Jackrabbit Salon on Dundas fits perfectly into the growing creative community between Ossington and Dufferin. Amidst cozy storefronts in the tight knit area of Little Portugal, the relationship between the newly combined staff of six hairstylists reflects the same familial feelings as the surrounding neighbourhood.
Courtney Reynolds - owner, former Coupe Bizarre stylist and "fantasy shade specialist" - opened the salon early January after developing the space for a couple of months and grabbing more than a few professional friends to join her (all alumni of Parlour and Coupe Bizzarre).
For the new business initiative, her hair philosophy is simple: come in and get what you want, rather than compromise to your stylist's preferences and strengths. "People often forget that it's a service," says Reynolds, "so we want you to feel comfortable to get what you want."
The best part about the salon's mentality is the generous talent that backs it up. With the combined 70 to 80 years of professional experience at Jackrabbit, clientele can request anything from rainbow pastel highlights and bold blunt cuts to a more natural cut and colour. Clients can also book for any number of makeup services, including bridal and costume. Cuts start at $60 and colour, $70, depending on your hair type and current colour. The team also offers free consultations anytime.
As for the name, Reynolds decided on the unisex-friendly "Jackrabbit" after toying with some 1970s themes and animal imagery, motifs that persist in the salon's aesthetic. Faux animal busts adorn the walls, antique and woodsy furniture contrast nicely in the white-walled space, while a large mural of a red wooded scene acts as the backdrop to the rest of the salon.
The storefront as a whole gives off a warm vibe, a feeling that's made even more lush with the fresh scent coming from a small orange tree placed in the window. There were none of the expected artificial smells in the air for the duration of my visit.
While Reynolds plans to introduce some men-friendly products into the shop - namely, beard oils - their current product-of-choice is the Australian brand Kevin Murphy. And although woodsy animals are a theme for this new shop, Reynolds remains adamant that their products and services be cruelty-free.
The ethics behind the shop are definitely a big part of what keeps their clients coming back - and despite opening at a typically slow time in the fiscal year, the staff have experienced a strong flow of old and new clients.
After years of seeing Toronto salons come onto the scene with a particular look and clientele in mind, Jackrabbit haven't pigeon-holed themselves by branding around a single popular aesthetic. Instead, they've hopped on the no-bandwagon-bandwagon, focusing on the return of being good at all aspects of a craft, not just the trends.
Writing by Alex Brown. Photos by Morris Lum.