Art OF TATTOO THE
LIFESTYLE | CULTURE | PEOPLE | TRENDS
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CONTRIBUTORS SYX LANGEMANN
ALLEY L. BINIARZ
DANIELLE NICHOLSON Interior designer JEN HALE
On the cover: Zack Kassian Edmonton Oilers NHL Watch: courtesy of Joseph-Anthony Fine Jewelry
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EXPAT DRIVE Matt Boismier
6 Editor’s Letter TREND DRIVE 9 What's On Trend? SOCIAL DRIVE 10 Salon Cure EDUCATION DRIVE 16 Social Enterprise: Do Good Deli 19 Girls in Skilled Trades EXPAT DRIVE 24 Matt Boismier PEOPLE DRIVE 28 Tsunami HISTORY DRIVE 34 Canadian Club CULTURE DRIVE 40 The Barbering Boom 48 The Art of Tattoo HOME DRIVE 56 Thanksgiving DIY décor TREND DRIVE 61 Shades of Braids WINE DRIVE 68 LOLA—Pelee Island
28 PEOPLE DRIVE Tsunami
48 CULTURE DRIVE The Art of Tattoo
PASSION FOR CREATIVITY I recently visited the west coast for some R&R and found myself at the famous Venice Beach Skate Park in sunny California. With this issue top of mind, I couldn't miss the opportunity to stop and admire the rippers, locals and fakies pouring their soul into each run. Amazing! The courage, the talent, the calculated moves—it's pure passion speeding by with every wallie, tail grab and spin. Fall is around the corner and while we bid our summer days adieu, we usher in the fall with a focus on people passionate in their creativity—so much so that they are considered artisans and makers at the top of their game. They are best known as skilled craft workers who make or create things by hand that are not just aesthetically pleasing but that are also utilitarian. In this issue, you will meet the artisans and makers we have been hand selected to join our September issue. Not only do they share a passion for their craft in ways that make them very unique, they inspire others to be loyal to their craft. The commitment to the handmade ethic carefully uses a vast array of techniques, materials and production methods—each very specific in their own way. We wanted to celebrate all of this goodness, to give everyone a space to be open and creative in sharing their passion with our readers. Some have a natural born talent while others stumble on their craft and make magic. So to all our magicians in this issue and out there still honing their skills, we thank you for making our world that much more artful, creative and, most of all, passionate. Sabine Main
Editorial + Creative Director 6
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UNCONSCIOUS REALITY DESIGNS Fashion meets function with aromatherapy bracelets handcrafted by Harrow’s Unconscious Reality Designs. Simply place a few drops of your favourite essential oil blend on the highly absorptive lava stone diffuser beads and carry the scent with you throughout your day. The newly released Fall line is full of warm, earthy and grounding combinations, each stone serving a unique purpose. Request your own custom design, or visit stockists Ocean Bottom Soap Company, Rain Fitness, Integrative Healing & Yoga/Float or Priscilla’s Presents. Find @unconsciousrealitydesigns on Instagram or Facebook THEDRIVEMAGAZINE.COM
BREAD MEATS BREAD Get your hands on fine dining in a sandwich. At Bread Meats Bread, they “eat, breathe and love the kitchen life.” The brain-child of Chef David Prantera, this Windsor import delivers the best in chef-driven sandwiches and seasonal small plates. Bread Meats Bread dreams up unexpected takes on classic dishes, all in a meal you can hold in your hand. You’ll always find their signature offerings—The Italian Job Sandwich and fresh hand-rolled gnocchi variations—on the menu, but the rest is designed to highlight fresh, local, seasonal ingredients. There is no compromising in what they do. Find @breadmeatsbread on Instagram or Facebook
TRENDS to watch
CHAPTER TWO Chapter Two Brewing Company opened in February of 2018 near the heart of Old Windsor. Originally what began as a passion project among friends, the space naturally evolved into a hand-crafted expression of what craft brewing is Cicerone® certified brewer Michael Beaudoin has been creating a line-up of beer with an undeniable quality of which even the most hardcore beer drinkers recognize.Whether socializing over some food and pints with friends, enjoying the local entertainment or hosting your own event, Chapter Two Brewing Company is sure to have something to offer everyone. Find @chaptertwobrew on Instagram or Facebook 9
ECO BEAUTY: One Industry, One Environment, Many Little Changes HOW CHRISTINE SPEARHEADED A “GREEN” MOVEMENT THAT COULD EVENTUALLY BECOME THE SALON INDUSTRY NORM By Alley L. Biniarz | Photography: Syx Langemann Christine Withington didn’t consider herself to be the most eco-friendly person. She was just a business owner who wanted to bring something new to the salon industry—or at least, that’s how it began.
final touch– that last bit that would change the nature of her salon: Green Circle Salons.
Green Circle Salons is a company that brings a sustainable solution to the salon industry by taking the time to properly Christine fell in love with a product, but recycle products that would ordinarily end she had no idea that her switch to Kevin up in the landfill or our water system. Murphy would result in an entire sustain“I found out that not only could we able future for her business, Salon Cure, recycle hair, but our aluminum foils and creating bio-plastic bags, or making pillows and for herself. colour tubes could be recycled too. The for dogs in shelters. Finally, the aluminum The high-performing hair product was amount of hair that we collect is crazy, and taken from colour tubes and foils is often everything she was looking for and more. instead of throwing it into the garbage, here repurposed into bike parts. With the line being sulfate-free, sustain- was this alternative. I thought about the bags The first step for Christine was to ably packaged and sourced, Christine and bags of product that wouldn’t have to receive specific boxes from Green Circle. saw a future for her business that allowed end up in the garbage, and my excitement The boxes are sorted into separate “waste” haircare and eco-friendliness to co-exist: grew,” Christine says. materials—foils, dyes and bottles—and the something that was not normally said So what happens with the “waste” instead? second step was to ship it back to Toronto about the industry. Once the salon’s waste is sent to the via UPS. Christine loved the idea of being She had to make a choice then and there, Green Circle headquarters in Toronto, the able to look around her salon and say with and she removed every other product from company properly filters and disposes of hair confidence that nothing there would go in her shelves. Though doing this was finan- dyes and other chemicals by separating them the garbage. It could all be repurposed or cially nerve-wracking, Christine went with from the water, keeping them out of our properly recycled. her gut and she began researching more water treatment plants. The hair collected Christine’s entire purpose became about about the brand and her options. She was is taken and made into wombs to clean the environment. She wanted to be able to obsessed and excited about the possibilities up oceans and lakes. With the abundance ride her motorcycle through our country as she scoured through other Kevin Murphy of excess hair collected recently, a few and look up at the clean blue sky. She salon videos. And that’s when she saw the pilot projects have been launched, such as 10
wanted to stop seeing algae-blooms in our lakes. She learned that most of our earth’s problems was with our landfills and the lack of awareness about waste management, and she needed to be part of the solution.
this title, but I was a little disheartened. We needed to be doing this as an industry. We need this to catch on. As a community we are so devoted to supporting local, and this is about our business doing its part in “It’s all about teaching and education. In the community.” grade school we learn about leaving things It wasn’t enough that she was alone on tidy, and to put things back where you got this journey, and so this past Earth Day, them—this sort of respect for others includes Christine decided to open up the conversarespect for our environment.” tion to other salons. She invited them to do After replacing all of her traditional their part and challenge the norm that was products with “clean” products, Salon Cure the competitive salon industry. was named the first Green Circle Salon in “It’s usually ‘you do your thing, and I’ll Windsor. Christine hoped this would spark do mine,’ but it’s a beautiful thing when we others to change but after a few years she was can all come together to maybe change who shocked to hear that she was still one of the we are as an industry.” only ones in the city. Christine’s concept was to bring as “Of course it made me happy to still hold many salons in the area together to collect THEDRIVEMAGAZINE.COM
as much waste as possible between Earth Day and World Ocean’s Day (April 22 – June 8), to weigh it in, and share the results with the community. When Christine reached out to Jennessa Couture, owner of the second Green Circle Salon in Windsor, Bounce Hair Boutique, Jennessa knew this was something that they had to do. “Global warming seems like a really big task to tackle, and it becomes overwhelming. But if we work together to all do our own little thing, we make it conquerable. This is my way of making sure that as a business, we are being as responsible as possible.” After gathering nine salons for the event, they collectively saved 536.4 lbs of salon waste that would have otherwise been disposed of improperly. 11
SOCIAL DRIVE “It just starts small, but every little bit who have supported me in this decision. counts. Remember the saying: reduce, reuse If we all keep it going, it could become the and recycle? It is that simple!” says Christine. industry norm, and we could eventually say, The salons who joined them for this ‘This is just what we do.’” challenge were: Modify Hair Studio, Since Christine is a large salon combined Bounce Hair Boutique, Voce, Pop Hair with esthetics, she has invested in the big Gallery, Sage Salon, Cabello, Envii Hair package option with Green Circle that also Studio and Carizma. accepts wax strips and nail polish bottles, Carla Homenick, who helped organize but there are also boutique pricing packages Pop Hair Gallery’s involvement with the available for solo stylists or those renting challenge, says that their salon thought chairs. It’s a program that most salons can aspire they were already doing their part in being to participate in, and one that Christine is as ecologically friendly as possible. It turns happy to talk through with anyone curious out they were throwing away half of their to start. products to the wrong facility. “We weren’t paying attention that you could recycle hair colour or plastics. It definitely made us more aware of how we can be more diligent in our neighbourhood,” says Carla. That’s everything that Christine could have hoped for in creating this challenge: to educate and inspire change in other industry professionals. She’s looking forward to finding out if any of the other nine salons that participated in her event have made the switch to be part of the #GreenCircleWEMovement.
“I encourage people in the community to just talk about it. Customers: have a conversation with your stylist—tell them you’ll support them on their journey. Owners, stylists: talk to your families, friends or even me. I would be more than happy to talk about the transition. Was it scary in the start? Yes. But we have more clients coming to us now, and it offsets the extra cost.”
