20 Eco-Conscious Practices, Sustainability and Inclusivity in Salons. Supporting the Community with Hairdressing with Alicia Lumsden from Queen’s Shop

Dec 21, 2021 | Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Environmental Health, Episodes, Sustainability

My Kindness Calendar's Maran Stern-Kubista

Alicia Lumsden from Queen’s Shop Fine Hairdressing created a salon where sustainability and community could co-exist. In this episode, we learn what sustainable means in the hairdressing world, and how Alicia deals with the salon’s waste from hair clippings to water and packaging – and how her battle with environmental sensitivities influenced these decisions. We discover how she’s using the salon to help alleviate food insecurity in her neighbourhood, what she’s doing about gratuities and wages, and why Queen’s Shop is a model for what is possible. A salon with respect for the community and the environment.

If you want to learn more about Alicia and her sustainable and inclusive beauty salon visit Queen’sShopHair.com. In Toronto? Visit Queen’s Shop to enjoy an uplifting salon experience. No matter your age, gender, race, or orientation. You can follow along with Alicia on her mission to promote sustainability within the beauty space. At Instagram @queensshophair

About the Host


I'm Jennifer Myers Chua. The Host and Producer of the Cost Of Goods Sold podcast. I'm an entrepreneur, a creative, a cookbook fanatic, mother.  I have always been interested in hearing people's stories and I've been determined to change the world for as long as I can remember.

You'll find me at home in Toronto deconstructing recipes, listening to podcasts, enjoying time with friends or wandering alone through a big city.  I'm excited to have you here. Let's do better, together.


Episode Transcript


[00:02:17] Jennifer Chua: Alicia Lumsden founded Queen’s Shop Fine Hairdressing. A boutique hair salon in Toronto’s Bloordale neighborhood in the city’s west end. She opened Queen’s Shop with sustainability, beauty and community in mind. Words displayed on the shop’s front window. Providing some insight into Alicia’s mission. And for the last seven years, Queen’s Shop has been doing its part. Alicia has created a more sustainable salon by focusing on eco-conscious products and practices. And caring for the environment and the health of her community. 1% of their sales go to The Stop and Trees For Life. Projects which provide healthy food, foster social connections, build food skills, promote civic engagement, and build the tree canopy in and around the community. and for Alicia, how to communicate the Queen’s Shop’s impact. Has been on her mind.

[00:03:10] Alicia Lumsden:  I’ve just been really trying to take a step back and re-look at things. For me, it’s always been important to not follow what the average person is doing. Whether it’s my physical identity or just what I do on a day to day. I’ve actually been thinking this week about sustainability or caring about our people and our planet. How do we then change our message? That that is just the standard and then evolve into a more unique brand?

[00:03:47] Jennifer Chua: And it’s a message worth sharing. According to Green Circle Salons, 63,000 pounds of hair gets thrown away each day, producing greenhouse gases, as it breaks down, contributing to climate change. 850 pounds of waste was created and measured in one year by Queen’s Shop alone. However they recycle and repurpose 95% of salon waste, including hair clippings, foils, packaging, and excess color. Hair color, lightener and toner or thrown away every day. And when rinsed down the drain, they can find their way back into our drinking water and soil.

I met Alicia through Kristy and Brianna at Decade Impact. You might remember them from episode 14. Alicia and I went through the B Corp readiness program together. A hair salon was one of the last businesses that I had naively thought could create positive impact. And after hearing all of the careful considerations that the Queen’s Shop team has taken in terms of social environmental initiatives. I was left so inspired because no matter what your industry is, there’s small changes you can take. To build a really special, impactful business and lower the carbon footprint, even in a salon.

And before opening Alicia had been hairdressing for nine years. She also spent time as a makeup artist and a wardrobe on film sets. She ended up at a popular Toronto salon where she spent several years being taught and mentored by hairstylists she respected. But when Alicia went through a separation, everything changed.

[00:05:16] Alicia Lumsden:  I think at that point when I was opening, I always did want to open. But you get complacent with life. Nothing’s really urging you to take that next step. But I was in a position where I had. It was a couple years out of my separation and just kind of like, well, what else is there? When you leave that big dramatic thing in your life and you have to reevaluate what’s going on and what’s actually going to make you happy that’s where I was at.

