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The Blake: Shyer Christine

The Blake

Since its inception 6 years ago, Cannabis Cactus has always been committed to supporting small businesses, both cannabis and non-cannabis alike. As the magazine has grown throughout the years, and expanded to states beyond Arizona to California, Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, Michigan and more, we are able to feature even more businesses around the country that are doing interesting and innovative things within their communities. As someone who ran her own business for nearly a decade, it’s incredibly important to me to highlight both the successes, and also the struggles, of being a business owner. Cannabis-related or not, there is nothing quite like it when it comes to the highs and lows, the victories large and small, and the opportunities to learn and grow.

Shyer Christine is the owner of The Blake Salon, which opened in September of 2022 in the RiNo neighborhood of Denver. RiNo has made quite the transition in the past decade from a primarily industrial area, to a popular destination for Denver locals and tourists alike. It’s now bustling with restaurants, breweries, wineries, dispensaries, art galleries, shops and salons. One of my favorite things about it is the abundance and variety of murals, on buildings that were once derelict and a bit scary. It’s a neighborhood that is flowing with the essence of creativity, so it’s no surprise that Shyer, an artist in her craft, chose this location for The Blake as everything began to open up again following COVID. The Blake’s culture strives to be one of “being” rather than “doing”— existing happily in your own skin while enjoying things that make you feel beautiful, in the moment, alive. I’m a big believer in good vibes, and talking to Shyer for even a minute makes you realize how passionate she is about her business, her employees and customers, and her dreams. I’ve been intrigued with her own journey, and that of The Blake, so for its one-year anniversary in September of 2023 I’d love to introduce you to them both.

The Blake

Shyer, thank you so much for taking the time for this interview! Can you tell me a bit about yourself and The Blake Denver?

I was born and raised in the picturesque town of Winter Park, Florida. Despite growing up in modest circumstances, I quickly learned the value of self-sufficiency from a young age. This was particularly noteworthy in a town known for its affluent residents, including professional athletes, politicians, lawyers, doctors, and individuals of substantial means. This environment exposed me to both ends of the economic spectrum, allowing me to appreciate what I had while also gaining insights into the lifestyle of the privileged.

This early exposure to contrasts and opportunities instilled in me a strong sense of ambition that has endured over the years. Our family's leisure time was often spent at the beach, as elaborate vacations were beyond our means, so the beach became our sanctuary—a place to reset and find relaxation amidst life's demands. The inspiration behind The Blake Denver emanates from this cherished retreat.

My vision was to create a salon that exudes a sense of spaciousness and tranquility. The interior features a harmonious blend of neutral tones and serene blues, evoking a soothing ambiance the moment you cross our threshold. The lofty ceilings contribute to an airy atmosphere, enhanced by two expansive glass garage doors that seamlessly merge the indoors with the outdoors. A playful touch comes in the form of a swing, adding an element of whimsy to the setting.

At The Blake Denver, we take pride in offering a diverse range of hair products that not only enhance the beauty of your hair but also leave you with an enchanting, delicate fragrance that lingers in our space. Our overarching goal is to provide a seamless experience where stepping into our salon instantly evokes feelings of relaxation, comfort, and a touch of the excitement associated with a vacation getaway.

The Blake

What was your personal journey to starting The Blake Denver, and what inspired you to take the leap to open your own salon?

Eleven years ago, I made the move from the bustling streets of New York City to the mountainous landscapes of Colorado, embarking on a transformative journey that carried me from the world of fashion in the Big Apple to a newfound passion in the Rockies. Following my move, I was confronted with a pivotal decision: whether to venture into the world of culinary arts or to explore the realm of cosmetology. Ultimately, my enduring love for art and design triumphed, propelling me to enroll in cosmetology school. Graduating with distinction as the top performer in my class, I not only cultivated an enthusiasm for hairstyling but also for the art of education and development.

My professional voyage began as an apprentice, where I earned a modest wage of $4.50 an hour while diligently sweeping floors and absorbing the wisdom generously shared by those around me. This marked the inception of a diverse career path that took me through various salon settings, each offering valuable insights into my likes and dislikes within the industry. A consistent theme throughout was my passion for education, which became a cornerstone of my approach. Colleagues at every juncture would inquire about my plans to establish my own salon, to which my resolute response was always, "never!". However, fate had other designs in store.

The unforeseen arrival of Covid-19 in 2020 halted the world and left me without a foreseeable professional path. In the midst of this uncertainty, I turned introspective, channeling my energy into crafting a comprehensive guide for salon professionals titled, "The Sh!t They Don’t Teach You in Cosmetology School." During this period, I still believed my trajectory was one of becoming an educator or a consultant for salon businesses. Yet, it became evident that to effectively teach and advise, one must have walked the path personally.

