Lebel & Crowe
By Christine Ottoni

The Business of Friendship

Lebel & Crowe is a laid-back co-op salon located on Dundas West at Gladstone. Opening its doors in 2012, Lebel & Crowe is the brainchild and passion project of long time colleagues Jesse Crowe and Emily Lebel. The two met while working together in a Toronto salon. “We decided to join forces,” explains Emily. “We started small, in a small studio on Queen West, to get our feet grounded. And we learned how to run a business.”

Formed under the banner of friendship, these stylists knew they wanted their salon experience to be different. “We want people to walk away feeling relaxed and confident in themselves and our abilities,” explains Emily. “And hopefully they want to come back again and hang out with us.”

Clients started to hear of the sunny, friendly space on Queen West, and eventually, these entrepreneurs outgrew the location. In January of 2015, they moved to a larger, but still intimate, space in Brockton Village. Their team grew with the happy additions of Caitlin Gordon and Melody Bostelaar, rounding the stylist team off to four. “We all work for ourselves under one name,” explains Emily. “That helps keep things very relaxed.”

The salon operates differently from your standard cut and dye joint. All four stylists share one space, but are their own bosses. This independent attitude carries over directly to the chair, where clients soak up a homey, relaxed vibe. Styling focuses on low pressure ’dos and low maintenance upkeep with client confidence being the ultimate goal. It’s a great place for a hair tune-up, an atmosphere where you can kick it for a while, chatting up your friendly and easygoing stylist.

We want people to walk away feeling relaxed and confident in themselves and our abilities. And hopefully they want to come back again and hang out with us. - Emily Lebel, co-owner and stylist

A Laid-back Salon Experience

Stepping into Lebel & Crowe is familiar and unique all at once. It’s like visiting your cool, arty friend’s apartment. There’s an eye for detail and aesthetic, without being overwhelming or too in-your-face. “We didn’t really have a plan for the space,” explains Emily. “We all just started bringing things in and it came together.”

The salon has a big front window seating with a wooden bench where clients can comfortably lounge before their appointment. Magazines, comfy pillows, potted plants and trinkets are stacked on shelves, along the bench and in the window sill, adding a touch of decadence.

The space is small, working to underscore its homey, laid-back vibe. The styling area is accented by vintage salon chairs, each facing antique mirrors and rustic shelving where the stylists stock their minimal tools. Opposite the chairs, there’s a wall with framed pictures, a tidy hanging rack for coats and a colourful wall of Kevin Murphy products available for purchase.

Two large photorealistic portraits hang on the back wall, over the hair washing station. The paintings, by Toronto artist Zoe Trommer, were commissioned by Jesse when the new space opened. The portraits feature the same girl with two different hairdos: long hair in the first painting and a clean, long bob in the second – paying homage to a classic before and after shot.

Clients bustle in and out throughout the day. Some just stop by to say hello or catch up with their stylist. Lebel & Crowe has tapped into the obvious yet elusive idea that getting a haircut should be a relaxing experience. “We’re very laid-back women,” explains Emily. “And we’re easy to chat with. We’re not trying to be anything we’re not.”

Lebel & Crowe's styling area is accented by vintage salon chairs, each facing antique mirrors and rustic shelving where the stylists stock their minimal tools.
Lebel & Crowe has a big front window seating with a wooden bench where clients can comfortably lounge before their appointment.

“Yours in Hair”

Lebel & Crowe has garnered the attention of cool city types across Toronto, eager for a new kind of salon experience. “We specialize in everyday looks that work,” explains Emily. “We work with natural texture and keep styling low maintenance.”

The salon uses Kevin Murphy haircare products and colours with L’Oreal. They offer bridal styling, upstyles, blowdrys, a range of colouring options and free bang trims. Women’s haircuts run from $55 to $70 and men’s cuts go for $35 to $50. Kids 13 to 16 are $35 and kids under 12 are $25.

Lebel & Crowe has made a comfortable home in the Dundas West neighbourhood. The ultimate standout is the warm relationships between the stylists and clients. You get the sense that you’re among friends and you’re welcomed with an authentic hospitality. It seems like the Lebel & Crowe team really love what they do.

Lebel & Crowe uses Kevin Murphy haircare products, which are available for purchase.
Visiting Lebel & Crowe is like visiting your cool, arty friend’s apartment.
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