[00:05:45] Jennifer Chua: Also at this time, Alicia was not feeling well. She had a massive, knot in her stomach and some other health issues. Which led her to realize that she had food sensitivities or allergies. I mean, Something was up. And it wasn’t immediately clear what was wrong. While she began to look more into nutrition, environmental allergies, her husband at the time began to look at food and the world in general, from a climate perspective. He began to be concerned about prepping for the end of the world, future doom scenarios. And Alicia didn’t take it that far, but it did open her eyes to the realities of the changing world and her place in it.

And looking back now at her younger self, Alicia was always interested in how she could affect change.

[00:06:28] Alicia Lumsden: I was always. Well, we can’t waste that or that doesn’t go on the garbage that goes into the recycling or like, well, where can I help? I think actually that was the bigger thing too. all those environmental things were definitely key for me. Loving animals, wanting to be outside in the garden. But I think also, even though I was quiet and I’m a very small person I was still the first to speak up about something. So if people were bullying others, I was still like, eh, what do you, doing? So, I mean, I think all of those things… who I am today as a person, whether it’s what I care about for the planet or what I care about for people it’s. Yeah, it was all there as a child.

[00:07:10] Jennifer Chua: Queen’s Shop is a diverse and inclusive space. What do you mean by that?

[00:07:14] Alicia Lumsden: I want . Everyone to feel welcome. So one thing I heard when I was hairdressing as a career before opening, was that, you know, someone would walk into a space and they would just feel judged. They would feel like they needed to do their hair before they went to the salon to feel accepted. To be there. And to me that was just like, you’re paying me. Why am I, I mean, I’m full of judgments. I’m a Virgo full of judgement. But like there’s no need to make someone else feel awful because you’re analyzing what’s going on. I think that’s what a lot of people do. Predominantly as a protective thing for themselves, their ego kind of comes out and wants to like, I dunno, fight for them. And so they ended up treating others poorly. I think that’s the biggest thing. Salons tend to have big egos and there’s just no place anywhere for a big mean ego.

[00:08:16] Jennifer Chua: Just an aside in the nineties, I used to go to Coupe Bizzarre on queen street. I went there because I wanted very out there asymmetrical cuts and they were really the best at that, but that was a space where I very much did feel judgment. And then as I transitioned through my life, so then I remember I was like 26 and I was still going there. Two stylists I would go between. And I remember saying, but I have a job now at like a corporate place. So we need to, we need to transition somehow into something that is a little, and they were just not impressed with my life choices.

[00:08:53] Alicia Lumsden: Oh yeah. Yeah. I can totally see that being a thing. I think Coupe is the extreme and with that, eventually, if you didn’t know you sooner or later knew that it was just where you went to have something a certain way. You didn’t really have the conversation.

You just, you just got what you got and it was going to be great, but you got what you got. But even, even everywhere else, you still get the subtleties of oh, you’re not good enough to be here. You know? It’s like, have you ever walked into like a really expensive store in your sweats. And then you go in like a week later in your really nice trench coat and like all of your jewelry on and the way you’re treated it’s just night and day. I’m like, I still have the same money, same person.

[00:09:42] Jennifer Chua: So what is the experience of walking into your shop? what happens when someone comes and visits you?

[00:09:47] Alicia Lumsden: What happens is that someone walks in and they’re greeted with I guess the feeling of a friendly smile, cause he can’t see our smiles and just acknowledged, welcomed, show them around, get them all set up and uh, Comfortable. Right now I feel like it’s a little different and less nice, but Before, it’s definitely very homey. I’d like to make people feel at home. Definitely as a human, I get a little anxious being a hostess because I want to make sure that all the things are done, but in the salon space, it’s nice. We show them around. We tell them exactly what’s expected of them. Bring them coffee and tea, any other beverages they might want and just continuously direct them. I think that’s the big thing that I’m always letting new staff know is that this is your home. And every client is a guest and it is your responsibility to let them know where they can put their coat. If they need to take their shoes off. If they would like a beverage, where they’re going to stay and hangout while you leave the room for a moment and come back, when their stylist is going to come. Those are all little things that will allow the person to be put at ease and know their place. And I think that’s on a, on a bigger thought, we all just want to know our place.