While I had amassed a loyal clientele, I hadn't embarked on the journey of building and nurturing an actual business. A new opportunity presented itself as the world began to reopen—a position at a salon I had held high hopes for. However, the universe had a different calling. The repetition of colleagues inquiring about my own salon venture resonated deeply, signaling that this was my true path. On March 17th, 2021, I initiated my entrepreneurial venture in a modest salon suite with one lone employee. By September 2022, one year ago this month, I proudly expanded into a retail space in Denver's vibrant RiNo neighborhood, now boasting a team of six dedicated employees with ongoing growth on the horizon.

This journey has been profoundly humbling. There are moments of doubt that creep in, urging me to consider giving up—dreams of selling the business and seeking solace in Costa Rica. Yet, in these critical junctures, I summon the spirit of the girl who penned that book, a girl who possessed only half the narrative but brimmed with boundless enthusiasm and passion. Drawing strength from her, I navigate through the challenges, and I can attest that emerging triumphant on the other side of these trials is an immensely gratifying experience.

The Blake

What does The Blake Denver offer that makes it different from other salons in the Denver metro area?

My vision for The Blake was to create a salon that was built on passion, education, teamwork and community. Not only do I have a passion for doing hair, I also have a strong passion for leadership and helping others grow as professional stylists.

Our motto is “To be and be seen.” That means we not only care about a great head of hair, but that everyone feels beautiful and seen as their authentic self. We do this by building a space of talented, innovative, and supported stylists and fostering community above all else.

We LOVE great hair. And we love creating that for our clients. But we’re also about building a space of and for people, friendship, and communion. Our goal has always been to build a safe space for people to come to unabashedly be themselves and to be seen in all their beauty.

This means staff that are helpful, generous, and sympathetic towards our client’s needs. We want to take care of our client’s hair as if it were their own. This also means a staff that feels seen and cared for because a great experience starts from the top.

We are a group of hairstylists who love working together and feel supported by one another. Our value of teamwork runs deep in all of us so that we can create beautiful, modern hair in a fun environment that is welcoming to all.

Is there any community involvement or cool projects that you would like to promote?

The Blake Denver is located in the River North Art District, (known as RiNo) "where art is made". We are proud to be a part of a diverse and creative business community. We are inspired daily by the energy of artists, designers, start ups, restaurants, craft libations as well as the innovative street art murals in alleys and on buildings throughout our neighborhood.

We often host DJ events at the salon, partner with other local businesses for events and look forward to building even more as we celebrate our first year of business!

The Blake

You’ve told me yourself that you are not a big drinker, and cannabis use is the way you choose to relax. What are your preferred methods of consumption?

Some people like to wind down at the end of the night with a glass of wine, I prefer cannabis.

My go-to is usually a Willie’s Reserve cartridge for my vape pen, though I occasionally opt for an edible.

I prefer a cartridge because they fit well into my lifestyle. I'm often not home from work until late in the evening, so if I need to take the edge off, I want it to be immediate. I also love how discrete and clean they are.

Choosing cannabis over alcohol allows me to unwind without worrying about a hangover, which is crucial, since I'm up early every morning around 5:30 or 6:00 to kick-start my day. The vape cartridge ensures a good night's sleep and I wake up feeling refreshed and not groggy or sluggish.

The Blake

How do you think cannabis has helped you in your journey to becoming a successful business owner and leader?

Building my salon from the ground up (I started with an actual gravel floor, no electric or plumbing, a shell of a space!), without partners or investors, was a very stressful endeavor. There were a million decisions, red tape and delays. Cannabis is the tool I use to regulate my stress and anxiety, to provide myself a mental break.

Now that The Blake Denver is open for business, my days are typically very overstimulating and stressful. My mind operates at a constant, rapid pace. Using cannabis helps me regulate the daily pressures, while still allowing me the cognitive ability to do the things I love or to simply just relax.

Being a highly creative individual with a multitude of passions and hobbies, I've discovered that incorporating cannabis during the evenings allows me to transition away from work mode and fully engage in activities like painting, cooking, and playing the guitar that provide my mind with a much-needed break.

Cannabis is a vital tool in my self-care arsenal, that helps me relax and recharge which in turn allows me to remain dedicated to nurturing myself, inspiring my team, and propelling the growth of my business.

How can readers find you and your business?

Phone: (720) 877-8482



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