The small changes that Christine has made to her salon have already made a difference in both her business and the environment. Between switching to LED lightbulbs and installing eco-heads that will reduce the water and energy uses by 65%, she is happy to “It’s not a movement yet, but it could and not be contributing to the problem. can be. We all make a choice, and this has She’s part of the solution, and the been our choice. I’m proud of myself, I’m start to the future Windsor-Essex salon proud of my staff and grateful to my clients industry movement.
HERE IS HOW YOU CAN MAKE SMALL CHANGES TO “GO GREEN” AT HOME 1. SWITCHING TO A BAMBOO TOOTHBRUSH Did you know that plastic toothbrushes will outlive us? Some never end up breaking down. Choosing to use a Bamboo Toothbrush is choosing a biodegradable option—simply cut the bristles off before disposing. 2. D RINKING FROM A REUSABLE WATER BOTTLE Plastic water bottles are washing up on shores and ending up in the bellies of whales. A stainless-steel water bottle will not only keep your drink cold for longer, but will last you for years to come. 3. B UYING FROM LOCAL FARMERS’ MARKETS To cut down on carbon emissions made by shipping in goods and exporting from other countries, it’s best to support our local economy (especially with all of the fresh food in Windsor-Essex County). 4. B.Y.O.B OR J (BRING YOUR OWN BAG OR JAR) Whether you’re shopping at your local store, a grocery store or a bulk store like Bulk Barn, bringing these items can noticeably reduce the amount of plastic coming home with you. 5.CHANGING YOUR MENSTRUAL PRODUCTS One pad often contains the same amount of plastic as four supermarket bags, and are made with 90% plastic! With options like menstrual cups, reusable pads and period underwear, we’re on our way to a plastic-free period. 6. BRINGING A STRAW AND CUP WITH YOU TO GET COFFEE Beverages tend to be the greatest “single use” product problem, and the solution is a quick $3-15 reusable cup purchase from a local café or a $5 stainless-steel straw to throw in your iced beverage.
7. MAKING YOUR OWN CLEANING SOLUTION Vinegar and water, essential oils—you name it, there’s a Pinterest recipe for it. Reuse one of your old cleaning bottles, mix and get going. 8. SWITCHING LAUNDRY DETERGENTS Keep the chemicals off your skin and out of the water system by picking up a natural alternative at a local eco-store or even chain supermarket. 9. N ATURAL MAKEUP AND PRODUCTS We don’t realize how many chemicals we’re washing down our drains or putting on our faces by choosing certain chain products. Check the label and find a cleaner alternative. 10. RECYCLE AND COMPOST PROPERLY Don’t just throw something in the recycling bin; make sure it can be recycled. One product like Styrofoam or a grocery store receipt—which, surprisingly, is not printed on recyclable paper—can cause huge problems at recycling plants, who have to sort through the items by hand to remove the garbage from the recyclable items. Food waste is a huge contributor to methane being produced (a greenhouse gas more powerful than CO2). If your city isn’t composting, see if there is a local company who is. Just like the salons, you never know what can be disposed of in another way until you check. D.
Find @saloncure on Instagram and @saloncurewindsor on Facebook Find @greencirclesalons on Instagram and Facebook
Lakeview Montessori School inspires its students to learn, lead and succeed together.
Lakeview Centre for Academic Excellence A montessori school. Anything begins here.
Over the last few years, as a growing community, Lakeview has focused on serving its families while promoting and supporting quality Montessori education. Their commitment to quality is evident through the two accreditations they received this year—the first from the Canadian Association of Independent Schools (CAIS) and in June the Canadian Council for Montessori Administrators (CCMA). Both accreditations are the highest standard a Canadian school can obtain in private and Montessori education. For over 40 years, Lakeview has also worked together with the community to provide incredible learning opportunities, and continues to do so as it embraces the global complexities of a 21stcentury world. In recognition of Lakeview’s 40th anniversary, they are excitedly gearing up for the start of a new building expansion scheduled to commence later this fall. The long-awaited addition will accommodate the pedagogical and physical needs of a 21stcentury school. Strong schools begin with well-trained and committed teachers and through Lakeview’s very own Montessori Teacher Training Centre, they continue to find new ways to support their faculty, which in turn supports families—all with the end goal of offering the highest quality education to their students. Led by Head of School Prof. Maureen Harris, Lakeview is a pioneer in paving the way for a brighter future where students look forward to attending school with passionate educators and an inspiring curriculum, within a nurturing and safe learning environment. Harris recognizes that scholastic abilities are just one aspect of a child’s life that develop and groom leadership roles. As such, a priority is the students’ learning experiences (from toddler to Grade 8), which offer a wealth of opportunities to acquire social and cognitive skills as well as critical thinking and emotional intelligence—all of which have been linked to achieving one’s full potential.
Lakeview Centre for Academic Excellence A montessori school 13797 Riverside Drive East Tecumseh, ON, N8N 1B5 519.735.5005 Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to book a tour of the facility and see all that Lakeview has to offer.
“Our brains were born to move and be creative, and lifelong physical activity starts with children,t” says Harris. “As a Montessori school, we promote hands-on learning versus seatwork. Students interact with other age groups in an environment where younger students can learn from older students and the older students have an opportunity to lead. Through individualized learning streams we prepare the next generation with transferable skills that are developed and honed daily. “We nurture exceptionally passionate and unique individuals, and we invite our parents and the community to become involved in our future plans so that we may continue to grow young leaders of tomorrow,” says Harris.
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EDUCATION DRIVE Anushree Dave and Layan Barakat work at the University of Windsorâ€™s EPICentre. This series aims to highlight the stories and capture the emotions behind inspiring social enterprises in our community. To learn more about how you can get involved with social impact initiatives in the area or start a social enterprise of your own, please visit: w w w.epic ent reuw in d so r.c a/ libro-epic-social-impact-initiative
Down at the Do Good Deli AN EXPLORATION OF WINDSOR’S SOCIAL ENTERPRISES: PART 2 By Anushree Dave and Layan Barakat Photography: Syx Langemann
Tucked away on the 800 block of Windsor’s historic Ouellette Avenue sits the Do Good Deli. At first, the diner’s ambience seems similar to any other: retro-inspired signage adorns the front of the building and the smell of freshly-made French fries floats through the air. It isn’t until you step inside and read the menu that you realize their social mission to help others in the community makes them a unique business among others. The company’s intention is in its name: “Do Good” Deli is a social enterprise on a mission to help young individuals learn the skills needed to get a job and be competitive in the food service industry. “We bring in students to our program and they learn basic skills to gain confidence and get out there in the workforce,” says Laurie Musson, Director of Food Services at the Downtown Mission. With approximately 70% of participants who go through the program landing jobs after graduation, the Do Good Deli has been successful at achieving what the founders set out to do. The journey to success, however, wasn’t straightforward or linear. Musson, along with business partner Mark Gillett, who is the head of the enterprise program, created various iterations of their business model as they tried to figure out how best to sustain the deli and the program. Their enterprise started as a snack shop, but participants (also referred to as “enterprise trainees”) weren’t able to develop the skills THEDRIVEMAGAZINE.COM
they required to be competitive in the workforce. “They needed more training and the program was just not enough,” said Gillett. Eventually, the focus of the program became not just skills development, but also developing as a whole individual. “If they have personal things they need to get out and discuss and meet, they’re able to do that. They’re working on the whole person in this program and the deli is just the icing on the cake. Where they could go in and get some training and eventually be able to get a job,” said Musson. One hundred percent of the deli’s profits support the Mission’s programs. Raymond Cruz-Condray is a 23-year-old graduate of the Do Good Deli program. Initially, he had started his career in the culinary program at St. Clair College, but with financial strains impeding his educational path, he had to look for other resources within the community. Determined to get an education, Cruz-Condray turned to the Do Good Deli program. He was able to receive the training needed to continue his journey in the hospitality industry and gain the confidence to apply that knowledge in the workforce. Cruz-Condray now works as a line cook at Smoke and Spice and says he loves his job and the people he works with. He gets to expand on his culinary skills every day and credits the Do Good Deli for giving him the opportunity
to pursue his career goals without barriers. Cruz-Condray’s story is similar to many others that have gone through the program, which is now in its ninth wave. What the enterprise trainees learn during their time at Do Good Deli varies depending on how their training is tailored. “We’re creating a set of experiences that position our trainees to enter the workforce with relevant work experience,” said Gillett. “For example, I had one trainee who wanted to be a dishwasher. So we ensured that he got to wash dishes while he was at the Do Good Deli. Another trainee wanted to go through and become a Red Seal chef. Not only did they work on the food prep, but they got to touch all aspects of food service.” Whether a student comes into the program knowing what avenue of the hospitality industry they want to pursue or not, the program will cater to the individual through a variation of in-class and hands-on training. Walking into the Do Good Deli for the first time, we were welcomed wholeheartedly by the staff who were eager to share their experiences with us. Jake Silani—a talented chef working at the deli for the past two and a half months—sat down with us to talk about his involvement with the enterprise. Silani came to the deli with 10 years of kitchen experience, having completed culinary school and gotten his Red Seal shortly after. He’s had experience cooking in Vancouver and Ireland, but what drew him to the deli was the opportunity to teach 17
others how to cook and live out their passions. As the social impact of the deli continues to grow, Silani has faith that with more exposure and traffic, the organization will be able to leave behind a great legacy in the community. “I think once we get the word out that we are giving people skills that are transferable outside of the charitable organization—a skill that they can use in life—it’s going to be very beneficial to the community, especially once more people find out about this.” In just a few short years, the Do Good Deli has positively impacted the lives of many hospitality workers in the Windsor-Essex community, giving them the knowledge and confidence to pursue their dreams and enter the workforce with the right skills needed to succeed. The delicatessen also gives community members an opportunity to help make a direct impact in the lives of friends, family and neighbours who may be looking to launch their careers in a focused, supportive environment. The Downtown Mission believes it has a fundamental commitment to serve the people of our community and this shows in how they run their business. When we asked Gillett how they’re going to continue growing and helping the folks in our community, his response was simple but insightful: “We’re going to respond to our folks and what they need.” D. 18
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GIVING YOUNG WOMEN OPPORTUNITIES IN SKILLED TRADES TO BUILD A DREAM By Tita Kyrtsakas | Photography: Syx Langemann
Do you know how to solder? Or change a tire? Or use a metal lathe to create a ring from scratch? I didn’t either until this past summer, when I was hired as a camp coordinator through Build a Dream and the Greater Essex Country District School Board (GECDSB). Build a Dream, a Windsor non-profit foundation, was founded in 2014 to educate and encourage young girls to try their hand at skilled trades, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), emergency response and entrepreneurship. The camp had two all-girls sections—one in skilled trades and the other in STEM— and an all-gender camp in carpentry. Ten young girls from across Windsor-Essex were enrolled in my skilled trades section. Each morning started with a female mentor who works in the trades. The girls would ask questions ranging from what a typical day was like on the job to what challenges a woman faces in the field.