[00:11:08] Jennifer Chua: We’ve had the opportunity to talk a lot about diversity, equity and inclusion outside of this conversation. And I know that that is really important to you. What is the makeup of your staff look like? How are you being inclusive as a business owner?

[00:11:25] Alicia Lumsden: It is predominantly women. We’re not all women. No. And we don’t all identify as she So that, that is the thing. I don’t think I’m not judging anyone on what their gender is or what their look is. I want men, women, non binary to work in this space, and I want people with interesting unique styles. I want them to actually show their, their style. I think as, as was commented recently that I don’t have a dress code. I do have a dress code is just, is professional trendy. You don’t have to wear all black. You don’t have to wear all white, but you have to be professional in your style. Because hairdressers are artists. So they should be representing their style. Whether that’s through their, their clothing, their hair or whatever that might be, they should still be representing that. When it comes to ethnicity, I think that’s always a challenging one because I can’t I can’t just go out and be like, you, I need you. Cause you’re gonna fix this. Especially when you’re looking for skills and I, I definitely want it and I encourage it. I often actually find more comfort in it if I can find it, if it comes my way and they fit the space. And that’s the other side too, is like everyone that comes in to be hired. I, I asked them, do you understand what the word sustainability means? And so I kinda need someone who’s interested in at least learning about it.

And so I find that even as it is, I already cut down the amount of people that I can hire for any position in this space, because of that, because people just don’t don’t necessarily care, which is unfortunate, but hoping I can change that. I don’t really talk about this. So I guess this is another part of why, if I can find people of different ethnicities it’s actually important to me. I’m a quarter Japanese. And my mom definitely grew up in a time being half Japanese where she was made fun of, a lot, and often. And I think it intensely impacted the way she evolved as a human as an adult. I think there’s just so much trauma for her growing up in a time when, I mean, I think, I think.

People from Japan couldn’t be citizens until maybe five years before she was born in Canada. Which is just, it’s just mind blowing when you think about it. You know, when I think about that, my own ancestors had property and had all that taken from them and put it into a camp because there was a war going on somewhere else. They were instantly accused of of doing wrong when they just simply were born somewhere. I think that’s, that’s a big part of why I do want diversity and inclusion everywhere I can. You have a different skin color, whether you don’t have the funds you know, whether you’re, you’re having a hard time, whether you’re living on the street, whatever your situation is. I think I think we all just deserve a little love and compassion.

[00:14:41] Jennifer Chua: I do want to get back to how you’re supporting your community, but I would love to talk about sustainability. When you were in hair school or acting as a hairstylist or working in that space and you began to look at things like conventional hair care products and conventional treatments, did you find anything surprising?

A lot of people fall into the interest of sustainability in different ways. They will start exploring, going down some sort of route and be like, this is not what I thought it was at all. Or I can’t believe how much plastic waste we have here. Or I can’t believe that this choice I’m making actually impacts someone else down the line in a different way than I thought originally.

[00:15:23] Alicia Lumsden: We had two big bins in the, in the basement. I guess three where I worked. One was garbage. One was recycling and I mean, that was always a little thing for me to like that doesn’t belong in there. And then the big hair bin. And then that kind of just goes out with garbage. And that was always a thing, where I was like, isn’t there a solution here? And there, there was I think around when I did start, but it was a pretty small company. Green circle salons had already started. And it just, it took a while for people to understand that there is a solution. And I think that’s more recent that that’s been a thing that people are thinking about and realizing that if you put something in the recycling bag, it doesn’t mean it gets recycled. Aside from that, I don’t think I thought much about that the things that we used, because I suppose I didn’t realize that there could possibly be other solutions. And the thing that I think I thought about most was when I did start to go through those changes with my ex husband changing our diet changing, like how much time we spent outside. I would actually go to work after a weekend and get a headache from just smelling the shampoo. And to me, that was a big red flag to imagine how sick people probably could get, if they had a higher sensitivity to what was in the products.

