Cooney for Hair
Cooney for Hair is one salon in Toronto that's consistently looking east for inspiration. While Cooney himself is Chinese, the salon is decidedly Japanese in approach.
I've surely past by the salon countless times, but never bothered to venture inside (and not just because of the whole "stairs" thing). The second floor salon is easy to miss; simply marked by a black and white sign right by the corner of Queen and Spadina. But once you climb the stairs and pass through the door, you'll find a space unlike most other salons in Toronto.
A stylist fetches Cooney from his office once I enter the salon, then returns to resume highlighting a male customer's hair. That's one thing, Cooney points out, that happens a lot at Cooney that is atypical for conventional salons. "About 30 to 40 per cent of our clients are men," he says as we take a seat on the salon's couch. "And we do a lot of colouring — a lot of perms."
That goes for both male and female Cooney customers. While the rest of the city abandoned perms 20 to 30-odd years ago, they're still done relatively frequently at Cooney, in keeping with Japanese trends.
"We usually leave the hair longer," Cooney replies when I ask about the other distinguishing features of a Japanese cut. "A lot of texture, colour, and specialized treatments like Japanese straightening."
"There's no such thing as 'just a trim,'" he continues. "The Japanese are a lot more fashion-forward. They don't want to be conservative or repeat the same haircut each time. We try to do something new each time a client comes in."
Cooney for Hair has been around for the past 15 years or so, in it's current location for about six. Cooney grew up in the U.S., cutting his own family's hair and hoping to one day open his own salon. He was able to see to that aspiration once he moved to Toronto after high school, and his Japanese-focused salon quickly garnered word-of-mouth attention.
And that continues to be Cooney's primary method of marketing. He tells me he continues to see new clients on a regular basis, all of whom come from different backgrounds and are looking for something new. Cuts here generally range from $43-$67, treatments from $38-$70, colour from $62-$160, and perms from $105-$170. Needless to say, there is no specified price for a "trim."