Artatexture hair opened their doors in July 2021 after the previous salon they had all worked at together closed due to the pandemic. Kelly Stratham coordinates the salon for hairdressers Kate Gates, Kim Eakins and Courtney Garland, who each have been doing hair in Guelph for over 10 years. The salon can meet all clients hair needs, ranging from simple cuts to complex styles and colours.
Hair has no gender. The hairdressers at Artatexture Hair in Guelph are on a mission to make their salon a place of acceptance in a welcoming environment of diversity, inclusion and equity.
“We wanted to create a safer space for everyone,” explained Kelly Statham, who is contracted as the salon’s bookkeeper and business consultant. “We’re getting away from gender-based haircuts.”
The salon has joined the Dresscode Project, which envisions: “a world where every hair salon and barbershop is a gender affirming, safe-space for LGBTQ2S+ clients.” The organization seeks to provide education, events and support to member salons and hairdressers all over the globe.
“This is changing the whole industry,” said Statham in a recent interview, adding Artatexture Hair is one of only a couple of local salons in the project. “We are going to challenge and encourage more salons as this really should be the new way – and we are leading the way.”
Statham coordinates the salon for hairdressers Kate Gates, Kim Eakins and Courtney Garland, who collectively have over 50 years of experience in the industry and regular clientele.
“When you find a hairdresser you like, you stay with them,” said Statham. “When you find that fit and vibe well, it is a great relationship.”
The three stylists have been doing hair in Guelph for over 10 years, working in other salons. They opened Artatexture Hair when a previous salon they worked at together closed due to the pandemic. She describes them as creative and laidback, which allows for a great atmosphere at the salon.
“They joined forces to create Artatexture,” explained Statham, suggesting the salon can meet all the hair needs of people from simple cuts, through complex styles and colour. “They do it all. They can even do fantasy colours. Those are fun projects.”
The salon has a loyal following and is building business through social media marketing and an online booking system supported by a Digital Transformation Grant (DTG) obtained through the provincial Digital Main Street initiative. The grant project was supported by the Business Centre Guelph-Wellington’s Digital Service Squad.
“It helped us immensely,” said Statham, who explained starting a new salon is a costly undertaking for the necessary plumbing, water and infrastructure. “Having the grant to leverage our business potential and be more professional was a great help.”
From an entrepreneurial perspective, Statham encourages people starting out, building or maintaining their business to always be open to the kind of assistance offered through the Business Centre Guelph-Wellington and other groups to access advice, grants and free resources.
“Reach out to local organizations,” she said, adding Downtown Guelph has been a big help as have all the neighbouring businesses who often can provide information on necessary services. “It’s a community. Networking is key for any business professional.”
"I would recommend Digital Main Street to any business... Our weakness was social media, so having the capabilities of taking those ideal pictures, then using Hootsuite to schedule them, has been extremely helpful" — Kelly Stratham