[00:16:44] Jennifer Chua: These products that you’re using, when I think of salons and I think of salon quality products or the kind of products that I would think as someone who doesn’t work in this space at all, I would think of your shampoos that are lining the walls beautifully in the salons for purchase. I don’t think that they’re going to be sustainable. Like it’s not the first thought that comes to my mind. I think they’re going to work really well. Can you explain to me what kind of products you’ve chosen to use or why you made those decisions?

[00:17:13] Alicia Lumsden: When I was opening, I was looking at a lot of different options because that was important to me. I knew what I used at home. I knew how I felt when I went into the salon after the weekend. And I didn’t have any severe ailments aside from my digestive issues. But I mean, a headache is alarming enough. And so I wanted to make sure that the company cared and also had plant-based ingredients and also was effective because. I think until more recently, and I’m sure there’s a lot of hairdressers who still don’t believe it. The idea would be that a plant-based hair color you think of henna or you think of like, like the stuff you buy in the natural drug store. But that’s never looks nice. And your greys aren’t getting covered. So that was a big factor for me as well when I was looking at different companies. And I almost couldn’t find something that still had good reviews on there, a great coverage. If you can’t cover grey you don’t have the company, you have nothing is, is my perspective as a hairdresser. So I ended up actually looking at Davines, which is what we carry. And I didn’t realize that they had color. I was just looking at them for their products. And and then I realized that they had color as well. And I kind of fell in love with them almost instantly. I asked around a few friends that I knew use their products as well. Do you like them? Do they do the job? Are they less than great? What was the end result? And they give me a little care package, take home, try it. They care. They’re a family owned company. They have their own manufacturer where they manufacture other products. So I know they’re not getting sold out. Which to me is, was also a fear. You get invested into a company and then some big company buys them and then everything’s washed out and it’s no longer what it was, but you still have the same branding and marketing.

Their main line. They have slow food farms in Italy that they have one ingredient from like their active ingredient from one of these farms. And that’s what they use. When I started with them, it was before they were B Corp, but in, I think 2016, they became a B Corp. And so they’re just continuously doing a new thing each year, changing their formulas and evolving their packaging to continuously become more sustainable. I found them quite exciting.

[00:19:45] Jennifer Chua: Is there anything else about our trip to the salon? That’s maybe less than ideal in terms of sustainability.

[00:19:52] Alicia Lumsden: we use a lot of water. And I guess that’s that’s another thing I love about Davines. They have a high percentage of naturally derived ingredients and biodegradable ingredients. As we’re using a mass amount of water with we got a company called eco heads. And so it just kinda changes the flow. So you get more pressure, but with less water used. And then all of the shampoo and color that you washed down the drain is just a little bit softer on the water that needs to be cleaned out. I think that’s probably one of the biggest things. We do recycle. We use green circle salons to recycle everything and they take everything to a manufacturer to turn it into something else. So that’s nice to know, compared to city recycling. We need a lot of lights. That was the big thing for me at the beginning, when we opened is changing everything into LEDs or any appliances or fixtures that we have, having them being energy star or somehow cutting down on the amount of energy that was used.

[00:20:55] Jennifer Chua: So how environmentally friendly can a salon be really? You’ve done so much to create this low waste environment. I’m wondering if there is anything else that you’re striving towards in your efforts to become green?

[00:21:06] Alicia Lumsden: In a perfect world, in a perfect world, I would have a standalone space where I could have solar panels and a gray brown water system. Maybe some geothermal heating but that’s not really, that’s not realistic in the city. Maybe if I have a place in the country or something, I can do some little spa retreat kind of thing with all of those magical systems in place.

