When make-up artist, Katie Foster, and hairstylist, Thelma Bento decided to go into business together they knew exactly what was missing in the Forrest City beauty scene; a chic Toronto inspired L’Oreal Professionnel salon. Having worked together at a previous salon, they quickly built a strong relationship. With Thelma’s creative attributes and Katie’s business sense, they knew they would mesh perfectly together as business partners. There was no need to look any further than Toronto’s popular Taz Hair Co.; a stylish salon where beauty and sleek sophistication meet comfort and friendly service. On March 18th, 2014 they opened the third Taz Hair Co. location, bringing it out of Toronto into the heart of downtown London.
Operating under the existing Taz Hair business model provided Katie, 27, and Thelma, 30, the support and training they needed to ensure their new venture would be a complete success. “Without the Taz team behind us, we would never have been able to endeavour on this new journey together.”
Thelma’s ingenuity has helped propel their reputation forward as one of the top beauty salons in London. She trains employees on the newest hair trends and techniques, but her career and passion for hairstyling all started back in 2002 when she enrolled in the Image Group Hairstyling Academy in London, Ontario, and graduated the following year. Throughout her career, she has worked on numerous photo shoots, fashion shows, and TV/Media events all while maintaining her daily routine behind the chair. With over a decade of experience in the industry, Thelma continues to grow and expand her knowledge attending educational seminars around the world.
In 2013, she studied internationally with L’Oréal’s Haute Coiffure Française (HCF) in Paris, France, where she worked with the L’Oréal Professional Canadian Team as a portfolio assistant. She worked amongst some of the most talented stylists in the business, expanding her knowledge of cutting, colouring and up styling.
Learning from International artists gave Thelma a new perspective on hairstyling and encouraged her to be more versatile in her work. “Seeing the way that artists from different countries work with hair increased my knowledge and helped me develop new techniques that I’ve brought back and use with my personal clients. Seeing their passion for hairdressing not only inspired me as an artist, but also made me even more driven and dedicated to my business.”
Thelma’s diligence paid off in spades. She was nominated as a Top 5 Finalist for Colourist of the Year at the 2014 Mirror Awards and was voted Fan Favourite at the Contessa Awards. In 2014, she was honoured to be the recipient of the Ontario Hairstylist of the Year Award.
Katie earned her degree from the University of Western Ontario in MIT (Media Information Technology) that has benefited her as a Manager and helped her build a dedicated professional team. Katie has travelled around the world to increase her knowledge of the business side of the beauty industry. She spent time studying at the L’Oréal Professional Business Forum in Spain, the Milano Software Exchange in Niagara Falls, and the Kerastase Experience K in Mexico, as well as L’Oréal’s HCF in Paris, France.
In addition to being the Manager of Taz Hair Co. in London, Katie is the salon’s lead make-up artist. She began her career as a makeup artist in 2011 after graduating from Makeup Artistry at Elegance Beauty School. There she learned expert techniques in applying makeup for day and evening, bridal, airbrushing, colour photography, black and white photography, runway and TV/Media.
She has lent her makeup savvy skills to fashion shows, wedding parties, editorial photo shoots, competitions, and has also worked with a variety of television companies. In 2013, Katie was nominated as one of the Top 5 Finalists in Canada at the Contessa Awards for Makeup Artist of the Year. In 2014, she was a Finalist in the national Mirror Awards competition for Makeup Artist of the Year. Most recently, she was selected as a Semifinalist for Canadian Makeup Artist of the year at the 2014 Contessa Awards.
“I was thrilled when I heard I was nominated for these huge awards, but also very grateful that I was being recognized by others in the beauty industry! This proved to me that all my hard work has paid off, and I will continue to push myself in the years to come and continue to enter competitions.”
Katie is a Certified Makeup Artist, Beauty Consultant/Educator and a member of The Beauty Team. Aspiring makeup artists will get a chance to learn from Katie in the spring of 2015 when she teaches an Airbrush Makeup program at Fanshawe College.
She continues to educate herself and frequently attends seminars, master classes and beauty shows to ensure she stays on top of the latest trends in the industry. Katie is a strong advocate and believer that makeup is applied to enhance one’s natural beauty, which begins in the heart and soul of each individual.
When Thelma and Katie started scouting locations for Taz Hair London, they knew the downtown core would be the perfect place for their salon. Located just off the main drag on Piccadilly St., it’s close to all the action downtown has to offer. Thanks to being on a main bus route for students from Western University and Fanshawe College the salon caters to a large amount of foot traffic.
In less than a year, they have expanded their team quickly to meet the salon’s high demand. They now employ ten stylists, three assistants, one esthetician and two receptionists. They are extremely driven and passionate about building their team, educating their staff and motivating them to be the very best artists in the industry.
“Without a solid team behind us, the TAZ brand would not exist. Our team continuously supports one another and with the positive energy of everyone we can push each other to strive for success. With the many salons in London, it is imperative that we set ourselves apart from the rest. Having well trained employees and continuing to stay on top of the latest trends is a key factor to a strong and successful salon team.”
As a full-service salon they offer hair colouring, highlighting, shaping, extensions, up-styling, blow outs, treatments, smoothing, makeup application and airbrush makeup. They cater to clients of every age, including; kids, students, working class men and woman as well as retired folks.
Customers can earn reward points towards free products and services when pre-booking appointments, purchasing retail products and referring new clients. Taz Hair Co. is an exclusive L’Oreal Professionnel salon and carries only L’Oreal Professionnel, Kerastase and Pureology retail products.
“The feeling we get when our clients leave the salon is something that cannot be explained. Daily, it is our job to make people more beautiful and give them a boost of self-confidence. It is so gratifying to make clients feel and look their best and give them an incredible experience from when they enter the salon to when they leave.”
Thelma and Katie are thrilled to be a part of the Taz Hair Co. family and can’t wait to create a style for you that’s all your own.
Taz Hair Co.
230 Piccadilly Street, London, ON