When master stylists Frank Calandrino and Violet Volovik opened their Toronto salon on the Danforth in 2008, they wanted a place that had the aesthetic of a large salon with a cozy boutique feel. The result? bob + paige, an airy 12-chair space where everyone from hip parents to trendsetting singles get cuts that are both fashion-forward and wearable. Here Violet shares all the high and lowlights from the past 10 years:
Frank and I met in 1997 while working at a salon in Thornhill, Ontario. In 2007 he and Stasia, his partner and my great friend, had heard about a space for rent in Greektown and asked me to come see it. We’d never discussed opening a salon together, but I went to look. It was one of the scariest places you’ve ever seen in your life, but somewhere deep in my heart I knew we’d do well. We’re both hard working with loyal clients, and we love doing hair!
We wanted the name of the salon to be about the hair and all people working there, not just me and Frank. It took months but we finally fell in love with ‘bob + paige’, two classic hair cuts. Once we had the name we needed a logo. Stasia drew one on a napkin at Timothy’s Café. Everything stopped and I couldn’t see another design. She really made it come to life. People still sometimes call the salon asking for an appointment with Bob or Paige!
Construction started in January and we opened the doors on May 8th. I thought it would be Frank and me in a great little studio where we could just do our own clients. But we were pretty busy from the get go. People in the neighbourhood were calling and couldn’t get an appointment. The buzz made people want to come even more!
This award really put us on the map! We were in magazines and newspapers. Our 412 Danforth space had been a former record store, and it was really rundown. We had ripped everything out with the help of a kitchen designer (because no one else would take it on!) and totally transformed it. As inspiration we had a photo of a studio apartment in New York City that was all shiny metals and dark wood. Our clients love our comfortable chairs, great coffee and magazines, but the space was really designed for us to enjoy working in. Clients stay for an hour or two but we work there all day. If we like where we work we can be creative and really do great hair. Also that year, our stylist Morgan Servinis (our first and best hire!) won Hairapalooza, a live hair cutting competition run by Schwarzkopf which was pretty amazing.
Frank had been doing host Cheryl Hickey’s hair for a while and in 2010 he became the official stylist for ET Canada. Our logo was in the credits and we started seeing a lot of media coverage. A ton of Frank’s old clients from his former salon contacted him. It was like they’d found their lost love and we saw a crazy jump in appointments!
We were growing but had no room to fit all our new stylists and assistants. So we found a space down further west at 239 Danforth and divided the team into two groups. There was more room but splitting the team was breaking my heart. After a few months we decided to move everyone into the bigger space. Being west of The Big Carrot at street level we now get a lot of cool walk-ins who didn’t know about us before. The new space is light and airy. We love it!
Toronto Life magazine recognized us in its Best Style issue, which was just fantastic. That same year I was a Canadian finalist at the Goldwell Color Zoom Challenge. To celebrate the year we brought the whole team together for a surprise photo shoot with professional models. The photos were stunning and it was the perfect ending to a perfect year!
BlogTO sent in a secret shopper to try out our services and named us Best Salon in Toronto. The fact that it was based on a real review meant a lot to us. After the piece was published we were swamped and couldn’t fit anyone in for weeks. People would search “top salon Toronto” and we’d pop up. We still do! It was really great for our junior stylists because they got loads of new clients. BlogTO has always been very good to us!
Now Magazine published an article about Toronto’s Hair All-Stars calling me ‘The Houdini of Hair’. This was one of the biggest honours I’ve ever received! I wasn’t taking new clients at the time but I had so many people calling that I had to reconsider. I got some amazing new clients from that piece, people who are still with me today.
That year Joey Marchese was a Contessa and Mirror Awards Finalist, which is a big deal in the hair world. He’s also an Essential Looks Artist for Schwarzkopf. Tony became a Master Stylist for Goldwell and Alisha Leela an educator for R+Co. I’m also Master Stylist Educator for Goldwell and travel internationally to teach and attend shows. We have a lot of educators here at bob + paige and many of our team are ambassadors for different products. We learn about new trends around the world and bring that knowledge and training back to the salon and to our clients. It’s also inspiring for our rising star junior stylists, Crystal Beatty and Chandler Bond.
This was a busy couple of years at b+p. Derek Hannah joined bringing his incredible cutting skills from Vidal Sassoon, Jenna Crawford was featured in Flare magazine, and Narcity named Nicole Den Bok as one of Toronto’s top colourists. Many of our stylists had received individual recognition for their work but being finalists in the Contessa Team category was extra special because eight of us entered together and showcased what we can do as a group. It gave everyone working here to have something to brag about!
Yet again, we needed more space! We opened up our lower level, a nod to our first space at 412 Danforth. Many clients ask to be down there because it’s so cute and cozy! Also, clients had been asking us about the empty wall facing the washing station but we couldn’t decide what to do with it. Finally we hired graffiti artist JessGo to create something special. Clients loved that they could stare at something other than a blank white wall!
2018 has already been another great year for us! Senior Stylist Connor Lange was named by Salon Magazine as ‘One to Watch’, we now have a solid team of 12 stylists, 10 assistants and four front desk staff, and most importantly we love our work. I didn’t think I’d ever open a Toronto salon and now here we are, 10 years later! But I guess things work well when you put people together who share the same passion and dreams.
Looking for a seasoned salon for your next cut? Make an appointment at Bob + Paige