Walking into The Fox Den hair salon, nestled in the backyard of Anna and Aki Kettula's Garibaldi Highlands house, is like stepping into a cozy little cabin or summerhouse in the woods. All that's missing is the lake.
It's bright, with big windows facing onto trees and mountains, and pale blue walls setting off quirky details that Kettula has added to make her little salon space her own.
She converted the detached space herself, renovating it to be a self-contained salon, and designing it with her own minimalist, cozy style, which she describes as "rustic cabin-modern."
Plants hanging in macramé, colourful pots and accents, and lots of wood make the space warm and inviting.
Also, clients can sip a hot drink while they listen to Spotify playlists and enjoy having the salon space all to themselves.
"Kind of like having a friend over for tea," Kettula says.
A stylist with 15 years of experience, including two stints at organic salons in New Zealand and Finland (her husband is Finnish), Kettula waited until they moved from Vancouver to Squamish to put her dream of an all-natural salon into motion.
She knew that using natural products and having as small a footprint as possible was her biggest priority.
"There'd be times when I couldn't even see what I was doing because my eyes were burning so much from the smell of ammonia, or feeling the need to wear a mask because it was too strong to breathe, and getting light-headed," Kettula said of working in typical salons. "I've always been a bit more sensitive to products but have really noticed it in the last few years, not just on myself but with clients too."
Kettula uses Danish colour line Natulique, one of the only all natural ammonia-free hair colour brands in the world, and — full disclosure — I've been to The Fox Den for colouring, and yes, there is miraculously no smell.
"After doing it for 15 years and breathing in all those chemicals, I knew, it just can't be good," she said. "We live in such a beautiful place, I want to do my part to preserve it as much as I can, avoid chemicals and artificial fragrances, stuff that is harmful to ourselves and the earth."
All the products at The Fox Den are natural or organic, and Kettula has enlisted Greencircle Salons to help keep all of her waste out of the landfill. Greencircle is based in Toronto, and recycles and repurposes the by-products of beauty, such as foils and packaging; hair clippings are even repurposed to clean up oil spills.
"It just makes so much sense to me, there's no other way," Kettula said. "Because there is the option of using natural products, why would you not? It costs a bit more, but to me, there's no price tag on your health. You can tell the difference, your body can, when there's no smell, no ammonia, all those chemicals, it's just so much healthier."
For more information go to https://www.foxdenhair.com/.
Stacy Thomas is The Chief’s business columnist who focuses on new, Squamish, independently owned shops that have recently opened in town. If you have a business you think she should feature, write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.