Prior to opening Birch & Lace in 2014, Sara Sansom was considering a career change. She loved her job but the beauty industry’s impact on the environment was making her hair stand on end.
Through Green Circle Salons, an environmental organization in Ontario, hair at Birch and Lace is collected and used to make booms that help with oil spills. Other waste from the salon is incinerated in Vancouver with the energy going back onto the power grid and the ash used in asphalt.
“My heart was in it for the right reasons, this is a competitive edge for sure, which I am keen on, but I also think it is really important that everyone kind of starts thinking on it, at least,” she said.
What started with three stylists and manager has grown to a team of 13 and moved in to a third location.
“I’m so thankful, because hiring is not easy and I feel like I have just had these gems of humans come to be and be attracted to what we are doing and that’s so cool,” Sansom said.
Though moving a business to a larger location in the midst of a pandemic may seem weird, Sansom was considering the move prior to COVID. With a team of nine and only six chairs at the old location on First St. scheduling enough hours for everyone already meant staying open late, however, pandemic restrictions meant they could only operate three chairs at once and that was a problem.
“I wanted to make sure my team had hours because without them, they are the business. I can’t afford to lose them,” she said.
The new location on Mackenzie Avenue has both salon and spa menu items and plenty of room for expansion, and Sansom has held on to the old location, to open Forage & Fill, which will offer refills on things such as laundry detergent and hand soap as well as selling consignment clothing.
She said her new store is something she wanted to see in Revelstoke for a long time.
Sansom and her partner visited Revelstoke in 2011, he had convinced her that it would be a rad place to go. Sansom vividly remembers stopping in two different businesses, Mountain Goodness and Sangha Bean, a coffee shop that closed in 2017.
“I was just so inspired by the conversations I had and by how the businesses were operated,” she recalled.
They were only here for 24 hours but she wanted more.
“I was like yeah sure you can snowboard and I can find cool things to do.”
*Correction notice: We incorrectly spelled Sara’s last name in the print version of this story.