 I mean, I don’t know if there is much more we could do right now. We try to reuse whatever we can. we go through tons of towels and so when they start to disintegrate, we’ll cut them up and we, we use them as decoration in the salon or find other ways that we can turn them into something. Even with our cleaning products, I make sure that all our including in products are eco-friendly mindful of where we’re getting them. We usually use Saponetti across the street, they’re a refill company. So we usually get majority of our cleaning products from them, which is great. And then we can just refill all of our bottles all the time versus having to buy new bottles. Yeah, I mean, we have pretty low waste. We’re not a big enough space to utilize a compost system. So that would go to the same as my standalone space and I’d have a spot for our compost in the back and it wouldn’t matter.

Yeah, I think those are the things I would love if someone gave me brilliant ideas for other things, because I feel like you can always only think so far, right.

[00:22:39] Jennifer Chua: And if I walk into your salon, you’ve taken my coat away and you’re offering me a beverage or a snack, as salon owners, do, what will I be served? Or what will I be offered when I come to visit you?

[00:22:53] Alicia Lumsden: So, we have been using Genuine Tea., which is an ethically sourced, local tea brand. Lovely, lovely couple. Lovely company. We also use propeller coffee, which is also around the corner from us, which is great. And they’re similar. Fair trade ethical brand as well. Additionally, we are licenced. So you can have local craft beer or a glass of bubbly if you like. For snacks we used to do a snack spread vegetables and hummus and crackers and all that good stuff. I don’t carry any meat or dairy in the salon. So if you do want milk with your coffee or tea, it’s going to be oat milk. If you really want milk, which is fine, but I don’t judge anyone. There’s a cafe right next door. So we’ll, we’ll run next door and get you some of that.

[00:23:48] Jennifer Chua: And so you said you serve bubbly on occasion. Does that mean that you do community events?

[00:23:53] Alicia Lumsden: We haven’t in a while. I really can’t wait until things go a little bit more back to normal. We just do so many fun things throughout the year. We have artwork through out the year. We change it every couple of months to a different artist. And we always start with an art opening. And so that’s an open house and anyone can come in and we have alcohol available or we carry loop juice. Oh my gosh. Check them out. They use near bad fruit and veggies. They’re from Montreal. They make cold press juice and I believe they just started making beer. They might’ve even started making gin. I don’t know. They’re cool. I think they’re cool.

[00:24:33] Jennifer Chua: You’ve really taken every little aspect of the experience into consideration, really for your guests. And created this environment that seems to be incredibly sustainable. which is surprising. Cause when I think of a hair salon, it seems like the last type of business that you could take and make it into something that’s eco-friendly. How did you stumble upon this idea to even try to take on such a, in my opinion, massive feat.

[00:25:07] Alicia Lumsden: Thank you. I think it’s just it’s everything I want in my daily life. I can be a snob in the best of way. I think that’s just what it comes down to as I just I, I want these things for myself. And maybe even it’s my own self-reflection that I, I would feel like a hypocrite offering something, even though I know you can’t be perfect. I do have perfectionist issues. I know you can’t be perfect when it comes to being sustainable and having perfection as the goal is not healthy. But we have been open for several years, so every step of the way another thing gets changed. Evolved. And grows and gets better and better and better. You know, we didn’t open licensed. We didn’t open with the way that our place looks now. But every step of the way we add something new or we reevaluate and see how things can be done better.

[00:25:54] Jennifer Chua: and I noticed that you have an online shop too, and that you sell some other sustainable goods. Can you tell us what those are and why you chose to do that?

[00:26:02] Alicia Lumsden: It wasn’t necessarily something I always wanted to do to have the online store, but I feel like out of so many closures and being locked down for so long, it became necessity to evolve into its own store. The pursuit of finding products was rather challenging. All the different little aspects that matter to me, I had to then find in a product and they exist, which is exciting. But it was hard to find things that are actually sustainable. And so what I found is there’s so much beauty stuff being launched right now, but then the packaging isn’t in line. And to me, that’s just so confusing why would you go through the effort of making it sustainable on the inside, but not sustainable on the outside?

Why are we not talking about our packaging? As a province, as a world we’re pushing for an elimination on single use plastics, but we’re not talking about our packaging. So that, I think that ended up being my, my biggest thing when I was looking for products. Making sure that our packaging, when we were sending it out to you was going to be sustainable and that you could count on us for that.