During one mentor session, Lynn Reid, a general machinist at L&M Machine and Automation, gave the girls her own advice for entering the trades: “Just trust yourself and don’t let others get in your head. You need thick skin to make it in the trades, but if you can push through those first few months you'll gain the respect, and if your situation is similar to mine, you'll make some pretty awesome friends.”
“By all means, if my daughter decides Nour Hachem-Fawaz, one of the that a skilled trade is what she wants to founders of Build a Dream, has big dreams do, I will support and encourage her,” Villy herself: she wants to see Build a Dream grow Pantoucheva Strelkova answers. from Windsor to London to across Canada Before agreeing to join the camp, I admit and hopefully North America. I was worried. I knew very little about the When I sit down to first meet with skilled trades, besides hairstyling through Hachem-Fawaz, she is smiling serenely and my sister. But I soon realized it wasn’t about confidently. I met her briefly only a few what I knew; it was about the openness to days before when she came on the last day learn something new. to speak about her foundation. I was in I worked with Emily Li Causi, a second- awe. She has an 11-week-old son with her ary-school teacher who now works at the husband of three years. Her eyes are kind GECDSB board office. When the Ministry and she glows as she talks to me about why of Education put a call out for experiential Build a Dream is her passion project. learning proposals, she and colleague Angela “Being raised in a single-parent houseCiarlariello-Bondy were able to receive funds hold and seeing the struggles my mom went for the skilled trades camp. through, and just the challenges she had to Emily and Angela wanted to support experience, has given me more purpose to young women growing in the skilled trades see this movement through and invest more because the two understand that women of my time in better understanding how to are “generally underrepresented.” If girls shift this work force and make it easier for are exposed earlier to these areas, then their young women to make a decision regardless choice in pathways will lead them to success. of their gender,” she explains.
Before her current job as employer Build a Dream set the precedent for The girls were empowered. Once their relations coordinator for the office of Co-opthese camps and enabled the GECDSB to first instructor and Build a Dream proponent, Ed Kotevich, taught them about start their own camps this past summer erative Education & Workplace Partnerships at the University of Windsor, her work workplace safety, they were on their feet and in partnership. quick to don safety glasses to solder melting metal to pipe. During the rest of the week, the girls created rings from titanium using lathes, learned how to change tires, check oil and jumpstart a battery and dabbled in graphic design. A couple of parents joined in on valuable field trips to CenterLine and Cavalier Tool where the girls could work on the floor or in the office roles. Sheila Pourakbar enrolled her daughter Niki when she brought the camp to her mom’s attention. She was especially amazed on the last day of camp. “In the morning when I started my car to drive Niki to the camp, I noticed a light appeared on my control panel. I did not know what that meant and I was about to call my husband to ask when Niki said, ‘Mom, let me see it.’” Niki explained to Sheila that she had low tire pressure. There was a nail in their tire. That evening, Niki and her dad took care of the problem. Sheila isn’t the only parent on board. When I asked the parents if they would support their daughters pursuing a job in the skilled trades, the answer was unanimous.
EDUCATION DRIVE at St Clair College and Women’s Enterprise but now you’ve made your own decision,” Skills Training of Windsor (WEST) further Hachem-Fawaz maintains. inspired her to assist women in accessing She knows doing this work makes a male dominated industries. difference to people’s lives and that feeds She wondered: if only a small percentage her heart. “There was this one girl who was of women were in the skilled trades, what in grade 11 when she came to the first event and she was destined to go to university. did that mean for the workforce? At the same time, the federal govern- Then I gave her a tour of St. Clair College ment had a call to improve economic oppor- and explained there was an apprenticeship tunities for young women. In order to do program with free training for 18 weeks and that, young girls would need to be educated a placement at WEST, a program that’s still on career opportunities to lead them into running. This girl always loved working with her hands and now she’s an electrician,” she economic prosperity. gushes. Hachem-Fawaz then led a committee full When I asked my group of girls why they of industry leaders: the chief of police, the wanted to join this camp, 12-year-old Simran school board and community organizers. If Parker responded, “There are few females everyone at the table vowed to commit to who are working in the skilled trades and we change, then the leaders could return to their need more. People think it’s only for guys, so places of work and shift gender stereotypes. females need more empowerment because In addition, the youth committee ran they can do whatever they want.” surveys, and found that parents were the Another student, 12-year-old Davanna number one influencer in career choices and Persaud-Hearns, is now considering a job there are gender-associated jobs that girls felt in the trades. “It’s fun and hands-on. It’s like they couldn’t do because of their gender. very exciting being able to go home and With funding from all three school show my family that I can make things out boards—Greater Essex County District of aluminum and jumpstart a car. I would School Board, Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board, Conseil Scolaire Catholique Providence—and partnership with Women’s Enterprise Skills Training of Windsor, Workforce Windsor-Essex and St. Clair College, Hachem-Fawaz and her team launched the first Build a Dream event in 2014. One hundred and forty women attended and a range of workers, from those starting out in their field to those approaching retirement, communicated their long-term success in their work.
love to come back next summer and learn even more.” Most of the girls said that their parents or teachers encouraged them to attend, and they enjoyed learning new skills and making friends. Watching these girls flourish from the first day to the last was such a joy, and learning alongside them was an honour. The Build a Dream event takes place at the Ciociaro Club on November 8. It’s a free event with a surprise keynote speaker. The whole hall is booked so mark your calendars, register online and bring your daughters, nieces and friends. Near the end of my conversation with Hachem-Fawaz, I realize that I’ve never met a female electrician. “Have you ever met a female plumber?” she asks. I shake my head. “What about female mechanic?” “No,” I confess. Hachem-Fawaz smiles. “But you will. If you come to Build a Dream, you can.” D.
In the past four years, the event has flourished. Over 1,000 people attended last year’s Build a Dream event with over 60 vendors representing trades companies from across Windsor. Hachem-Fawaz explains that “companies take pride in a diversified workforce and invest in recruiting more females. A diverse workforce is economically beneficial.” Union Gas was one of Build a Dream’s first supporters and were thrilled to sponsor Build a Dream’s March break camp for skilled trades. After the success of the March break camps, the school boards wrote proposals to run their own camps. “With the camps, girls are provided a safe environment to test their skills in a fun way and then decide if they like it or not. It’s okay if you walk out saying ‘I don’t like it,’ THEDRIVEMAGAZINE.COM
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Matt Boismier The Tooninator: He’ll Be Back MATT BOISMIER HAS ALWAYS BEEN AN ARTIST, BUT AFTER HITTING EVERY CHECKPOINT HE’S EVER WANTED, HE HAD TO ASK HIMSELF, “NOW WHAT?” By Alley L. Biniarz | Photography: Syx Langemann
Shuffling through the drawers of his father’s study at age three, Matt Boismier found himself completely mesmerized by one piece of his father’s artwork in particular. It wasn’t the breathtaking watercolour painting, but the youthful “Cool Shades” comic strip that caught his eye. That’s when Matt knew that he was going to be a character designer. “After that, I drew a banana and my parents framed it. That was it—I thought I was famous,” Matt tells me as we sit on the patio of the local Starbucks in LaSalle. He has an easygoing quality about him, a relaxed nature appropriately paired with a Billabong shirt and effortlessly coiffed hair— clearly a surfer and an artist. Growing up in Belle River, Matt was always known as the “art guy.” From working on backdrops for the school play to eventually completing the Tradigital Animation program at St. Clair College in 2006, he never had a “Plan B.” “There was no other option for me because Plan B becomes Plan A really quickly. You have it in your head, so you start leaning towards it.” THEDRIVEMAGAZINE.COM
Along with being the “art guy,” Matt was also known as the kid who was always authentic to who he was. Matt’s brother constantly teased him for his awful taste in music, movies and art—but he also praised him for having the confidence to walk to the beat of his own drum. “If I wanted to do it, I was going to do it.” And he did. It took Matt five years after graduation to make it into the industry in the fashion that he wanted to, but again, he wasn’t going to do it the same order as his fellow graduates and friends. “I could have been the junior-coffeegetter after graduation, but I had this ego that I had to do it my way. Someone had to give me the position that I wanted.” So, he swallowed his pride and moved home to Windsor after going broke in Vancouver. He worked 27 different jobs and most of them had nothing to do with art. Initially all of these experiences felt like failures for Matt, but it turns out that the refined skills that he gained actually led 25
EXPAT DRIVE him to be the successful artist that he is today. One job in particular, his summer spent working as a caricaturist at Canada’s Wonderland, shaped the way in which he now works. “You’ve got to hustle because it’s commission-based, and you need to have an appealling style. Once you make the first mark, you can’t turn back—ever. You’re performing in front of a crowd and you need to make it look like magic.” Matt learned how to please clients, and that he thrived best under pressure and with certain parameters. Once he did enter the industry, he was anything but a rookie. And it was right in Windsor that Matt got his first job in the industry, working for his friend Jacob Duhaime at iDream Interactive. “I’d heard about his company, and almost all of my friends worked for him. He came into the bar where I was working and said, ‘Matt, you have too much talent,
you have to come work for me.’ But I was happy doing my freelance stuff and I turned him down. Eventually, he came in on the right day and asked again. I was tired of the service industry, and I said yes.” Once accepting the position of art director with iDream, Matt had total creative freedom and could work on whatever he liked. It was exactly what he needed to create the portfolio that would bring him back to Vancouver. He applied for all of the big-name companies, and eventually found himself at Nerd Corps Entertainment. Because of his past experiences and his raw personality, studios loved working with him. From there, it was absolute rapid fire in terms of work and success for Matt. Going into the industry, Matt didn’t even know what it could pay, and as soon as he realized that he could make a lot of money, that’s all it became about. “Everyone wants to move up, get higher titles and more money, but I realize now that every time I took a job
for money it was the wrong choice. “I finally achieved my goals. It was so fast, and I wouldn’t even get used to the new paycheque or title before I had another one. I basically hit everything and then was lost, completely. I had no direction because I had never thought about doing anything else. All I’d ever wanted was to be recognized in the industry, and I was no longer chasing anything.” He realized he had success at his fingertips and could never let himself see it without looking at the next goal, until there wasn’t a “next.” Instead he would think, “Big deal, I’ve been a character supervisor and it actually kind of sucked.” Matt wasn’t drawing anymore and found himself just sitting in meetings all day. When he worked with big clients like Mattel, he was exhausted by the executives who knew nothing about storytelling and just wanted to sell a product. He had achieved success, but he thought,
EXPAT DRIVE “Now what?” Travel.
