Sometimes, we’re just not in a chatty mood. And, with all the stress and confusion of the last couple of years, the days we simply want to turn off and tune out (to preserve our sanity) seem to be more frequent. That’s why we were intrigued when our friends at Vancouver’s Artel Salon announced their “silent appointment” option. We chatted with owner Eliza Trendiak to learn more. —Noa Nichol
Hi Eliza! Where is Artel Salon located, and what services/products do you offer?
Artel Salon is a gender-inclusive full-service hair salon located in Vancouver, B.C. We have three locations and offer everything from barber cuts to full heads of extensions and everything in-between. We may be best known for our blondes and balayage! As a Green Circle Certified salon we value sustainability and thus carry product lines to support that: Kevin Murphy, Davines and Olaplex.
Tell us about the “silent appointment” offering/option. What is it, why offer it and how can it be requested?
Over the years I’ve often had introverts tell me how trying a new stylist or salon can cause a lot of anxiety, feeling like they need to be extroverted and talk with the stylist throughout the entire service. Having a salon space that feels welcoming and safe for every person has always been so important to me so this got me thinking about ways to reduce the social pressure that people may feel when coming to a salon. This is what inspired us to start offering a Silent Appointment option, where a client can expect to come to their appointment, have their initial consultation and then enjoy the rest of the service with no conversation. No judgment, no questions asked, just the ability to sit and unwind. The Silent Appointment can be requested beforehand when calling the salon, leaving a note when booking online, or simply asking the front desk or stylist upon arrival.
Who is a “silent appointment” for? What are the benefits?
The Silent Appointment is available to everyone! Literally, anyone who is experiencing stress, anxiety, fatigue, depression or is just simply needing some mental headspace without fear of judgment—this is for you. With the current state of the world, people are experiencing a lot of these things and if the only barrier to coming to the salon to practice self-care is the pressure of a conversation, we want to remove that barrier.
Have you seen an uptick in silent appointment requests lately (read: since the start of the pandemic)?
The response has been overwhelmingly positive. Stylists, clients and business owners alike have reached out to me saying how much they love the idea and that people need this now more than ever. I am excited to see how this continues to evolve our client experience and make every client that walks through the door feel completely at home.
How else do you think we can seek support from beauty service providers when we are struggling, mentally?
First of all, I am so proud of my team. Not only have they had to endure the same fears and stress of the pandemic, but they show up every single day, ready to take care of their clients and make them feel like the best version of themselves. With that in mind, I think clients can feel safe knowing that their stylist genuinely wants them to have a wonderful experience. Given the trust that is developed between clients and stylists, along with positive physical touch, it is very common for people to open up to their stylists. Because stylists are not professional counsellors, it is my job as an employer to make sure that my stylists are supported to handle the weight of the conversations that they have every day. Especially during the pandemic, we’ve noticed our salon clients needing more emotional support, so I’ve had to find creative ways to help my team make their own mental health a priority. A few examples of this include offering full health benefits to our employees and encouraging them to take advantage of counselling services, bringing in wellness professionals to teach our team skills to manage stress and take care of their bodies, and offering financial classes to help my team learn to manage their money in a time of financial insecurity. I recently contacted a trauma counsellor to come in and train my entire staff on how to spot signs of domestic abuse and give us the language and tools to create a safe space for clients who are enduring some really tough situations. I think we’re in a time where people are starting to really take mental health seriously and are getting rid of a lot of the stigma around it, so I want to make sure my team is just as much supported as the amazing clients that walk through our doors every day. At the end of the day, the Silent Appointment is just a great way for people to say, “Hey, today I just need to make some space for myself,” without fear of judgment or awkwardness, and I think that’s a really cool gift we can give to our guests.