Monokrome is an alternative to big bad salons

Over the past three years, this Plateau business has positioned itself as part of a community, and their methods seem to be working — they were voted #5 Best Hair Salon in the Best of MTL readers poll.

Monokrome Katia Jananji Marek Whitechurch
Katia Jananji (left) and Marek Whitechurch (right) at Monokrome in Montreal.

Monokrome Salon has been in business in the Plateau in Montreal for three years, and they’re getting ready to mark this achievement with a public party this summer. Now there’s more to celebrate: they were recently voted the #5 Best Hair Salon in the Best of MTL readers poll.

Monokrome was founded by Marek Whitechurch and Katia Jananji, a married couple with over two decades of combined experience. Their goal— along with the mandate/mantra of “precise work, professionalism and a creative edge” — was to provide an alternative to the city’s bigger salons.

“The hairdressing industry in Montreal wasn’t what we wanted it to be,” says Whitechurch. “I wanted to bring in the art of being a smaller shop and making the clients feel like this is their home. I wanted to make it a bit more like a community, like in the old days when you went to your butcher shop, you went to your grocery store and you knew everyone in there. Our clients come in and they know all of us, and we exchange ideas and recommendations for little bars and coffee shops. Knowing people in the area, we can all help each other to grow small businesses in the Plateau.”

Jananji has a background as the principal instructor at hairdressing school Académie St-Laurent and as creative director at local salon chain Saco. Whitechurch worked at Vidal Sassoon London for over a decade, and became their creative director at the age of 23.

“After hairdressing in London, at 25, 26, I just went off and travelled for a few years, backpacked around the world,” he says. “I wanted to live in a different country and Montreal was where I ended up meeting my wife. We had a long-distance thing for a bit, then six years ago I just decided to move. I loved the energy of the city and the music scene and the art scene.

“I live in Villeray but I always worked around the Plateau area, and it was the place I wanted to stay in. There are a lot of salons there already, but they tend to be salons where people just aren’t apt at working well with clients, they cannot adapt to what their clients’ needs are or take into consideration bone structure and face shape and things like this.”

When they’re not serving Monokrome’s clientele —which ranges from students to seniors, the majority being creative professionals in their mid 20s to mid 30s —the couple also works for Schwarzkopf Professional, a company that sells hair products and tools of the hairdressing trade.

“We work for them as platform artists, so we travel around Canada and teach for them as well,” says Whitechurch. “Education is a big thing in our shop, and teaching means that we keep learning all the time. It’s a big part of what we do here.” ■

Monokrome, 78 Rachel East, Montreal, 514-287-6479

To see the complete results of 2014′s Best of MTL readers poll (Top 10s in 150+ categories), click here

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