Dat Salon launched last March, under the assumption that the Dufferin jog construction would soon after be complete. Unfortunately, 8 months later, re-routing is still underway. I wondered if such an unsightly and impermeable barrier between the salon and the pedestrian flow of Queen Street had hampered business. Not so. The two-stylist team - owner Dat and sidekick Rita - rolled with the punches finding creative ways to drum up business.
Of course, Dat's established clientele followed him when he decided to branch out. Previously, he had been involved in a similar family business. "I was washing hair at the age of 10," he recalls. Parkdale was an easy and nostalgic choice for his foray into business ownership - his mother's first salon was located at Dovercourt and Queen. Collaborative events and art installations with local gallery, Sleeping Giant, has also helped the salon reach out and increase traffic.
The service menu is basic - cuts, perms, colour, straightening - but allows the duo to stick with what they do best. The salon also provides semi-permanent lash service, administered on a by-appointment basis by a third party. The demand has been slow and mostly special-event based. As someone who's forked out more than a reasonable amount of dough in an attempt to lengthen and plump my sad set of lashes, semi-permanent rocks! If you can afford it. Dat's pricing is actually really competitive for this typically astronomically-priced (but way worth-it) service.
The salon uses shampoos and styling products by Kevin Murphy, and retails the line as well. I love the boxy masculine containers (think Penzoil) in soft, feminine pastels (think french macaroons). I am a sucker for packaging. Products with adorable names like Easy Rider Anti-Frizz Creme and Stayin' Alive Leave-In Conditioner also smell great and are eco-friendly to boot.
Dat Salon's trademarked tagline is "hairdramatic". I took this to mean that every patron exiting the salon post-transformation would be newly topped with an edgy, dramatic do. Actually the meaning is far more poetic. "The 'dramatic' to me is the hair story," Dat clarifies. He explains that cutting hair gives a stylist the opportunity to hear a person's tale, to learn and pass it along to the next patron, who in turn has her own story. He likens it to the way history used to be recorded, through conversation. Only now it might be relayed over the sound of a blow dryer. That's progress for you.
Photos by Dennis Marciniak.