Matt quit his high-paying job—twice— and took off for Central America and other high-surf destinations. “There’s no motivation like a bad job to help you start over. As cliché as it is to find yourself through travel, I did. I had to scare myself to appreciate the paycheque. Now when a client wants work, I look at it differently, and that’s pretty important.” Now Matt hears a big name like “Disney” and actually turns down that type of work. All he can hear connected with that name is “too many people to please” and that’s just not how Matt works anymore.
It’s on you. You can’t rely on the school, no matter how great, or anyone else. You just have to do it, work hard |and form it how you want. Then you can make anything happen.
“Making it” can mean something different to everyone; for Matt, it meant retiring from studio design and going back to his freelance days as a self-employed animation art director and character designer. He’s constantly changing gears, staying active through volleyball to counteract sitting at a desk all day, and taking breaks to travel often and get back to his art. “One of the hardest parts is staying creative and keeping that passion alive. Working in animation, especially concept work, can feel like a production line. You’re usually signed on for 15 episodes, and even though you’re drawing, it’s the same every time. It becomes deadening and you need to flex your muscles.” That’s where travel kicks in. Matt has always found that art is something that he does on his own, and rather than associating with others in the industry, he finds the most inspiration while he’s travelling solo, surfing and painting by the beach. Matt’s next creative endeavour is one that helped him through his own artistic rut: vlogging. Matt says that with film he gets to build everything from start to finish, and he has all of the creative control. It’s the ultimate sense of freedom for him, and he hopes to reach someone who is ambitious enough to try their Plan A. Because if they have the right mentality about it, they can achieve huge things even in a small town. “It’s on you. You can’t rely on the school, no matter how great, or anyone else. You just have to do it, work hard and form it how you want. Then you can make anything happen.” You can find more of Matt’s creative work on his Instagram @thetooninator, or his new Youtube channel, 2ninator. D.
Eva Milinkovic and Kris Geneâ€”Tsunami Glassworks Inc., Soffi Lighting 28
SHATTERING all expectations LOVE IN ARTISTRY By Millar Hill | Photography: Syx Langemann
It was the middle of December in Montreal. He was sitting alone inside a dimly lit bar when he first laid eyes on her. She was out celebrating with her date and others after an art glass exhibition at a nearby gallery. She stood up and walked towards the bar, catching her first glimpse of him and, in a move that was very unlike her, she sat down and introduced herself. That brisk introduction turned into a lengthy conversation that lasted the rest of the evening—and the next 18 years. Kris Gene and Eva Milinkovic shared an instant connection that day, and today share the same passion for the art of glass blowing. They have two sons—Max, who is 10 years old, and Alex, who is four. They live a quiet but busy life that is all but ordinary. Here in Windsor, they’ve built one of Canada’s leading art glass manufacturing companies, Tsunami Glassworks Inc. The former LCBO distribution centre on Central Avenue is home to their studio, vibrant showroom and workshop. Kris was born and raised in Windsor and Eva in Toronto. The two have spent time living and studying in other Canadian cities before coming back to Windsor to start their business as well as their family. They learned their craft at Sheridan College and each graduated with a Bachelor of Craft and Design (Glass) degrees. THEDRIVEMAGAZINE.COM
Since childhood, Eva has always been intrigued by this form of art and found her passion for it at a young age. “I wanted to be either a glass blower or an astronaut growing up as a kid. Clearly one of them didn’t pan out,” she laughed. As for Kris, his passion came later. He was working at a metal shop in the city learning how to weld and forge metal with the intention of opening a glassblowing studio with his brother, who also graduated from the same program at Sheridan. But as his brother finished, he decided he no longer wanted to do that. Kris however, had already begun collecting equipment for a workshop. “I figured I would have to go to school and learn how to do it myself,” he said. “So, I dropped everything and went to school for glass blowing.” It’s not often that two people meet and share the exact same interests or ideas. As a couple in the same field of work, it only made sense for Kris and Eva to start a business together. They wanted to bring an edgy and bright style of expression into the design industry by embracing simple and clean shapes from hand-blown glass for both retailers and designers. It was a slow process at first. As artists, it’s not easy to become established right off the bat. It involves a lot of
peddling your own work—which they did until they began attending wholesale shows in Philadelphia, where gallery owners were placing orders on the spot. Eventually, stores such as Barneys were carrying their art, which was an impressive accomplishment, but their passion didn’t lie within retail. “We made the decision to get out of retail and start working with design firms and architects,” she said. “We began putting feelers out to the hospitality market and attended tradeshows specifically for firms that would specify you for certain projects. We also knew, Canada was too small, North America was too small and that the company needed to be an international entity.” Because there is such a niche demand for art glass, a lot of their pieces are exported to other countries where there is a higher demand for the art. Working with architects and design firms such as Studio Munge, Tsunami has been shipping their pieces to places such as France, Dubai, Hong Kong and more. “Starting out, the majority of our sales were based in the U.S. but the firms we are working with work internationally, so we’ve developed these contacts all around the world,” he said. “After about five years our business started happening in Canada— specifically in Toronto.” Over time, they’ve acquired an extensive list of clients and have maintained great relationships with those clients. 29
PEOPLE DRIVE “We really care that everyone’s happy, our work is shipped on time, nothing is broken and the client is happy with the colour or design,” she said. “That plays a big role in being professional with these big companies who expect that level of professionalism and craftsmanship.” Owning a business with your partner can be challenging but for Kris and Eva, there’s no competition between the two—as business partners or as husband and wife. Life has brought on many stressful situations but together they’ve learned to work through whatever comes their way and move on. “I’ve had people talk about how we are married and what it’s like working together, but I can’t imagine working with anyone else,” she said. Each has their own skill sets so there is never a competition between them. Eva takes care of the company’s marketing and Kris tends to build all of the equipment. “I think it’s about intuitive strategy and with the two of us, we balance things out,” she said.
Outside of work, they spend a lot of time with their kids and finding new hobbies to keep life interesting. Eva enjoys making art with her two sons, which can be found hanging around Tsunami’s showroom and workshop. At home, Kris is the master chef. He’s always looking to try new things and cooking allows him to do just that—making his own wine, meat and recently honey. Date nights will sometimes consist of finding a babysitter and going back to the shop, not to work but to relax. It’s their home away from home and they built their shop with that mentality—a second home, not only for them but for their employees. They wanted it to be a place where their employees would feel comfortable. Their staff is their extended family. “I think with the products we make and how intimate the projects are with our clients, it lends itself to a tighter and closer working environment,” she said. “The jobs are big but the focus is intense so we all need to be working in sync to get the job done.
We’re all in it to make the company better. It’s always changing and growing.” Eva and Kris started Tsunami from scratch but both feel the company would not be what it is without the rest of their team. The team consists of six other employees—Rob O’Dell, Amy Raganit, Linda Hall, Solange Robinson, Tanis Scott and Dylan Adams. Each member plays a significant role in the company, making large projects achievable. “Each one of the team is an expert in their field. Our crew puts their heart and soul into every item that is produced here and then gets shipped out all over the world,” she said. A typical work day consists of multiple projects being worked on at the same time, which can be chaotic and stressful at times. “The only way to deal with challenging obstacles is to go around it, over it or through it,” Kris said. “Our company has many facets to it and that’s to facilitate deflecting these obstacles. For example, if one of our items
PEOPLE DRIVE isn’t functioning properly, there are three other items we have on the back burner or are developing to keep the business going.” Their biggest challenge is time constraints and working against them. For example, a project they are currently working on has taken over a year for all of the design approvals to be met. The hotel has a set opening deadline, which gave them four weeks to fabricate and install a 250-piece wall installation. It’s challenges such as these that are the nature of their job. “We do mostly custom work,” she said. “The last job we did was the most challenging job and the next job will be the most challenging job because it will be another custom job.” It’s incredible what can be done in such a small space. Together they work so closely with one another but are also very concentrated on their own tasks. As Eva says, they work hard and play hard. Kris constructed a meat smoker from an old glass mold, which now provides food for hangouts in the shop. “We usually try to do dinners here on our smoker or fun things like cook lobster in the hot shop,” she said. “And there are the occasional after-work beers.” Eva and Kris began their journey with Tsunami back in 2005 and the company has really grown since. Now they have their own lighting company, Soffi Lighting. The name Soffi was derived from the word soffietta, a tool consisting of a metal tube attached to a conical nozzle. The nozzle is used to block the mouth of a glass vessel so it can be inflated by blowing into the tube. Their new business focuses on designing customized lighting fixtures with attention to colour and accent from handmade and crafted glass and metal. As a whole, the company has the capacity to put out 300 units in a matter of eight weeks, which allows them to take on so many projects and produce such fine art. “I think the best part about our business is that we’re in it for the right reasons. It’s not a job, it’s something we do and something we’re really good at,” she said.
