Victoria entrepreneurs put Earth first

For Victoria’s eco-conscious clientele, it’s a perfect fit.

If you get your hair done at one unique Victoria salon, not only will you look fantastic, but you might just end up saving the world’s oceans.

Husband and wife team Kurtis Brown and Chantelle Pasychny are owners of designHouse, a popular salon based at Victoria Public Market at the Hudson. In the two years since opening, they’ve gained a steady stream of loyal customers based onhair design and an uncompromising commitment to protecting environment.

“Kurtis had a vision of combining the health world with the beauty world,” says Pasychny, 28, between customers at the busy salon. “We believe in beauty from the inside out, not just the surface beauty that a lot of other hair salons focus on sometimes.”

For Victoria’s eco-conscious clientele, it’s a perfect fit.

The pair’s Earth-first perspective on the beauty industry began when Brown was injured while serving in the Royal Canadian Navy.

“Kurtis hurt his back and was sent to acupuncture without ever having tried it,” says Pasychny. “He was blown away. He hadn’t even considered it as a possible treatment.”

In fact, the effectiveness of the holistic cure was so life-changing that Brown decided to leave his 13-year career in the military to train as an acupuncturist. At the same time Pasychny, who has been working as a hair stylist since high school, was writing up her business plan for her own salon. The combination of Brown’s philosophy and Pasychny’s ability was a natural fit.

“We have an on-call acupuncturist, massage therapy, reflexology — anything that brings wellness into the beauty industry. We just had our two-year anniversary and it’s been nice to see how the people in the community have attached to our concept.”

designHouse was the first salon on Vancouver Island to team up with Green Circle Salons – a Toronto-based company that works with salons across Canada to reduce the industry’s notorious environmental impact. They encourage recycling, safe disposal of toxic colour tubes, and even collect thousands of kilograms of discarded hair to help clean up the world’s oceans.

“(All of our used hair) is turned into hair booms that are used to soak up West Coast oil spills,” Pasychy says proudly.

The couple’s environmental efforts were recognized last year when they won Davines’ Eco Salon Design of the World Award, a worldwide competition that rewards salon owners who strive for environmental preservation.

• Check out designHouse’s website here,

• To see a video that shows just how effective hair can be at sopping up oil spills go here.