Yaletown: Blo one of many salons with singular focus

No cuts, no colour at Blo

Maggie McInnes calls Blo in Yaletown her "secret hideout."

A resident of downtown Vancouver for 25 years and Yaletown for five, McInnes has her blond locks blow-dried at Blo up to three times a week for a cost of nearly $100, sometimes with her dachshund and Rottweiler cross dog curled up in her lap.

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"For me, it's totally worth it," said McInnes, a consultant and writer. "To me this is time saving and it's like going to a spa. There's nothing better than having somebody blow-dry your hair. I can come in first thing in the morning, by the time I arrive at the office I'm relaxed and I've also caught up on everything I need to catch up on, because there's something about getting the bad news over email while you're getting your hair done, it doesn't seem quite as bad anymore."

At Yaletown's six-year-old Blo, the company's original location in Canada, your hair can't be coloured or cut. But it can be styled.

And it isn't the only Yaletown business that concentrates on just one patch of hair.

Noir Lash Lounge started focusing solely on lash extensions next door on the 1100-block of Hamilton Street in 2009, and both Bombay Brow Bar and Stripped wax bar for "ladies and gents" opened the first of their three locations in Yaletown in 2010.

"We chose this neighborhood for our first location because we felt our business would really complement the other niche beauty salons that had recently opened such as Blo, Skoah, Noir and Bombay," said Susan Vu, owner and founder of Stripped, in an email to the Courier.

Jenny Randhawa, owner of Blo's three downtown locations, says Blo, Noir, Bombay and Stripped share clientele who want efficient service and don't have hours to spend at a salon or spa. "It's such a good mixture of the younger crowd versus the older crowd [in Yaletown who have] the ability to take care of themselves a little more than others," she said.

Professional women slide into Blo's chairs before and after work and an array of women flock to Blo on the weekends. "Obviously, Saturdays are crazy," Randhawa said. "It's difficult to get an appointment if you don't pre-book."

Often clients head straight from Blo to neighbouring restaurants and bars.

Bombay Brow Bar at 1056 Mainland St. is smaller than the 550-square-foot Blo and decorated with even more pink, relaxing its reclined clients with a mix of upbeat Indian and Arabic music and chai.

Bombay's signature "bombshell brows" service costs $23 and some customers return every three to four weeks. Customers can pre-pay for multiple visits and get one for free, book parties and bridal packages.

Blo has hosted birthday parties for girls as young as five, and one recently for 10-year-olds who headed afterward to the Sutton Place Hotel for its chocolate buffet. It also hosted half-a-dozen women who patronized Noir, the Opus hotel, Raw Canvas and a Glowbal restaurant for their bachelorette "staycation." Bombay and Blo together will visit a law firm on April 25 to treat its female lawyers and administrative assistants for Administrative Professional's Day.

As for McInnes, her appointment Wednesday afternoon preceded a work dinner and a Thursday morning board meeting.

"Then, you know, it's Friday night, and who knows what's going to happen?" she said.



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