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The love and passion Eva and Kris share is unwavering, not just for one another but for their business as well. D. RBC Dominion Securities Inc.* and Royal Bank of Canada are separate corporate entities which are affiliated. *MemberCanadian Investor Protection Fund. RBC Dominion Securities Inc. is a member company of RBC Wealth Management, a business segment of Royal Bank of Canada. ® / ™ Trademark(s) of Royal Bank of Canada. Used under licence. ©2018 RBC Dominion Securities Inc. All rights reserved. 18_90621_MT6_017
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When you get a whiff of what smells like baking bread, you know you’re in Walkerville. Born 160 years ago as employee housing for an aspiring whisky distillery, the hamlet known first as “Walker’s Town,” then officially Walkerville in 1890, evolved into one of the finest 19th-century model towns in Canada. A Detroiter named Hiram Walker was its benevolent dictator; he conceived of everything to ensure the comfort and wellbeing of its denizens. From well-constructed housing located close to work, to free clean running water and electric lights, paved roads, (long before neighboring Windsor had them), fire and police protection, a public beach, schools, churches, a ferry system to Detroit and Belle Isle, electric trolleys and even a railroad to Harrow, Kingsville, Leamington and all points east—everything was carefully planned according to Hiram Walker’s tenets and decrees. Walkerville’s success was based on producing an extraordinary whisky. When Hiram Walker purchased the former Antoine Labadie’s farm in what was known as East Sandwich in 1858 and founded his distillery, most whisky was sold by the barrel and was of suspect quality (hence the term “rotgut”). In that bygone era, a gallon of “good” whisky retailed for 40 cents and often even less. Walker believed patrons desired something better.
Whisky in Walkerville
“Hiram Walker’s mission was to create a whisky that was palatable and social,” said Tish Harcus, Manager and CC Global Brand Manager. “If you were drinking scotch or bourbon, which have big bold flavours, making it through an entire evening was tough. Walker imagined a whisky to sip on social occasions, with a soft, smooth, easy-drinking palette.”
By Chris Edwards
By 1882, Walker’s distillery was producing a whopping 27 different whiskies, including “Walker’s Old Rye,” “Toddy,” “Family Proof,” “Superior” and
THE LEGEND OF CANADIAN CLUB
The market for whisky in Canada was marginal: a census published in 1861 listed our country’s population at 3,295,706. It was the American whisky drinker that Walker was after. In his quest to dominate market share, he became one of the first whiskymakers to use a red-hot iron to “brand” each barrel with his name, and to actually bottle his whisky. His brand-consciousness included labelling one early whisky “Magnolia” after a town in Massachusetts, not far from his birthplace.
“Excelsior.” Although these labels attained moderate success, Walker was obsessed with developing a flagship brand to gain world dominance in the whisky arena. Nothing less would do. He focused on “Three Star,” positioned as a premium brand, promoted for its purity and its distinct aging in the barrel—a full seven years in oak, while American bourbons often aged for less than a year. He renamed it “Three Star Club,” which sounded much more sophisticated, and then shortened it to “Club Whisky,” intending it for gentlemen who frequented finer establishments. Walker registered “Club” as a trademark for $25, and bottled the whisky in a special pumpkin seed flask, hoping this would secure fame and fortune for his distillery and the fledgling town of Walkerville. The pumpkin Canada Club bottle, which was available for only a short time, is a very rare find today. According to Harcus, “Bourbon producers used oak barrels only once to age their whiskies; these barrels were then discarded, because the state governor owned a barrel-making business. Hiram Walker purchased these spent bourbon barrels, filled them with Canada Club whisky, and was satisfied with the way these barrels imparted a unique soft, mellow flavour— exactly what he’d set out to achieve. Aging CC for five years was a huge gamble, but soon Canada became the first country in the world to mandate a minimum two-year aging requirement for whisky—a Canadian law Hiram Walker helped to draft.”
whisky mash; soon people asked for this today). Walker boasted that his brewing unique whisky, referring to it as "rye,” or process, using a vacuum fermenting system pioneered by German national C. Pfaudler, “Canadian Rye.” As Walker’s Club whisky became would completely revolutionize the brewing successful in the United States, American industry. Walker’s beers received the highest bourbon producers lobbied the United awards in the category at the Chicago States Congress to force Hiram Walker to World’s Fair in 1893, earning consideradd the word “Canadian” in block letters able fame and fortune for the Walkerville to his label, thinking it would diminish his Brewing Company. Hiram Walker’s Walkersales. This bizarre law backfired, and soon ville beer became as popular among beer Walker’s “Canadian Club” enjoyed even drinkers as Canadian Club was among whisky aficionados. The brewery closed in greater success. 1956, but was reborn in 1998, though not Walker’s enormous success is also thanks by Walker descendants. to Queen Victoria and her gout. Ruler of By 1900, Canadian Rye Whiskies, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and pioneered by Hiram Walker, emerged Ireland (which included Canada) from 1837 as the top-selling whisky category in the until her death in 1901 at the age of 81, world. Canadian Club also became the she suffered from painful gout in her later first Canadian whisky to be distributed years, and was ordered by her physician to worldwide, and was the top seller in the stop drinking claret and champagne. He United States. But the 20th century brought instead prescribed Canadian Club Whisky enormous challenges to Hiram Walker’s and mineral water, in the proportions of sons, who had inherited the business upon four parts of water to one of whisky. VictoWalker’s death in 1899. ria’s son, the Prince of Wales, tested the In Ontario, the Temperance Act passed prescription, liked it, and soon adopted it as his favourite cocktail. Hiram Walker in 1916—spirits, beer and wine could only be & Sons Ltd. was granted the Warrant of produced for export, out of province. Then, Queen Victoria on September 17, 1898. on October 28, 1919, the American governQueen Victoria’s coat of arms appeared ment passed the 18th Amendment, known on Canadian Club labels soon after, and as the Volstead Act, resulting in the prohibition of all manner of alcohol throughout remains to this day. Building upon the success of Canadian the Americas.
Club whisky, Hiram Walker launched a beer-making business in 1885. Intent on achieving another successful brand, he backed the Walkerville Brewing Company with the entire wealth of his empire. He installed the most modern brewing equipment of the day and opened a magnificent And the secret sauce for Canadian Club facility on Fifth Street (now Walker Road) at was the introduction of rye grain to the Wyandotte, at a cost of $180,000 ($5 million
Most Canadian provinces went dry as the 18th Amendment came into law. The Liquor Control Act in Ontario (LCA) forbade public or hotel drinking, but did not prohibit the manufacture of liquor for export. This legal loophole set the course for a wild decade unseen before or since. Opposite Walkerville was the big city of Detroit and points beyond—an entire
Purple gang of Detroit - Arrested
Al Capone THEDRIVEMAGAZINE.COM
HISTORY DRIVE nation with its parched tongue hanging out. It wasn’t long before enterprising businessmen in the Border Cities set up so-called “export docks” to supply thirsty Americans with Made-in-Walkerville whisky and beer. Soon American mobsters organized to gain control of the export business; warfare broke out along the border, making headlines featuring the legendary Purple Gang of Detroit.
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Walkerville’s booze business therefore flourished throughout the 1920s and Hiram Walker’s town became Ground Zero for rumrunners, who realized they could smuggle legally-produced hooch destined for “export” to Detroit. This ushered in one of the most colourful periods in Walkerville’s history, featuring notorious Chicago mobster Al Capone and local bootleggers King Canada, Harry Low and James Cooper.
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Hiram Walker’s town was amalgamated with Windsor in 1935, but is still referred as “Walkerville” by locals. Today, his model town is the gold standard for quality of life within the Essex County region, Walkerville Brewery carries on its beer-making tradition in a Hiram Walker warehouse, and the commercial district has become a popular place to dine, shop and of course, drink. But what of Hiram Walker’s distillery along the Detroit River?
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“Currently, Hiram Walker’s distillery is the largest ‘grain to glass’ operation in North America, and still produces Walker’s beloved Canadian Club whisky,” explained Harcus. “We continue to adhere to our founder’s rigorous process; more than 150 quality checks go into the making of Canadian Club whisky, ensuring the highest standards. These days, we are selling so much Canadian Club that we cannot even sell bulk orders. People seem to be rediscovering CC; once you put the liquid to your lips, then the magic happens.” In the modern era, Canadian Club’s popularity was given a boost by the HBO programs Mad Men (main character Don Draper always keeps a bottle of CC close at hand) and Boardwalk Empire, (the opening sequence features bottles of “Canada Club” floating to shore). And so the CC legend lives on. Raise a glass to Walkerville’s 160th birthday! D.
Chris Edwards is the oco-author (with Elaine Weeks) of Walkerville–Whisky Town Extraordinaire. Walkerville Publishing. www.walkerville.com 36
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Barbering and Tattoo feature
Fix up, look sharp THE BARBERING BOOM COMES TO WINDSOR-ESSEX By Jesse Ziter | Photography: Syx Langemann
Barbering is having a moment.
industries dry out, working with your hands At any time over the last few years, you in a service capacity—see also butchery, cooking and woodworking—has soaked may have noticed the guy mixing your up a significant amount of cultural cachet drinks, rotating your tires or balancing your portfolio is wearing a fresh, tight fade, amongst men of a certain generation. pompadour or fifties-style combover. He On the other side of the chair, in probably goes to a barbershop. a world where men are increasingly (and, let’s be frank here, misguidedly) Although the ritual seems to have feeling marginalized, barbershops represkipped a generation, men who might have gone to a salon—and indeed probably sent something of a safe, male-centric did go—a handful of years ago are increas- space, where men of all ages can enjoy a convivial, largely homosocial experience. ingly returning to the friendly confines (A caveat: there are certainly many highly of a neighbourhood barbershop. You can skilled female barbers.) scarcely drive for more than 10 minutes along any prominent artery of the city without passing one.
It’s difficult, even for a barber, to tease out the exact difference between a barbershop and a men’s hair salon. The quintessence of barbering has less to do with a red-and-white candy-cane pole or the absence of hair-dye than it does with a certain masculine sensibility and specific standard of care. A dab of hot foam, the perfect angle of razor on skin, a nice warm towel on the neck: what we might have understood as “metrosexuality” 15 years ago has evolved into a general understanding that it’s okay to want to look good and take care of oneself. Moreover, as traditional blue-collar line THEDRIVEMAGAZINE.COM
To learn a bit more, The DRIVE spoke to a couple of Windsor-Essex County’s finest, at varying ends of the market.
