at the chance with Shear Impressions.
“I’ve bought a few businesses,” noted Skagen. “I used to own a restaurant and a clothing store. We have done a lot.”
Skagen works a double-sided business with Studio 77 for the women and The Barber for the men. It was a quick transition of just a few days from the takeover date to opening.
“Literally in the first two months I was here from Nov. 1 when I opened to Christmas, I probably did – I can’t even count – I’m going to say 700 clients.”
Business is definitely booming, you might say.
“One day, I’m looking for an aesthetician and a nail tech as well,” Skagen added.
She also will be looking into adding a couple of chair renters. “I can’t fill all the needs when I’m working by myself,” she reasoned.
Skagen has 41 years of experience as a stylist and 30 years in the business. She started training right through high school and became licensed to do hair in 1977 before graduation.
“I furthered my training consistently,” Skagen indicated. “When you walk out of school, you think you know everything. You know nothing.”
She worked her way up from the bottom in the trade, sweeping floors first and eventually moving up to do brush-outs and comb-outs. “You did one thing at a time,” Skagen indicated.
Part of her expertise she’s passed on to others as an educator for colour and cutting to train competitors. Eight of those she trained came first in competitions and two others were each second and third.
At Studio 77, Skagen leaves 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. for walk-ins on a first come, first served basis, with appointment booking from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
In what’s sure to be a statement about how the sexes function, she finds men will frequently just walk in while women book ahead for appointments. It’s a bit tricky juggling the schedule because most women’s appointments take between 45 minutes and an hour while a guy’s haircut usually takes all of 15 minutes.
Skagen estimates she’s done 200 men’s haircuts in two months. She’s getting to know the regulars, starting to recognize people on the street and assessing the clientele of the area.
“I would like to bring in some men’s services like hot towels, that sort of thing,” Skagen pondered.
The shop was in decent condition to move right in which made things somewhat easier.
“We are in the process of making some changes,” noted Skagen. “We’re redesigning on paper. It will come to fruition.”