Maison Noi - Robin, Emilie & Sonia
When did you get into hair styling and what got you hooked?
E – Too early to remember! From what my Mom says, as soon as I had enough hair to put something into it, I became my own obsessive hairstylist and I would restyle it many times a day. I guess what appealed to me at the time was the creative and aesthetic sides of hair styling. I still love doing hair because its artistic. Also, it’s something I can do wherever I am in the world! And when I think about it, being around fellow humans and making them feel amazing is a pretty good way to spend my days I would say.
The 3 of you have worked together for the past 16 years before opening Maison Noi, what was it that attracted you to starting your very own Salon?
E – The three of us have talked about this often. What made us take the plunge when we did? All of us were reaching the 15-16 year mark in the business and it was becoming clear that we needed a challenge, we were ready to grow professionally. It was important to create a salon where we could bring our shared values to life, with our skills and hard work. The three of us wanted the same positive change, so we decided to take the leap together. Robin also has this constant urge to innovate, to find ways to do things better. He did a lot of research on how progressive hair salons do things, what clients like and want, and how successful teams work together. We feel we created a unique salon that will keep getting better.
What are your favourite places in Ottawa when you are not working?
S - Ottawa has so many incredible local businesses that I just love. I'm all for supporting local—it's much more personal, and you feel the love, which makes any experience that much better.
Usually, my favourite places in Ottawa, outside of work, involve good food and a good bubbly. Incidently, this is another thing Emilie, Robin and I share—our love for good food! Most of our ideas for Maison Noi came to life around a dinner table.
La Bottega in the market is definitely my favourite go to. Yes, i'm a proud sister and cousin of the owners, but seriously nothing makes my husband and I happier than a La Bottega grocery haul. I also love to go to Parkdale Market to get fresh veggies and fruits. I find shopping at a local market very satisfying.
Supply and Demand is without a doubt one of my favourite restaurants. The oysters, crudo, kale salad and homemade pastas make me oh so happy! And when I need a taste of Italy, I love going to Farinella, a very new pizzeria and gelateria that is honestly heavenly. One taste of their lemon gelato and I’m on the Amalfi Coast!
Who would be a dream collaboration/ dream client for you and why?
E – A dream for me would be collaborating with the fashion world… Adding my touch to their creations would be exciting. And since I am a huge Chanel fan… a trip to Paris to work on a Chanel fashion show? Both Robin and I had a small taste of this kind of work through New York Runway Styling at the New York Fashion Week, working with one of our mentors in New York. It’s crazy, exhausting, but you learn so much and you go home full of new ideas!
What’s next for you in 2019?
R- More training, more growth, more grinding. Maison Noi is off to a great start and we want to develop its reputation around town to attract a steady clientele as well as talented stylists. And because it’s not just about us, more giving back with our craft—Hair Donations Ottawa, The Rolling Barber, Dress for Success, any other such initiative we can get our combs into. It’s in Maison Noi’s DNA to give back and support the less privileged members of our community.
Whats on your playlist?
R- Can I answer “variety” again?... Right now, the next three songs on my playlist are: (sittin’ on) The dock of the Bay, by Otis Redding; Everyday (feat. Rod Stewart), by A$AP Rocky: and Black Mambo, by Glass Animals.
Maison Noi is supporting the Rolling Barber, tell us a bit about this project and what it means to you to be able to make an impact in the Ottawa community?
R- The Rolling Barber is a local Non-profit organization that offers free haircuts to those in need. It was founded by Anne and François. I am so happy that they created this service, because it is a huge boost for the people it serves, and also because it allows me to use my craft to give back, along with many other local stylists and barbers. If we all do our small part in helping and supporting the community around us... who knows how much we can accomplish.
What is one piece of advice that you received that you will never forget?
S - One piece of advice that I received that I will never forget is "What you allow is what will continue."—This advice helped me in so many different aspects in life, both business and personal, and I will always hold it close to my heart. It is so simple, yet so strong and it has given me so much motivation and drive to succeed in life.
Your Hair Salon is gorgeous, filled with natural light and creating a truly welcoming atmosphere. Where did you draw inspiration for all the details?
S - Thank you for the compliment! Hearing such positive feedback on the overall look and feel of the salon is absolutely everything! It honestly came so naturally to us. We knew exactly what kind of atmosphere we wanted to create at Maison Noi. A simple, clean, modern, yet cozy and inviting space is what we always envisioned. It is such a personal space, it is our home, and I think that's what makes us unique. We drew inspiration from our everyday lives and from nature, as we knew plants were a must and this is quite fitting, being an Aveda salon. We love to travel, and seeing salons from all over brought us lots of inspiration as well. Most say it has that European, zen boutique feel, and hearing that makes me feel like we did well! Thankfully, we had Robin to help control mine and Emilie’s decor shopping obsession! From the layout, to our stations to the finishing touches, we personally designed everything in the Salon.
What would most people be surprised to learn about you?
R- I went from high school dropout to now teaching part-time at Algonquin... Along my unusual academic path, I learned that talented, kind and smart people can fall through the cracks in the education system. That’s why I now aspire to pass my knowledge along, as my mentor did for me, and to help motivate and inspire students who didn’t necessarily enjoy school.
Be honest, in your opinion, what are the absolute worst Hairstyles of all times?
Unanimous decision… The mullet… hopefully it doesn’t come back in style after this comment. But in all seriousness any hairstyle is bad, if it isn’t well suited to the person wearing it...
Justin Trudeau walks into your salon, what haircut would you give him? :)
R- Our friend Stefania does an amazing job with his hair. The way she styles it suits him well and is very prime-ministerial (in a good way, not in the lego kind of way we have seen in the past). If and when he changes careers, his will be a perfect head of hair to do something a little edgier. Are you sure you didn’t want to ask me what I would do with Trump’s hair instead?