Name: Sarah Braim
Title: Owner and Stylist
Organization/Business: House of Blond
What do you do and how did you get here?
I am a hair stylist and the owner of House of Blond. I have been a stylist for 20 years, and it was my best friends stepmom (another stylist) who greatly influenced my decision. When I was younger, I actually wanted to be a pyro technician but after working as a stylist for a few days, I knew right away that I wanted to cut and style hair for a living. I spent some time working in salons in Europe, and then decided to move back home to Canada. I couldn’t decide between Vancouver and Montreal until I was offered a job from a hair styling company in Vancouver to run their education program. After a working for years intensively training new stylists, I knew it was time to break away and open my own business. I created a business plan for the space in the Alhambra Building that is currently occupied by Peckinpah. That space didn’t pan out, and I ended up across the street and settled in our current location with its with hard wood floors, exposed brick walls, a big kitchen, and amazing views of the North Shore. It worked out perfectly.
How did the name “House of Blond” come about?
I am quite blond and have always been identified as such. I have worked in many salons and the idea of a welcoming house or home has always seemed to resonate well with my clients. I didn’t want the words spa or salon in the business name, but rather something sounding cozier and domestic, both for clients and staff. It’s important to have those I work with feel comfortable and supported when they are at work – to have a home away from home as it were.
If you only had 15 minutes in Gastown, how would you spend it?
I would definitely window-shop, go have a drink on the amazing patio at Local, and go to Birds & The Beets because they make really good salads!
What do you like about Gastown?
The diversity and the amalgamation of all different walks of life. It’s not just locals and people who live here, but the tourists as well. Night and day, the neighbourhood streets are alive with people from around the city and across the world. One of my favourite things in Gastown is watching people take pictures of the steamclock. I find the concept both strange and funny. People stand there in big clumps, phones and cameras poised at the ready, waiting patiently with baited breath, for that magic moment when the clock strikes and steam finally bellows out from the pipes. Whatever floats your boat I guess?!
Can you recall a particularly happy moment or cool experience here in Gastown?
When I first opened up the salon four years ago, I was blown away by the welcome and support I received from the other business owners in the neighbourhood. Gastown is extremely supportive of independent business, and this was a unique experience that is rarely found in many other parts of the city. I still experience this connection and unity with my neighbours and with other Gastown business owners. I am part of a community that’s vibrant and forever supportive of one another. It’s wonderful!
What’s your philosophy for a good life?
Get yourself a dog. My dog Meela has changed my life in the past year. She is now a registered therapy dog and will soon be working with BC Children’s Hospital and in Hospice environments caring for the elderly. Balance is so important – work hard and enjoy life. And don’t drink too much coffee.