There are few cities in this world that are so small and yet, so vibrant. Victoria is a hub for culture, art and fashion all wrapped up in beautiful Victorian architecture and stunning natural beauty. One of the most incredible things about this city is the passion that these artists and fashionistas bring to their communities. We had the great pleasure of chatting with Robin Achterberg of Parlor Hair Boutique…
TASTE MAG: Did you always know you wanted to be a hairstylist?
ROBIN ACHTERBERG: “Growing up, I always loved fashion and as a kid. I’d play with my friends’ hair, trying different styles and up-dos. My dream though, was to become a costume designer.”
TM: What kicked off your career?
RA: “After graduating high school, I moved to California where I took a few fashion courses. A couple of years later, I returned to Canada where came across a competition to win a full scholarship to hair school. I couldn’t believe it when I actually won! So I enrolled in school soon after and I will never forget the feeling I had when I did my first haircut. It just felt right. Since, my career has been a steady climb getting to the places I've wanted to go – and looking back, I can’t help but feel so fortunate because everything has just fallen into place.”
TM: How did Parlor get started?
RA: “A few years ago I had opened my own little salon and loved working for myself, but it was tough to maintain the work/life balance that I was going for. When the opportunity to open Parlor with Kelsey and Sarah Marie was presented to me, I jumped at the chance. They are such incredible, strong women and I am so lucky to have this joint venture with them. The great thing about Parlor is that we also work as stylists in the salon with our amazing team. So we really get the best of both worlds. Our team is very close and we have so much respect and love for each other.”
TM: Tell me more about Parlor!
RA: “Parlor Hair Boutique was created to be a place where people can come to feel connected and comfortable and leave looking incredible. We were so lucky to find a space in a beautiful heritage building that is just flooded with natural light. Because it is such an incredibly beautiful space we decided to decorate with sweet and simple details that are subtle and homey. We’ve put our hearts into the place and Parlor is really a reflection of who we are. We’re a L'oreal Professionnel and Pureology salon, so we work with amazing products and our stylists are all so talented and execute so much care in what they do. We’re also total hair nerds! We love learning new techniques so we can always stay ahead of the curve.”
TM: What, for you is the best aspect of being in the Victoria fashion community?
RA: “I am so inspired by the amount of local talent here in Victoria and it’s awesome that I live in a place that is full of people who are passionate about supporting local artists.”
TM: What inspires you to create?
RA: “As a L'oreal Professionnel Color Portfolio artist I have a responsibility to keep up with trends and techniques. Plus, my position on the team means that I am training and teaching alongside some of the best professionals in the hair industry, which is so exciting. Each time I finish a L’oreal event, I get such a fire in my belly to take everything I’ve experienced back to Parlor and share it with my clients.”
TM: What look do you love most for Fall/Winter 2015?
RA: “One of the strongest looks this season is called the wob (wavy bob). It’s a part of the L'oreal Professionnel collection and it is seriously amazing. Add some beautiful balayage* to bring out texture and movement and it is absolutely killer. I love a shorter cut for fall. This is the time of year when you start wearing scarves and cozy sweaters. I think it's nice to have a cut that can be out in the wind, against a scarf, or under a touque and still look great – and this season, that look is the wob. Hands down.”
TM: Imagine a perfect day off, what would that look like?
RA: “Simplicity is key for me! I’d start with a great cup of coffee and cozy up with a book. Once my little girl was up, we would just hang out until we eventually made our way out the door to one of our favourite brunch spots. Then we’d go for a walk or head to a park. Later, I would tackle a home project or start one of the many crafts I have my heart set on. Then we’d finish the day with a nice dinner, a good movie by the fire and a great glass of wine (or two!)”
TM: What are your favourite haunts around town?
RA: “The top of my list is has to be The Burtchart Gardens. It's beautiful all year long so I try to make it at least once each season. Our all time favourite pizza place is Prima Strada, you can find us there every Friday! For brunch we head to The Village. They have the best breakfasts! The Italian Benny is amazing.”
TM: What is your ‘show off’ dish that you make at home?
RA: “I make pretty great lasagna. Anything pasta related seems to be my go-to when entertaining. It’s just my thing!”
TM: What, in your opinion is the most important local charity or organization?
RA: “One of the most important charities is Victoria Women's Transition House Society. I love what this organization does to provide a safe place for women experiencing abuse. They offer help, support, counselling and shelter for women and children who need guidance and confidence to leave their harmful situations."
TM: What impact you see the Victoria Women’s Transition House Society having on the community?
RA: “I believe that organizations like this benefit everyone and have a huge impact on our community. Building women up and supporting them to finding peace and happiness is the beginning of endless possibilities. Giving women the opportunities they deserve will only build them up to become the women they once dreamed they could be. We need strong, inspiring women out there impacting our community. Everyone has a story, and everyone has the right to pursue their goals no matter what trials they've faced.”
TM: Is there anything about our fair city that you’d like to see improved?
RA: “I think it would be great if shops were open a little later into the evenings. As wonderful it is to live in a peaceful city, it would be nice if there was a little more hubbub in the downtown core at night.”
TM: How would you describe your personality as a flavour profile?
RA: “I would say sweet and spicy...I tend to be an easygoing person with a sensitive heart, but the spice will come out if necessary!”
TM: How do you take your coffee?
RA: “I like it simple - Americano with a little milk…aahhh.”
Follow Parlor on Twitter @ParlorVictoria
*balayage: a French word meaning to sweep or to paint. It allows for a sun-kissed natural looking hair colour - similar to what nature gives us as children - with softer, less noticeable regrowth lines. The principal idea being less is more when creating soft, natural looks – via Marie Clare