Contemporary barbershop culture is often glossed over as an urban, millennial-driven phenomenon, but Tecumseh’s Mark Lombardi is decidedly neither. The owner-operator of Lakeshore’s Lombardi’s Classic Barbershop, Lombardi is a fortysomething family man with an entrepreneurial bent—the kind of guy who looks you unwaveringly in the eye, calls you a “business professional” and compliments your outfit. His success is compelling evidence that barbering is becoming big business. Before picking up his first pair of
scissors, Lombardi spent 18 years in the automotive industry, mostly in sales. After a 2011 change of company saddled him with a daily cross-border commute, his wife, a hairstylist, noticed he was mostly miserable. She suggested he give cutting hair a try. “I told her she was crazy,” he recalls, “but I actually took her up on it after probably the fiftieth time she tried to convince me. I gave it a shot, and I really enjoyed it.” Lombardi spent a year learning his trade, and then began manning a chair at his wife’s salon. Before long, he had his own two-chair operation. Today, the six-year-old shop employs 10 and is known to attract droves of father-son pairings; a chunk of an afternoon spent in a barber’s chair constitutes quality family time. Like a well-styled gentleman, you can tell a lot about what a barbershop aims to mean by how it looks. I’m speaking with Lombardi in his shop’s “executive room” —a private enclave for his most privileged clientele. Wrapped in robustly handsome dark wooden cabinetry, it’s so well curated that it seems almost Hollywood set–dressed: there are tight rolls of white towels placed just so, a well-formed felt hat hanging from the wall and single-serving glass bottles of Evian. As elsewhere in the 41
CULTURE DRIVE Barbering and Tattoo feature shop, the espresso flows freely. The walls are decorated with black-and-white historical photos in clean gallery frames: there’s Briggs Stadium, Boblo Island and Ambassador Bridge ironworkers, for example. It all sets the tone for what Lombardi aims to do by reorienting the client in history. To go with all that, Lombardi is currently developing a line of all-natural, additive-free shaving products (“Lombardi’s Shaving Company”) with Tecumseh’s Ocean Bottom Soap Company. In a way, he’s found himself back in the manufacturing game. According to Lombardi, his clients are attracted to the inherent honesty of what you might call old-fashioned customer service. “The guys who are coming in are guys,” he stresses. “It’s your typical dude that just wants a good and fair service. Whatever it says on the board is what you’re getting. From the start, I really wanted people to understand that we have an old-school mentality, but when you open the door, you see a modern twist.” That’s not to say there isn’t an element of pampering at play. “I think what we offer here … is a customer service experience that attracts a specific clientele,” continues Lombardi, who favours the term “community barbershop.” “The clientele that we want is going to come in, chill out, get online, watch some golf, have a coffee.” Of course, increasingly, they also want a great haircut. “The cleanliness, the sharp edges, the style of men’s looks and grooming right now are at a heightened level,” says Lombardi, whose personal barbering aesthetic trends towards conservatism. “When you get a man in here who’s 55 years old who wants an old-school combover, that’s what we want! We want guys to explore more of the fashions that are out there. “We’ll put that line in. We’ll even add a bit of colour, silver up your hair a little bit. We’ll give you that hot lather neck shave with the blade. I think that a lot of guys, that’s what they want, man.” Lombardi’s noticed that most men tend to court barbers who reflect their own personality. “As we started to hire great people,” he explains, “they started to attract their own clientele, which kind of fits their own attitudes, lifestyles and personalities. Personality is a big thing in this business, because you have to be able to have a conversation. You have to be a 42
great listener. If the haircut is great, but you didn’t say ‘hi’ or ‘bye,’ at the end of the day it’s just a haircut. It’s not an experience.” As far as Lombardi’s concerned, that type of experience is easier to come by in Windsor than it is in most places. “This barbering industry is absolutely fantastic,” insists Lombardi, who namechecks Mardin’s Barber Shop on Ottawa Street, Olde Riverside Barber Shop and Border City Barber Shop as exemplars. “There are some wonderful leaders in this city that travel all over the place. There are guys out there who’ve done a lot for this industry, who’ve gone through the difficult part, too. Now, here’s the revival of it. The resurgence of the industry.” Let’s talk about one example of that: Sinar Mrkos’s Ferocious, an emergent full-service barbershop in the city centre, skews a bit younger and hipper. This August marks four years in business, the first two of which were spent in a smaller Ottawa Street location. Today, it’s staffed by Mrkos, his brother Samer and an apprentice. While Lombardi’s is a well-oiled operation by any measure, Ferocious is a bit less formed around the edges—by design. On these walls, the de rigueur Marilyn Monroes are flanked by everything from Japanese lithographs, Blue Chicago art prints, a novelty Nevada licence plate and an actual samurai sword. It’s a decidedly eclectic space; it turns out I’m not the first to use that word. “That’s the biggest compliment we get,” says Mrkos. “The word ‘eclectic’ describes our personality, because we’re like chameleons—we accommodate everybody. The fact that we have so much different artwork, and so many different styles coming off these walls reflects us and how open we are to different things.” Shops like Ferocious exist at the intersection of luxury and economy. Because the greatest indulgence is sometimes opening up a few extra minutes of your day, Mrkos and his staff turn out a typical haircut and beard trim in under 20 minutes. “We’re known for our quality and quantity,” he stresses. “We’re naturally quick, and good at what we do. We never cheat, as fast as we are.” At 29, Mrkos is what you might call a middle-aged millennial. He speaks enthusiastically about his trade, punctuating his speech with “literallys,” as he lays out
his shop’s ambitious future plans. In the long term, Mrkos envisions Ferocious as a full-service salon and spa for men. An award-winning visual artist at Catholic Central, he took to haircutting as a creative outlet with practical possibilities while still a teenager. Highly skilled at styling men and women alike, Mrkos worked at a handful of local salons before eventually striking out on his own with Ferocious.
new-age world that we live in, if a woman can do what a man traditionally does, why can’t a man do what a woman does?” he wonders. “Everybody is finding opportunities to be different and be their own person. I think that’s why a lot of guys are getting into the fashion industries, because they previously weren’t able to because of the stigma.”
Mark Lombardi - Lombardi's Classic Barbershop
Part of this sea change involves young boys becoming empowered to explore their aesthetic preferences. Mrkos explains, “We have boys as young as 10 years old bringing in pictures they found online and asking us, can you make my hair look like that.” You have to ask: who’s in the pictures? Mrkos quickly plucks Cristiano Ronaldo and Zach Efron from his memory, but it’s clear that they’re not alone. “All the Hollywood pretty boys,” he laughs. Although he’s taught hairstyling at St. Clair College, Mrkos, a licensed beautician, understands that one does not become a barber in the classroom. “My brand is custom,” he clarifies. “In this industry, it’s very difficult to customize your work. People take what they learn in school, and they apply it to every single person, every single hair type. And this is very bad, because everybody gets a generic haircut that a barber learned in school.” Ferocious’s loyal clientele is even more diverse than you’d expect. “We have every single culture and race here,” Mrkos explains. “We have every single nationality. Every single background. Every single lifestyle. We have guys that come in that want mohawks … and we have guys that come that are corporate businessmen.” Perhaps this is a good opportunity to note that the rebirth of barber culture we’re heralding, it’s easy to forget, is very much a white, Western middle-class phenomenon. In plenty of places, barbers never left. “The reason I like doing men’s hair is because you get faster results,” he explains. “Within 15 minutes, you can change the life of the guy sitting in your chair. With women’s hair, it involves more work. Colour. Highlights. Perms and chemical relaxers. That’s what I love about men’s hair: A simple cut can take a guy from a 6 to a 10.” So far, the city has been receptive. Mrkos agrees that he couldn’t have picked THEDRIVEMAGAZINE.COM
a better time to open up shop. “The modern male is definitely more stylish. Definitely bolder,” muses Mrkos. “Guys just got sick and tired of looking the same. We have no makeup, so our hair and beard are our makeup.” While embracing barbershop culture often feels like retreating into the past, Mrkos sees the broader increase in men’s grooming as part of a very progressive blurring of gender binaries. “In this
If you’re interested in skipping the salon next month, Mrkos encourages you to turn yourself entirely over to a skilled barber. “Trust the process of going to the barbershop,” he advises. “Be open to different things. We’ve had a lot of guys come in who are stuck in their old ways. They have haircuts that they’ve been getting for the past, literally, 15 to 20 years … Listening to suggestions from your barber is very, very big. Be open to those suggestions. Because hair will grow back.” Some things never change.
