What country are you from and where do you live?
I was born in Georgetown Guyana, moved to London, England when I was three years old and then to Montreal when I was eight. In the mid 1980’s Toronto called and I have resided here since.
Title of what you do and what company you work with?
I am Founder of worldSALON (worldsalon.ca), Founder and Co-owner of WORLD Hair and Skin (world.ca) and Co-Founder and Co-Owner of NogginOil (nogginoil.com).
Education background (Hair school, salons, self taught)?
I started cutting hair for quick cash in Montreal as a poor university student with a pair of my mother’s huge clunky sewing shears. Punk and New Wave were dictating the style at the time, so unrefined street hair was easy for me to reproduce. I have a degree in Communication Studies from Concordia University in Montreal. I later attended George Brown College in Toronto to get my hairdressing licence, and apprenticed with the incredible John Steinberg at the Rainbow Room for two and a half years. John was a creative genius and took all sorts of crazy artists under his wing to incubate. I was extremely lucky to be inspired by such a talented group, including superstar Pamela Neal, who continues to blow my mind with her creativity and vision. I worked with Ray Civello briefly at the Rainbow Room, and followed him to his first salon on Jarvis Street, where I worked as a junior stylist for two and a half years. Ray mentored my photo shoots and so much more. I met John Taccone, another incredible artist at Civello, and he and I opened worldSALON in the St. Lawrence Market Area of Toronto in the late 1980’s. I have owned and operated worldSALON for over thirty years.
What is your signature style/artistic expression to your work?
I love sexy, well executed hair with a touch of rebellion. The best hair moves, frames and compliments the head, face and body in a way that gives the wearer confidence and tons of sex appeal. I do a lot of deep point cutting because I want to release hair, make it textured and crazy and dangerous even if it is a cap cut. I love all lengths, and styles, the excitement comes when you give someone that thing they have never had before. To see their bodies move differently, that sparkle in their eye, this is why I love what we do. Our craft inspires great trust and love. It is such a privilege to get so close to people and bring joy everyday.
Do you have a career turning point or big break that has helped your career?
After being a hairstylist for ten years, I developed a serious case of contact dermatitis on my hands. I discovered that perm solution and hair gel were the culprits, and subsequently, all the toxic chemicals we use everyday, especially in our industry. This was my defining moment, providing the impetus to create a line of healthy, salon quality products, WORLD Hair and Skin, that is growing by leaps and bounds. worldSALON and WORLD Hair and Skin have become known as industry leaders and most recently, I have been very excited by the vegan brand NogginOil that Co-Founder Karen Wallington of Modlocks and I have launched for locs and sectioned hair.
What was your scariest and proudest moment in your career?
Scariest moment: In hair school, when I punched a hole into the ear of the Secretary for the Vice President of George Brown with a crochet hook while doing cap highlights of the first time.
Proudest moments: Receiving the first Green Circle Salons Award for “Environmental Stewardship” in 2011 and being a “Green Warrior” in 2018 to bring awareness to the great work they are doing to eliminate waste in our industry. Also receiving the Environmental Defence “Green Champion Award” in 2015 for “Twenty five years of leadership in sustainable business practices and progressive work eliminating toxic chemicals in personal care products” was incredible.
What is next for your career goals?
To foster the continued growth of worldSALON for the next decade and beyond, and to build relationships, support, and distribution for WORLD Hair and Skin and NogginOil in the years ahead.
What advice would you give to someone starting out in your business?
If you don’t love what you do, you have the power to find out what that is and change it. Don’t waste time. Set a good example of health in yourself and this includes working with people that are focused on similar goals. Treat your body like the incredible gift that it is and learn to trust your gut. If you make balance a priority in your life, you will have a much better chance of success.
Facebook: @worldSALON @WORLDHairandSKIN @NogginOil
Hair – Brian Phillips @brianatworld using @worldhairskin
Photography – Ivan Otis @ivanotis
Model – Austen Dickinson @PlutinoModels
Clothing – Ivan Chung @iwalkto