I don’t know about you, but I hate getting something and there’s just all this extra stuff and space. And I’m like, why I don’t you’re not going to receive a packaging slip in our shipments because I don’t personally like them when I get them. I know what I ordered. I don’t need a checklist of what I ordered. So that’s something we don’t do. And then it was also important that what we were sending as, as best as we could, the ingredients were good, the product itself was functional and effective. That the packaging, the company cared about their packaging whether it was a sustainable by default, or they actually took an extra initiative. One company that I love Axiology, they’re a little makeup lid to lip balmy. So you can put it on your lips, your cheeks and your eyelids, and they’re all really subtle tones. As a makeup artist to a consumer they’re full-proof because they just blend really well. But additionally, their packaging is recycled from the beaches of Bali. And then they employ local people to help that situation. So they’re removing waste, they’re employing people and they’re giving you a sustainable recyclable packaging.

[00:28:30] Jennifer Chua: So when your clients come in to visit you in the salon, do they understand how much impact you’re creating here? How do you feel people are responding to this messaging? Cause it just seems like you’re doing so much. I’m just wondering how are people resonating with this or do you think that consumers are still just looking to get beautiful hair and don’t care so much about what’s gone on in behind the scenes?

[00:28:56] Alicia Lumsden: Yeah, we could always do better at um, better educating. At the same time. I think I guess a key marketing thing is repetition, right? The more you repeat the things, the more people actually hear it because they don’t often hear it the first couple of times. I think there are people that care in those are definitely our fans. I think there are slowly becoming more, more people that care. I also think that not everyone’s going to nerd out the way I am currently about these kinds of things and that’s fine. So long as we can take the thinking out of it, for people who don’t care as much and just make it an easy, like you don’t have to care this is just good quality stuff. That’s doing good in the world. However we can get that message out. I do think a lot of our clients do come because we take the, the extra work of caring out of it for them. They just, they know that they’ve made a good decision and everything’s just going to get taken care of for when they’re there. We’re going to recommend things that are good for them as well as good for the planet.

[00:30:07] Jennifer Chua: And so you’ve been going for B Corp certification. Are there many salons that are B Corp certified?

[00:30:12] Alicia Lumsden: There’s one out west. One in all of Canada, so I’m okay to be second. I can follow.

[00:30:21] Jennifer Chua: And B Corp certification is difficult to get, and I can only imagine that it would be very difficult in a business like yours.

[00:30:28] Alicia Lumsden: I feel like as a, as a company that relies on… basically what you do with your brick and mortar and your employees and, your policies on who you choose to carry. I do find it is actually a little bit more difficult versus being a brand. Like a product brand. To actually to, check the boxes.

[00:30:51] Jennifer Chua: There’s more discovery for sure.

[00:30:54] Alicia Lumsden: Yeah, what we do – hair itself. Isn’t an act that that really does anything in these areas. I mean, obviously there’s little things little subtleties and in the amount of compassion that you have but it’s not directly impacted the social and the environmental part. So I do find it can be a little bit tricky for that. I would definitely say that since I’ve started looking at B Corp, my comfort level with offering my team more and more has definitely expanded. You know, I think when you’re small and starting out and you only have a few employees, it’s kind of hard to rationalize, well, I only have this much coming in how can. I give you more than just being nice and supportive and helping you build your career. How can I give you a higher wage? How can I give you benefits? How can I give you sick days? Like those little things that do help an employee succeed and feel better. It’s hard to imagine as a small employer. But the more I’ve kind of looked at it and thought about it and, and was brought awareness through B Corp about it and asked more questions it’s just allowed me to, to just have the comfort and confidence that I can actually offer those things and it, it, isn’t actually going to cost the business that much more in the long run. And I think that was probably the bigger, impactful thing going through the B Corp journey. We’re already doing so much sustainability wise. I feel like that’s, those are all just easy givens us.

[00:32:29] Jennifer Chua: Is there any other way that you’re affecting social change with your business?

