Community members see people exiting Hair Republic | Salon on a daily basis with freshly trimmed tresses but what many do not realize is who is behind the brand and what it entirely represents. As a recent addition to the Old Ottawa South Community, joining in September of 2011 at 1093 Bank St., we believe it is imperative to have the residents in the surrounding area understand how this company came to be and what we offer to those that walk in and out of our door every day.
Michelle Nguyen, Owner and Salon Manager of Hair Republic | Salon, as well a Senior Stylist, has been passionate about the hair industry from a very young age, where she would cut the hair of her dolls and friends while pretending to play shop, not realizing this would lead to her future endeavors of making it a career. Her education in hair cutting and styling was completed at Versaille Academy, Ottawa in 2002, then continuing training at the renowned Toni and Guy Academy in New York, NY. Michelle traveled more, completing training on advanced cutting techniques in Toronto and Montreal which then led to many exciting opportunities.
Her accomplishments are vast, not only being a Hair Stylist for the A-Channel, a television station in Ottawa, she would also take part in their weekly Monday Morning Makeover program special for four years. Michelle since then was invited to style celebrity hair for the Juno and Genie Awards. These exciting endeavors aided in building her experience and characteristics fit to become a Manager of a salon at the age of 22. Michelle would then help create and brand the Apprenticeship Program at Holtz Spa in Ottawa, where she was a member of their staff for six years. From winning awards for Hair Styling Up-do’s, to completing a Business Marketing Diploma from Algonquin College while working full-time, to being asked by the organic colour line Essensity by Schwarzkopf to be an Ambassador, it is short to say she is only a driven and successful member of the salon industry.
As the years progressed, Michelle began to conjure an image of a personally owned salon where she would be able to encompass everything she believed were the fundamentals of a salon that would be held to a high standard by its clientele and community. Between the months of January and June of 2011, the search for an ideal space for this salon was in progress. Multiple locations were considered including Barrhaven, Westboro and Kanata with the final decision, being at 1093 Bank St. in Old Ottawa South, continuously proving to be a rewarding daily experience for the staff at Hair Republic | Salon.
Michelle retained an architectural and engineering firm to transform the empty space into the ideal welcoming and modern environment. The design and the construction management was completed by J.Q. Nguyen + Associates Design Group Inc., though the ride was not the simplest due to some design constraints with respect to the space dimensions and existing conditions.
When the logo and company name brain storming began, there were many ideas bounced around including “Mish Mish” and “Mish’s Scissors” a play on Michelle’s popular childhood nickname. The final result was Hair Republic | Salon after much thoughtful consideration. Though the title of the salon makes it appear that all we do inside is cut and style hair, we have multiple community partnerships that have aided in a company we are proud to represent.
IAM Management is the curator for Hair Republic | Salon, where we exhibit local artists multiple artworks every three months, reflecting our current interests. This allows for a refreshing environment while helping local independent artists show their beautiful artwork and is welcomed to our clientele and any art lovers looking to stop by. Another partnership we are proud to be a part of is Green Circle Salons, where we share their same mission on providing green solutions to the salon industry. We implement waste management in the everyday disposal of product containers and hair while having specially selected green products we use on our clientele and allow for personal purchase. We go beyond that in having special bamboo flooring and light bulbs that has resulted in less of a carbon footprint emitted by Hair Republic | Salon.
The Grand Opening of Hair Republic | Salon was on November 5th, 2011 where David Chernushenko, Ward City Councillor, was present for the red ribbon cutting. We enjoyed live music, hors d’oeuvres and all proceeds from the auction going two charitable organizations meaningful to Michelle Nguyen. Roof of Love, Cai Ran, has a mission to improve the living conditions of poverty stricken areas in Vietnam while raising awareness in the Western Hemisphere to create collective action. Michelle has travelled to Vietnam to first hand see, understand, and help the organization. The Canadian Foundation for Women’s Health organization has successfully been providing financial assistance to aid in improving women’s health not only on a national scale but also globally.
As of January 1st, 2012, Hair Republic | Salon has a dynamic group of eight individuals, consisting of six Hair Stylists and two Front Desk Coordinators. These individuals encompass a personal uniqueness yet a team cohesiveness that has created an environment enjoyable for not only the staff, but most importantly, the clientele. Asking any of the staff members, we find that our job is not just that, there is an overt camaraderie that is infectious and leaves everyone with a smile not easily erased.t also globally.
From the very beginning, there has been much thought and dedication into every last detail - from carefully selected green-friendly products we use to the coffee we serve our clientele. Amongst many important aspects in creating the Hair Republic | Salon brand and environment was a customer oriented service and a comfortable, welcoming eclectic space for clients to feel at ease at all times. We welcome meeting members of the community, to learn about them and Old Ottawa South, while never forgetting to make sure they receive their desired hairstyle.