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“I’ve been in the trades my whole life, and there’s always a mess left behind,” says Bonnie. “I’m a clean person and believe in leaving a job site just as clean if not better than when we started, so we’ve created this separate aspect of the company. My grandchildren and other university students come and do a final clean-up once the job is complete. It’s comforting for the client to know that we’re going to do a twice-over with the magnet and it’s left spotless. Our Bonnie Clean staff provides that finishing touch that a woman appreciates.” Find them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ds60roofing Sponsored by DS60
CULTURE DRIVE Barbering and Tattoo feature
Barbering and Tattoo feature
OF WORK THE ART OF TATTOO Zack Kassian is talking about his body. “Your elbow hurts a lot,” laments the Edmonton Oilers grinder and Essex County native. “Your wrists. The ribs suck. When you’re younger, you try to tough it out, but the pain aspect, it’s not fun.” Listed at 6’3” and 209 pounds, the 27-year-old-winger is nobody’s vision of a shrinking violet on the ice. But he’s not talking about hockey today. “Anyone who says getting a tattoo feels good is lying to you,” stresses the well-inked NHLer. “The back, particularly along the spine, or when your bicep meets the inside of your arm—they call it ‘the ditch’—none of it really feels good while the inking is happening, to be honest. But when it’s over, it’s that feeling: ‘It looks good; what can I get next?’” Kassian’s refreshingly machismo-free outlook speaks to a salient truth about the place of tattooing in contemporary masculinity: increasingly, opting to subject yourself to a tattoo gun says very little about you, at all. Even committing to a full sleeve no longer connotes toughness, mystery or some sort of inarticulable otherness. These days, it’s just the art that matters. A former Spitfire and Canadian youth international, Kassian belongs 48
By Jesse Ziter | Photography: Syx Langemann
to a generation of Windsor-Essex inhabitants increasingly comfortable with going under the gun. According to him, the Venn diagram overlap between hockey culture and tattoo culture is not unlike a crunching body check along the glass. Kassian reckons the average NHL locker room might have only a half-dozen unmodified bodies. “In society nowadays, in our generation, a lot of people have them, whether it’s a full sleeve or just something small on your back, chest or whatever,” he shares. “There are a handful of guys on any given NHL team who don’t have any tattoos—and a lot of those guys like them. They just don’t know what to get.” Kassian’s first tattoo, a large cross, commemorates his father’s death. (He died from a heart attack when Zack was eight.) It’s kept watch over his back since he was 17 years old. “I was fairly young, and it was fairly small,” he recalls. “Obviously my mom at the time controlled the size. Numerous people told me if you get one you’re going to get another one. I didn’t really believe them, but I guess that old thing is pretty true.” While he still accepts his mother’s counsel—“No hands and no neck, and I think that’s fair”—Kassian has spread his wings somewhat since. “At 20 or 21, I really felt that sleeves were coming in,” he outlines. “It wasn’t such a stereotype as it was back in the ’60s or ’70s, when you looked like a convict or criminal. That’s when I started to piece together some stuff that, ultimately, I’d like. That’s when I came up with my first sleeve. It took over a year to finish.” For Kassian and many others, tattoos are a way of subsuming fears, by literally embodying and containing them. “I’m scared shitless of sharks and snakes!” shares Kassian. “This tattooist in L.A. drew up a really cool shark and snake with a skull on it. I get a lot of compliments on that. It’s like an angel on my shoulder.” Of course, Kassian couldn’t help but incorporate a decidedly hockey-centric iconography. “At the end, we had a little bit of extra space,” he explains, “so we decided to put in a pair of teeth, because I’m missing my front teeth.” Amidst the body art boom of the last couple decades, it’s easy for a transient professional like Kassian to ensure he’s taken care of. He’s been inked everywhere from Chatham to Los Angeles. “I kind of go wherever,” he admits. “There are so many good tattoo artists out there now, in THEDRIVEMAGAZINE.COM
Rob Brown Sanctuary Tattoos
whatever city I’m in. Obviously, I like to know whom the artist has tattooed before, because it’s going to be stuck on you for life. People like to tattoo athletes to get their name out there, so there are a lot of tattooists who get excited.” The only constant is that Kassian’s body art is unified by a monochrome palate. “I have no colour tattoos,” he explains. “I’ve heard over time that colour fades, and you have to do a lot of touch-ups. But more important, I like the grey and black; it’s a very traditional, simple, original style.” Now a resilient veteran, Kassian occasionally finds himself doling out body art recommendations to younger teammates. His consistent advice: “Take it easy. Let it sit with you for a few months at least, because once you put it on, you’re never going to take it off. A tattoo should represent, I feel, something in your life: what you feel, what you like, something to do with you.” At times, his toughest opponent is his wife, Cassandra. “She doesn’t have one tattoo,” says Kassian, almost incredulously. “She hates them, but then every time I come home with another, she likes it. But it’s one of those things. I think enough’s enough for her. Just because you like them and have so many doesn’t mean you should just pile them on.” He laughs. “She’s the one who has to see me all the time!” Rob Brown, owner of Windsor’s Sanctuary Tattoos, is something of a wise old oracle in local body art circles. He set up shop in Windsor in 1999, having learned
his trade in Guelph, Port Credit and Mississauga for the better part of five years. Long familiar with Baby Boomer–driven discomfort towards tattooing, Brown had an inkling he’d chosen the right line of work when he inked one of the most vocal skeptics in his life: his own father. “I thought he was joking,” recalls Brown, who sat his old man down within the first few years of his career. “It was a small, simple tattoo design, but it meant a lot, because it was the symbolic acceptance of what I’ve chosen to do. He was a big baby. You can put that in there.” Brown has seen plenty of change since then, most of it positive. As he understands it, Windsorites’ access to excellent technical tattooing has never been better. “We have a remarkable talent pool,” he emphasizes. “There are a lot of really amazing young artists. At last count, there were around 85 to 90 people tattooing in Windsor-Essex. There obviously are people who are operating at different levels— just like in music, or sports, or any sort of talent-based field—but there are kids in this industry who’ve been doing it for half the amount of time I have and are way further along than I was when I was their age.” Part of that is owed to the availability of first-rate equipment. There are more suppliers operating in the tattooing space than at any time in history. “Little Billy or Suzy who wants to learn how to tattoo can do it with really good equipment,” says Brown, “and do it competently, and not stumble through the darkness like people 49
CULTURE DRIVE Barbering and Tattoo feature probably did before. I could go online with you, and we could find 30 or 40 [companies] just in the province of Ontario who are selling equipment—and the equipment has changed a great deal.” Perhaps more significantly, modern technology also makes it easier for clients and tattooists alike to absorb information. “There’s social media, which has made the world so much smaller, and television,” says Brown, who points to the 2005 debut of Miami Ink as a seminal moment for the trade. “If I want to watch a video of somebody getting tattooed in Australia, it’s right at my fingertips. Anybody who has a bit of creativity, who thinks they might be able to put this feather in their hat, it’s becoming more attainable for them. Back in the day, if you didn’t know somebody that knew someone, you were in the dark.” From this starting point, more craftsmanship begets better craftsmanship. “When I was getting tattooed,” Brown relates, “there was one guy, and his protégé. Now, you can meet 20 different people in an afternoon, and they’ll all do the same thing, but they’ll do it a little differently. I think that is allowing the industry to evolve and develop at a really remarkably quick rate.” In Brown’s view, this phenomenon is not limited to tattooing. “I was having a conversation with a friend who is a karate instructor and does a lot of mixed martial arts stuff,” he outlines, “and the same thing is happening there. As we start learning more, this snowball starts gaining momentum. It’s almost like we learned a lot of the stuff they should avoid or stay away from, and now they’re able to just deal with the meat and potatoes that really allows them to advance at such a remarkable rate.” Now a quarter-century deep in the body art business, Brown has noticed an influx of increasingly younger clients. Thanks to social media, the average person who walks through the door is better informed and more specific in his or her instructions. “At one time, a lot of people would thumb their nose at the readymade, ‘flash’ studios,” Brown recalls. “But now, everybody has the biggest flash wall in the world, in their back pocket. They come in armed to the teeth with ideas.” For Brown, this is something of a mixed blessing. “It helps you cut to the chase, but in many ways it’s a bit more difficult. Because, can you make me look like Bono? No. It’s not going to happen,” laughs Brown. “I can just tattoo; I can’t do any magic, I guarantee you!” 50
In fact, virtually every day, Brown finds himself in the ostensibly unenviable position of turning away eager business. “I think that might have been one of the reasons why I was successful in the beginning,” he muses. “Because I wasn’t afraid to tell somebody, it’s not going to work. I would rather they leave feeling disenchanted than to leave disappointed with something they’ve got marked permanently on their body. The longer you do it…it’s easier for you to say, Hold on, cowboy. You don’t want that spiderweb on your ear, or your girlfriend’s name on your throat. Ninety-five percent of the time, people appreciate sincerity and honesty.”
has a special meaning to me. They are sweet, constant reminders to me of my family, my faith and my struggles. In my youth, tattoos were seen mainly on members of the Armed Forces, ex-cons or the tattoo lady at the circus.” Refreshingly, Burkow’s own experiences have been positive. “No one has ever said a derogatory remark about them to me. In fact, many have said they wish they had one. And these are women in my age group.”
Now well into his forties, the Gen-Xer can’t help but allow a small sliver of cynicism to seep in when discussing the state of his industry. “I think there is a mystique that’s maybe gone,” he postulates. “Before, it was so mysterious, and fringe-y. I remember as a young kid going into tattoo shops and not being old enough to drink, and I would spend hours looking at drawings, and looking at the walls, and taking in the smells and the sounds and everything else. I can’t really describe it to anyone, because I don’t think that will ever be around anymore.” Not that Brown’s complaining. “I’m sure there are guys who’ve got 20 or 30 years on me,” he clarifies, “who’d be, like, cry me a river. It’s evolution.” Patricia Burkow (she prefers “Pat”) has made a habit of turning heads during the warm-weather months, when long sleeves and pant legs make way for some surprising artistry. “Absolutely everyone is surprised to see a tattoo on me,” she says with a laugh. “I have been told numerous times that I am the least likely person they would expect to see sporting a tattoo, let alone five of them.” You see, Burkow is in her seventies. While each of her pieces has been done by a different tattooist, Brown inked her latest a few weeks ago. He came highly recommended by both her daughter and Burkow’s nephew’s daughter. This one is probably her last, but you never know. “I found Rob to be very personable and caring for my comfort,” Burkow shares. “He was interested in my ideas and allowed me to be part of the process of its design. I have to say it was actually a fun afternoon!” Burkow is in a good position to speak about body art’s decades-long creep into the mainstream. “Today, tattoos are considered works of art,” she notes. “Each of my tattoos
Dan Topp is a prominent criminal lawyer working in downtown Windsor. Rather than signify some sort of alternative, outlaw identity, Topp’s first tattoo—an Old English D on the inside of his left arm— represents the most mainstream of interests. “I’m not originally from Windsor, but I’m a big Detroit guy,” he explains, “and I love my Tigers.” He committed to the piece over a decade ago, when he was in his twenties. “It was something I thought about, but because of my job I wasn’t sure,” he recalls. “It’s not visible unless I want it to be visible.” So, considering his profession, does the ink occasion much surprise? Topp shrugs. “A little bit, sometimes. Not really.” Still, Topp, who also has a Bob Dylan quote written across his ribs—“he not busy being born is busy dying”—recalls when one might call themselves “tattooed and employed.” Needless to say, it’s an outmoded expression. Topp has since added a complementary skull-and-crossbones piece on the opposite inside arm. “It’s kind of related to my job,” he explains. “Criminal defence guys are the pirates of the courtroom.” THEDRIVEMAGAZINE.COM
CULTURE DRIVE Barbering and Tattoo feature Don't miss the exclusive behind-the-scenes video of John Alvarez (F&B + Grand Cantina) getting his first tattoo at POP Hair Gallery Ink with Peter Baillie at www.thedrivemagazine.com
Peter Baillie POP Hair Gallery Ink
Windsor’s John Alvarez got his first tattoo after he almost died. Alongside his business partner, Tom Scully, Alvarez owns Walkerville’s F&B and The Grand Cantina in Ford City, the latter of which has been Windsor’s restaurant opening of the year. Instantly recognizable by his well-manicured trademark mustache, the slight-of-stature chef is quickly becoming a culinary giant in Southwestern Ontario. During the run-up to The Grand Cantina’s opening, Alvarez’s appendix ruptured. “I had some pressure in my lower abdomen,” he recalls, “but I have a high pain tolerance, so I didn’t really notice.” In time, he sure did. Alvarez eventually found himself hospitalized. Sepsis. Bilateral pneumonia. Strep B. This was two weeks after the organ burst, a circumstance that can be fatal within three days. 52
It’s easy to read the celebrated chef’s new ink as marking a new chapter in his life, re-establishing him on solid ground; for many, ink has a way of anchoring oneself in place. In Alvarez’s case, he had been considering a tattoo for a long time, but after his brush with death he realized he couldn’t wait any longer—for him, it was now or never. Alvarez’s piece centres on a Maryland blue crab, an iconic image that tethers him to his hometown of Baltimore. It also incorporates the black-eyed Susan, the Maryland state flower. “I wanted something that reminds me of where I came from,” he explains. “My grandfather recently passed away; he used to always have these flower gardens in the front yard.” A few weeks before committing to the design, Alvarez found himself in conversation with a guest at F&B on the topic. “He just assumed that I already had a tattoo,”
Alvarez recalls. It was a reasonably safe assumption: Most cooks below a certain age tend to have tattoos, and a clean-cut open kitchen can almost be disappointing in certain hipster sets. Alvarez went under the gun of Peter Baillie, a friend-of-a-friend and F&B patron, at Ottawa Street’s POP Hair Gallery Ink. The work adheres to what Alvarez understands as an American traditional style. And as for the suggestion that one tattoo begets more tattoos? Alvarez laughs. “I already have a meeting scheduled with Pete. The plan was always to get three-quarter sleeves—nothing past my elbows because I tend to burn my forearms in the kitchen.” If you work in a kitchen, some forms of body modification are going to happen whether you like it or not. And the next time you see him, ask him to show you that second tattoo. D.
