With so many stores and businesses closing what seems like everyday, when new ones open their doors it feels like something to celebrate. That’s exactly why we’re thrilled to celebrate the opening of we are we are — Queen West’s newest hidden gem of a hair studio. Owned by David Nadicci who is a L’Oreal Professional Portfolio Artist and Teacher, this hair haven needs to be on your radar.
The studio (which feels more like a cool and cozy loft) consists of five accomplished hair pros who all complement each other. The team’s talents range from cuts and colours, to colour correction, bridal, and even blonding.
We had a chance to catch up with David to not only find out more about we are we are, but to get the scoop on how he got to where he is today.
What was your first job? How did it lead you to where you are today?
Before I got into hair styling, I had a series of contract jobs…anything from bricklaying to landscaping to renovations, I’ve done a lot of that work. Although very different from what I do now, my jobs have always been physical labour and I’ve always worked with my hands. I don’t know what it’s like to be in an office environment, that was never my path. I like to do, make, create.
What made you want to become a hairstylist?
What drew me to hairstyling was the creative and social aspect – two things I’m passionate about. I liked that there was an opportunity to carve out an independent path and I really like the energy in making people feel good about themselves. I get a burst of positivity from my clients and that’s exciting to me.
Congrats on opening we are we are! What’s the process been like opening up your own place?
Thank you! Overall the process has been really good. It was exciting to create a space the way I wanted and build a collective of amazing stylists to join me on this adventure. After looking at 30 places, I lucked out with this spot. It’s in such a great location, steps from Trinity Bellwoods Park and it just felt right. I did the renovations myself along with my Dad. It was easier putting in 12-15 hour days because I was creating something of my own. I liked having the freedom to design it the way I wanted.
Who or what do you look to for inspiration?
Currently I’m gravitating towards the sleek allure of the 60s and 70s – from music to art to hair and decor, I love that whole feel and vibe. When it comes to celebrity stylists, I’m inspired by Guido Palau, he pushes the boundaries of hair and what’s typically thought of as beauty. His work is really different than what you see everyday. I’m also inspired by Chris Aappleton. He does all the big celebrities hair like J-Lo, the Kardashians, everyone. His work is flawless.
What’s your advice to someone looking to get into the industry/open up their own salon?
Start by researching the hair school you want to go to. If you’re already in hair school and ready to look for a job, I recommend checking out salons to figure out which ones align with your style. Instagram is a good place to start. A trick in the industry is to book a haircut with the owner of the salon and then you’ll get one hour with them to observe, ask questions, build a relationship. Tell them you want to learn and be persistent, within reason.
If you’re considering opening your own salon, figure out if you want to open a traditional vs. non-traditional salon. In a traditional setting, you’re the salon owner, you’d have a receptionist taking care of bookings and typically there is salon hierarchy. What I’m doing is the non-traditional model. We are a collective of hair artists, running our own businesses from the same space and there’s no hierarchy. We’re responsible for our own bookings so this model works well for stylists who have a big clientele list. It’s more hustle this way, but more freedom.
What’s a hair trend you wish would go away?
A men’s pompadour cut is a beautiful haircut when executed properly, but it’s gone from a classic gentleman’s haircut into a not so great version. Good examples of the pompadour are John Travolta in Greece, Bruno Mars and even Alicia Keys had it at one point. The way it’s changed, at least what I see in Toronto, is flowy on the top (good) but too shaved down on the sides.
When it comes to women’s style, I prefer a looser curl – more of a bend instead of tight, perfect curls.
What makes we are we are stand out from other hair salons?
We are an unconventional hair studio. We are a collective work space. My focus is to build a thriving collective for hair artists to work independently, managing their own time and schedules, but at the same time, giving them a space to work collaboratively. Both of these aspects are very important to me, and we have the right mix of people to achieve this. We all have unique strengths that complement each other and our studio is unlike what’s out there. It feels like a cozy apartment or a clubhouse. I’m happy with the vibe we create every day.
What’s a surprising fact about yourself?
Most people know me with long hair and a beard, but for years I had a shaved head.
What’s one of your favourite looks to create?
This time of year women are asking for fringes and bangs and I’m really into that. I also love creating lived in colour for my clients. My thing is enhancing the natural – building on a person’s natural beauty.
Ultimately, I get to know my clients, their lifestyle, how much time they spend on their hair, how much time they want to spend on their hair and I go from there. I want it to work for them.
Who are some of your role models/mentors?
Brennen Demelo, Justin Rousseau and Matthew Collins all played important roles in my life and helped me get to where I am today. Brennen gave me my first start as a hairstylist and he opened my eyes to a whole other side of the industry with editorial and commercial.
Justin is an artist in every sense of the word. He paints, sculps, designs, and he approaches the art of hair like no one else. Working with him for years gave me a different perspective and he would challenge me to create different looks for people. He’s very in tune with fashion and art, and he has a way of translating that into hair.
Matthew Collins is one of my best friends. He is a force in the industry and he has a willingness to never give up. He keeps moving forward and he’s crazy talented. I’ve never seen anyone work so efficiently and consistently.
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