Interview with Petra from Petrichor Hair Workshop

I have had an attachment to my hair since high school, always styling it in new and different ways and ready to change it at the drop of the hat. I had been going to Hive Hair Salon in Victoria to see my amazing hair stylist Jadah for a few years. Even after moving to Ucluelet I would still make the drive to go down to see her. In August was my last visit with her before she headed off to London for better things across the pond. Luckily before our 3 hour hair date ended she suggested I go and see Petra from Petrichor Hair Workshop in Tofino. I was apprehensive at first since I dread meeting new hair stylists, but Jadah reassured me that Petra was the best at blondes in Tofino. That sold me and I made an appointment with her a few weeks back and couldn't have been happier with my cut and colour.

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Petra was so welcoming and her studio was an absolute dream. It didn't only feel like an upscale, boutique salon, it also felt relaxing and calm like you were spending the afternoon catching up with a friend. The products she has at the salon are some of the best and I really wanted to buy it all but I restrained myself. I'm already looking forward to my next cut and colour with Petra and was so happy she wanted to do an interview for the blog. Read on to learn more about the best hair stylist in Tofino and next time you need a little freshening up on your cut, make sure to book in with her. Check out her Instagram: @petrichor.hair.workshop and website: http://www.petrichorhairworkshop.com/

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Tell me a bit about yourself?

My name is Petra, I’m a Taurus and I live in Tofino. I’m pretty into my job (stylist and salon owner), having an active lifestyle, learning energetic healing practices and snuggling with my boyfriend Jason and our cat Oliver.

Where are you from originally?

I’m originally from a small city in Northern Ontario called North Bay. I lived there with my parents and siblings until I turned 19. I never really liked North Bay because the winters are so harsh and long and there wasn’t much to do as a kid. Growing up I was really into music and art, my parents encouraged my siblings and I to be expressive and listen to whatever music we liked which was a solid way to pass time. Because we were just starting to get access to music on the internet, mostly you had to find whatever HMV sold, it was good enough for grunge music but for the underground music that I was into it was tricky to find. I ended up sourcing inspiration out of my dad’s records a lot or listening to a lot of local bands and going to a ton of shows.

How did you end up on the West Coast?

After a year of floating around working at the clinic as well as apprenticing as a body piercer at a tattoo shop, I decided to go to college. I wasn’t so inspired to go to college but my friends were all doing it so I followed their footsteps and studied ECE. That summer my best friend Krystle convinced me to move out west for a summer. I agreed as long as we went as far west as possible, which equated to 4 days straight on a greyhound bus landing us in Tofino. We both worked on MacKenzie beach and had a really beautiful and wild summer. I have lived in Tofino or Victoria ever since.

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What inspires you?

I dressed however I wanted. I was pretty into fashion and doing my hair from a young age. I started colouring my own hair when I was about 11 years old, back then I had a pixie cut, so I would change my hair colour pretty often. From red to blonde to pink to black, I would be really influenced by whatever rockstar I was into. I really wanted to be a singer in a punk band, I could sing, but when I would audition I would totally freeze up. So instead I just sang in my own room and played with my makeup and dyed my hair and looked cool. I was always changing my look from punky short black and spiky, to pink glittery raver looks, to copper long flowing ethereal locks or dirty messy bleached grungy. The type of music I was really into at the time always dictated my hairstyle.

Have you always wanted to be a hair stylist?

Although I was so into hair and fashion I never planned on being a hairstylist. My first choice for post secondary was to go to art school. However, my parents didn’t think I would be able to sculpt a future from being a painter and a sculptor, which was the mediums I was mostly working with at the time. I had a part time job at a chiropractor clinic and I was really into the healing arts as well, so I was entertaining the idea of being a Doctor. I had great grades in chemistry and biology, but it was just too much school, I was too restless to commit.

How did you get into hair styling?

In 2006 I attended cosmetology school in Victoria. Finally something really clicked or just understood the balance of art, chemistry and geometry that the base line for everything in hair and makeup too for that matter. I immediately moved back to Tofino after the program and have been a full time hair stylist and makeup artist for 10 years now. I can’t imagine what else I would want to do in the world, aside from traveling the world as a high end spa critic...(lol)

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What do you love most about your job?

For me the appeal of the job has always been based around the quality of life. Every day I get to meet new people, or hang out with awesome long-term clients who are more like friends. We hang out and create together. I love having real talk with people that really energizes me. Every day I have an opportunity to make someone feel amazing and learn a new point of view.

What trends are you seeing for hair right now?

Being a stylist is never mundane thanks to changing trends. There is always something to learn if you are humble and willing to expand capabilities. Lately the trend with hair cutting has been moving away from full hard lines and into a more choppy texture. This is a totally different cutting method from back when I was in hair school and it was all about graduated bob’s and feathered mullets. I went through a period of time when I was convinced that I would always have a mullet haircut (no joke!) With colour, for me the trend will always be the fineness, to bring all four dimensions into my colours. The vertical and horizontal planes, the highlights and shadows, for me it’s always about bringing elements together in a way that is both flattering and interesting. It’s my goal that no matter what shape or palette that we work with, that when my clients come back to the salon for their seasonal refresh their hair still looks great. The bulk of my clients are from our local communities in Ucluelet and Tofino. There are a select few who come to see me from London, New York, and Melbourne. I have to shout out for a few in Port Alberni too who religiously drive an hour and a half through our mountain pass for regular services. When people make an effort to come see me that really flatters me. I try not to take how amazing any of this is for granted.

What is your favourite hair product or hair styling tool?

I make a lot of investments in continuous education and tools every year. Apparently it’s a Taurus’ nature to want the best of everything in life, I believe it when I look through my tools! I have about 7 pairs of shears and I usually use about 3 or 4 of them on any one haircut. I invested in some curved scissors and a few texture focused cutting classes last spring that really inspired me. However, I would have to say that the Dyson Supersonic Hairdryer makes my days!

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You own Petrichor Hair Workshop, did you always dream of owning your own studio?

Through the years working at different hair salons in Tofino and Victoria I never imagined I would be a shop owner. To be honest the idea didn’t appeal to me at all. I spent so much time focusing on my craft that I felt like before I wanted to focus on numbers and business I just wanted to be creative and take the time to be creative, connect with people and make myself a better stylist everyday.

When did you open Petrichor Hair Workshop?

Petrichor has been an independent salon going into four years now. Originally I ran the full service shop from a rental house her in Tofino. Last year some pretty amazing opportunities were presented to me, which gave me the opportunity to secure a lovely space downtown. I was able to build and design my own vision of the most beautiful, mid-century inspired, boutique salon in the area. There is a lot of room for growth, running the shop for the last year has been an invigorating experience. I am definitely ready to share it and grow with a team of like-minded stylists and artists. I have had several visions around where the space can grow; while all are pretty cool I try not to become attached to any. I try to keep my heart open to see what opportunities may arise.

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I want to thank Petra for being a part of my blog, it's so wonderful to feel like part of a community here on the West Coast. As well I would like to thank Karly Bracey who took all these amazing photographs of the interior of Petrichor Hair Workshop. Be sure to book your next appointment with Petra!