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DANIELLE NICHOLSON: THANKSGIVING PLANNING Kids are back to school and the holidays are just around the corner. It’s a perfect time to start planning your Thanksgiving décor plans. We’ll keep this simple and keep you on trend. We all love our fall décor and the warmth it brings to the home. But sometimes we struggle with how to work it into our year-round décor. Just as we have seen a transition over the years with Christmas décor being available in wide variety of colour palettes, Thanksgiving is trending on the same path. Trends are showing up in rich creams, soft pinks and the palest of blues. The fabrics are just as rich in texture; after all, who doesn’t want a velvet plush pumpkin? The best way to mix that velvet pumpkin up is to add something organic. This will give you the warmth you are craving without sacrificing colour. It’s all about texture and layering. Add some beautiful fall mums or branches you may already have in your yard. Better yet, get your family together and head out into nature. Start collecting acorns and throw them in a glass vase with a candle. Want to make your guests feel extra special? Add a sprig of rosemary to their place setting. It’s multifunctional—they will appreciate the natural fragrance and it will give your elegant place setting an organic feel. Don’t be afraid to mix your existing décor with your new finds. The results will be fabulous!
Danielle Nicholson Design is an interior design firm and furniture boutique. Whether you are building a new home, renovating an existing space or looking to refresh a room, we are committed to bringing your vision to life. Danielle Nicholson Design 3055 Dougall Ave | Windsor, ON | N9E 1S3 519-564-9695 firstname.lastname@example.org
Shades of Braids
By Tracey Laforet | Photography: Shayenna Nolan
The art of braiding has evolved beyond the original cultural ideas. In todayâ€™s culture braids are adored, worn and praised in many different ways Today, we see a messier and freer style of braids that don't have to be tight or perfect. People accept braids to look less perfect, chic and more relaxed but braiding patterns have remained the same. Get your braids on with our how-to videos on line at www.thedrivemagazine.com /posts/shades-of-braids
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Crafting a Crowd Pleaser THE ART OF DEMAND AND DESIGN
By Suzy Kendrick | Photography by Pelee Island Winery and Suzy Kendrick
One may think the story of how Pelee Island Winery’s LOLA Rosé Sparkling came to be would be whipped in whimsy; an idea that had to have been conceived in the same way drinking a bottle of the perfect bubbly feels—magical and refreshing. In reality, it is more a testimonial to the high level of business acumen under which Pelee Island Winery operates. They’re experts at observing market trends, analyzing an audience and collaborating with the right vendors, then trusting the taste to the experienced talents of winemakers Tim Charissé and Martin Janz. The fact of the matter is this: LOLA is the result of making a very educated guess that was wildly successful. “As a winery, we are unconventional in that we are a house of brands, with each one having a unique story,” says Darryl MacMillan, sales and marketing manager at Pelee Island Winery. “We have 50 different consumer-facing brands with their own identity and DNA. While LOLA felt like a pretty big departure from what we’d done previously, I’m really proud of breaking new ground.”
harvest a few weeks earlier than the regular table wines, so the grapes are underripe.” The risk here is that they had only one shot. There was no putting the grapes back on the vine to fully ripen for use in other wines. Should this experiment not work, the winery would lose the yield (and the profits) from that fruit. Considerable investment was also required in order to create the sparkling rosé as there are extra steps involved in its creation. With the traditional “methode champernoise,” the wine undergoes a secondary fermentation right in the bottle. Alternatively, winemakers can create that environment in large Charmat tanks. This is the same process used for prosecco and cava. Pelee purchased two.
Additionally, a special bottle type had to be sourced. It needed to be pressurized, with CO2 enclosed in the bottle, in order to while on lavish European holidays. So, when keep LOLA carbonated until it was ready the light pink–hued drink started to appear to be enjoyed. in stores on this side of the pond, it was a “It’s always fun as a winemaker to welcome reunion. create something new and take on a new In the summer of 2014, a popular New challenge,” says Tim Charissé, winemaker York Post article proclaimed the high-flouting at Pelee Island Winery. summer inhabitants of the Hamptons were While the grapes were undergoing running dangerously low of “Hamptons processing under the watchful eye of Gatorade,” the new local term for rosé. Charissé and team, back at HQ they were Comical? Yes. Indicative of a major trend heads-down, brainstorming on the branding developing in North America? Absolutely. and creating story boards to help them truly Pelee Island Winery took this seriously as define who LOLA was for. they began forecasting supply and demand Ideally, they were going to be targeting and allocating their 2015 harvest to projects. young, urban, hip, fashionable females: the “Most things start in the vineyard,” Instagram generation. MacMillan says his says MacMillan. “In our planning process, hope was that these influencers would light we identified we could probably allocate the LOLA spark, and then the product would some really dynamite fruit to expand our appeal to a broader audience beyond that. sparkling wine program.” “We knew what we wanted to create And they did just that. That September, and who we wanted to attract,” MacMillan Pelee committed to the idea. The first says. “We felt like we knew what our target vintage, a combination of 95% vidal (white consumer would enjoy and we wanted to grape) and 5% chambourcin (red grape), carve out something new for them.” was harvested from the winery’s 550-acre In a pre-Instagram era, most rosé labels vineyard in the Pelee Island appellation. were romantic and soft, typical of the pink It’s Canada’s warmest, oldest and most wines from France. However, in the past southerly grape-growing region, similar to five years, another camp of graphic wine famous appellations in Spain, France, Italy labels—a deviation from tradition—has and California. emerged. Pelee designed the branding all
Between 2012 and 2014, Pelee Island Winery executives identified a trend in the market. The popularity for rosé and sparkling was on the rise in North America, mainly in the Hamptons. It was assumed “Being lightly sparkling changes the with this at top of mind, knowing their that many of these residents first tried rosé planning process, including how and when you Instagram-friendly consumers would be in Cannes, Nice, St. Tropez or Provence harvest the fruit,” says MacMillan. “You must eager to share photos of LOLA’s aesthetic THEDRIVEMAGAZINE.COM
WINE DRIVE on social media, continuing to drive sales of an already in-demand product. “The LCBO was a collaborator from the idea onward,” says MacMillan. “Once they saw LOLA, they wanted to carry it.”
success. They used the winter months of 2016 to get caught up on production. In Spring 2017, LOLA re-launched as a regularly listed item at the LCBO. By the end of 2017, LOLA was one of the top VQA Purchased as part of a seasonal program wines and the top VQA rosé. for 2016, the LCBO committed to “It makes you happy to see people purchasing a modest amount of product as enjoying your wine,” says Charissé. “That’s it was anticipated this would be a one-and- what you work for.” done type of program. However, confident In the wild, LOLA has taken on a life in their creation, Pelee had prepared extra of its own, especially on social media where inventory, as they really believed they were people are lovingly telling their LOLA on to something. stories and sharing beautiful photos. Once LOLA hit store shelves that spring, “At some point, you hand your brand the LCBO quickly came back and ordered over to the people consuming it,” says more. At the end of the season, the retailer MacMillan. had committed to three times the amount than they initially ordered. Subsequent to the success of the sparkling rosé, Pelee has expanded the LOLA line “Everywhere we brought LOLA, we sold with LOLA Vidal (a gently sparkling white out,” says MacMillan. “At wine festivals from wine), LOLA Gewürztraminer and LOLA Vancouver to Winnipeg, and all over the Cabernet Franc Rosé (a dry still rosé). The east coast, we watched as LOLA’s pink hue and unique branding caught people’s eyes brand new LOLA Cabernet Sauvignon/ from across the room. You could almost see Cabernet Franc is launching at the LCBO them tasting it before the rosé had even hit this September/October. their lips.” Oh, and the name LOLA? That’s LOLA’s long-term plan was formulated something Pelee Island Winery says they very quickly when the Pelee team saw its are staying tight-lipped about. D.
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