My name is Jennifer Thomas and I am the owner and founder of The Artisans Edge. I have been in the industry for almost 30 years. I remember having a meeting with my guidance counselor in grade 10 in which she was assisting me in course selection. She encouraged me to enroll in a cosmetology class in another high school across town. On the first day I learned that I could become a licenced stylist if I finished the course to completion.
Over the next 3 years I took 10 credits in cosmetology, writing my final exam in the summer of 1993,and graduated high school as a licenced hairstylist. I had always enjoyed hairdressing, but I developed a passion in men’ hair. So after a life change in 2016, I decided to begin a business plan to open my own business and support myself. and put my sales, management and leadership training to work. After extensive planning and market research, I decided my first shop would be in Gravenhurst. After learning several barbers had recently retired, I felt I could fill the need in the marketplace and I found a small space and renovations began.
In the spring of 2017, the Barber Pole outside of my small 200 square foot space in the Historical Albion building started spinning.
On opening day, I was sweeping the front steps, and an elderly gentleman walked up to me and introduced himself. His name was Terry and he said his best friend Doug was a Barber many years ago in the very space we were standing. Terry asked me if I took walk-ins, and he became a client that day. Terry told all his friends to go meet the new lady barber in Albion and one by one the clients began to walk in and in a few short months I had a devoted clientele. I was happy to meet Doug later that week and we got a picture together and his picture still hangs on the wall of our new shop in honor of him.
I wanted to become one of the best Lady Barbers in Muskoka, and in a short time I had become that to many, but it wasn’t going to be enough. I wanted more, a lot more. As the business grew and I built my clientele, I knew eventually I’d have to turn people away. I could of course only do so many haircuts in one day. I never wanted to turn one down. So I started hiring people and knew that in order to grow The Artisans Edge into a brand people loved, I needed to help others also to achieve their professional goals. I knew that in order to really offer more to the clients, and to the employees that worked with me, I needed to grow and expand and step away from the chair more. As I encouraged my clients to try a new Barber on my team, I finally started to see the transformation. I was starting to be able to work on the business and not in it.
In September of 2019 we opened our second location in Huntsville with no intentions of stopping there. Opening my business has taught me how much I love to build. Although being the best was my passion, Creating jobs and making a difference in people’s lives is my new one as an employer, a visionary, and a mentor. Becoming a mentor and a leader and helping others to do the same, inspires me to build and envision even more than I could ever imagined.
Building a small business is truly a community effort. My plan is to open a private college in Bracebridge where we can help others achieve a career in the trade my team and I love so much and help other shops within Muskoka and beyond find apprentices and create employment. My inspiration stems from the opportunity I was given as a young teen to become a licenced stylist, an opportunity I never would of never had, if it hadn’t been for the support of others who believed in the trades.
I believe you should love what you do and be the best you can be at it every day for you. By following the passion and not the paycheck it will help you to overcome the challenges when you’re faced with them and do so with a positive outlook. I’ve been fortunate to have success, and have loved creating something from nothing but I’ve learned one very important thing . Ive learned it’s not the setbacks that define us, it’s the comebacks. Seeing what we’ve achieved as a team and a community. and knowing what my business means to the people that work there and support it, has humbled me and I’m truly grateful.
My name is Pam Ricottone Barber at Artisans Edge BarberShop. I always had a passion for cutting and styling hair since I was in my teens. 6 years ago I left the field of Social Work to pursue my dream of becoming a stylist. I soon found my Niche and expertise in men’s hair. I truly enjoy the traditional feel of a barber shop and LOVE creating that experience for my clients making each one walk out feeling like a new man.
Brittany has been in the hair business for 7 years. She loves all that the trade has to offer including barbering and women’s hairstyling. She loves the outdoors and hanging out with her friends. This hardworking young lady is outgoing and sociable and brings a lot of positive energy to The Artisan’s Edge Team.
Kim is a passionate senior hairstylist who brings fifteen years of experience to the team. She grew up and started her career in Barrie and has called Muskoka home for the last eleven years.
She likes to spend time with her friends and loves enjoying all that nature has to offer with her family!
Kim’s work is detailed and precise, she also specializes in hair colour and aspires to continuously further her knowledge in the hair industry. She is dedicated to making sure every gentleman that sits in her chair leaves the shop feeling great not only about his haircut but his overall experience as well.
This is Amanda. When Community Living South Muskoka reached out to us we were excited to get involved with helping Amanda find employment. Amanda is a hardworking and kind hearted young woman. She is always busy sweeping and cleaning up our busy shop and loves greeting the clients with a smile. You can meet Amanda in our Gravenhurst location.
We’re excited to have Natalie join our growing team. She brings many years experience in the hair industry. A little bit about Natalie. In her free time she enjoys reading, baking, traveling, visiting her grandchildren.
When asked why she loves working at The Artisans Edge she says “because I love what I do and all the people I get to meet.
A quote she lives by, “ Be all you can be today because you’re never guaranteed tomorrow”.
Welcome to the team Natalie! We are excited to have you! Natalie is working from our Huntsville and Gravenhurst locations.
I’d like to introduce Avery. She is our co-op student from Gravenhurst High School. In her spare time she likes to make jewelry, play around with hair, look into the fashion industry and hang out with friends and family.
When asked why she likes working at the barbershop she says “I’ve really enjoyed working at the Artisan’s Edge because it’s a really positive environment , they help encourage my dreams and goals and I can’t thank them enough for all the support they have been giving me in my co-op journey”.
Her favorite quote is : “dream until it’s your reality.” We are excited to help students who are interested in getting into the hairdressing trade achieve their professional goals. Welcome to the Artisans Edge Avery. We’re so happy to have you!
Her favourite part of being in the hair industry is the transformations. She says “I love working with my clients to make their vision come true. My goal is to have everyone leave my chair feeling refreshed and defined.
In her free time, she loves being outdoors with her family and travelling. When asked what she loves about The Artisans Edge she said
“Jennifer Thomas. Her big dreams, love for the community & passion for this industry lit a fire in me that won’t ever die.”
A famous quote Katie lives by….
“A wise girl knows her limits. A smart girl knows that she has none” – Marilyn Monroe