[00:32:33] Alicia Lumsden: I think so. I’m actually excited to possibly affect more social change. I’m going to adjust our prices in the new year for removing gratuities. Throughout the past couple of years, it’s been more on the hair industry’s mind. Why are we still taking gratuities? Why is this a thing? It’s uncomfortable. As much as a stylist can say that it’s a gift and they just simply appreciate it. It’s still becomes part of their income, part of their expected income, because they use that for a certain part of their bills. Why is this a thing? Why isn’t that just in your pay? Why is that how we’re doing things? There are other salons doing it, not many, but I hope that we can encourage some social innovation with that mentality and evolving those kinds of things. In the new year, at some point when it starts to warm up, we’re going to start doing some more pay what you can haircuts with the Stop. We’re finally a big enough team. We have the support, we have the time. I think that’s something we can definitely do. And I think it’s needed as well with how much, how many people have lost their jobs. How many people have lower income paying jobs? Have definitely felt the hit over the last couple of years and prices are just going up.

[00:33:59] Jennifer Chua: What about collectively our children, the adults of the future, the hairstylists of the future. How do you think that what you’re doing with your salon is impacting future generations?

[00:34:13] Alicia Lumsden: I know when I was starting out, I was on my honeymoon with my ex and uh, We were at a cute little Airbnb in Niagara lake. And so we had the super cute, 60 plus couples sitting around us, so excited for newly wed newness. And so they were asking what we did. He was an electrician. We’re both trades. We both have to go through the ministry and the Ontario college of trades and write an exam. His process is a little bit longer but ours requires more school. So. There’s a little bit of a similarity and starting out, we both made the same and eventually I made more and the, these adorable couples around us however many generations older. The second I said that I was a hairdresser. They’re like, oh, that’s nice. That’s nice for you. And he said he was an electrician and you know, they were just like, oh, look at you. That’s great. So I think, I think that’s what the industry currently wants to change.

Hairdressers have a lot to offer. And as much as, having your hair hygiene taken care of is necessity. Having your hair done is also a luxury and if you’re going to a higher end salon it’s because those hairdressers have put a lot of work and effort into training and evolving. Their skills and their skills are technical as well as, managing a person in their chair, managing assisstants to support them with that. And then also being a creative. And doing all of those things at the same time while building their career. Most people don’t think hairdressers do that much. Most people think we just go to work and have fun and chew some bubble gum and that’s it. They don’t think about the, all the different little things that go into it, as well as the pseudo therapist that we are as well. I’m excited to see that evolve.

[00:36:26] Jennifer Chua: So you’ve made big strides in changing the hair game in terms of how people view hairstylists, how really low waste you can become as a hair salon. You’re really pushing these boundaries. Are you hopeful now for the future?

[00:36:43] Alicia Lumsden: That’s a tough one. I want to be. I think our younger generations definitely care about these things. But I think with, with all big change, there’s a big reset. And I think we’re going through a big reset right now. And I think there’s still a lot of nastiness, so to speak in the, I don’t know if that’s the simplest way for me to put it. There’s definitely people who need to be reminded that they need to take care of themselves first, but then there’s the taking that consideration to the next level of like, what does it matter? Who I step on along the way, because I’m all that matters. And so I think we’re in a, in a bit of a reset of understanding self care and mental health and speaking up for yourself and setting boundaries for yourself and understanding what all of that means and mindfulness, what all that means versus just walking over everyone. So I’m hopeful that the reset will happen and everything will fall into place. I am hopeful that I think small business can start to plan again and I am hopeful. 2020 and 2021 gave us a lot of things to think about. And there’s a lot more people reevaluating what’s important and what’s not important.

[00:38:11] Jennifer Chua: If you want to learn more about Alicia and her sustainable and inclusive beauty salon visit Queen’sShopHair.com. In Toronto? Visit Queen’s . Shop to enjoy an uplifting salon experience. No matter your age, gender, race, or orientation. You can follow along with Alicia on her mission to promote sustainability within the beauty space. At instagram @queensshophair

NEW Episodes

Every Second Tuesday


Everywhere you get your podcasts.

You can find and follow Cost of Goods Sold on all of the major networks.