Suki's
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Our History

 
 

SUKI'S | OVER 45 YEARS & THRIVING

IN 1972 SUKI TAKAGI MOVED TO VANCOUVER, purchased a small salon at the site of our current South Granville location and changed the future of Canadian hairdressing.

From the beginning, Suki's focus has been on strong, technical cutting, incredible colour work done by specialists and an unwavering committment to total guest satisfaction.

 
 
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ALL ABOUT SUKI

Harbin

Japanese by birth, Suki was born in 1939 into Japanese occupied Harbin, in China. A child with an unstoppable positive attitude and a driven family (her father graduated from Columbia Law School and her sister was president of the Japanese women doctors’ association.)

After the WWII Japanese surrender, six-year-old Suki was temporarily placed in a wartime Russian Orthodox orphanage for her safety, before the family was repatriated to Japan.

“It wasn’t until much later that she learned from her older sister that the orphanage wasn’t an “exclusive Russian boarding school.”

— QUOTING SUKI TAKAGI, VANCOUVER SUN

 
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LOS ANGELES 

1960s - Suki moved to Beverly Hills on a student visa. She studied at a beauty school on a scholarship finishing first in her class of 300.

She worked with Gene Shacove, hairdresser to Elizabeth Taylor and best man at Vidal Sassoon’s wedding.

VANCOUVER

1972 - Suki and her husband, a Japanese entrepreneur, moved to Vancouver where she bought an existing 700 square-foot business at 3157 Granville Street at 16th Avenue.

The salon’s staff — four men — promptly quit because they didn’t want to work for a Japanese woman. The local Shaughnessy clientele initially shunned the young Japanese hairdresser, but that changed over time.

After Suki's divorce, the salon's landlord refused to renew her lease because, he felt the salon would fail. Because of this, she was forced to move the salon two blocks away.

 
 
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1972 | Suki Builds The Business

1972 focusing on the cut and creating exciting, easy to maintain hairstyles, Suki's quickly became "the must see" salon. 

The audacity came from an unrelenting “passion, tenacity and a tremendous desire to be the best,” both technically and in servicing clients.
Jenny Lee, VANCOUVER SUN  12.21.2012

Suki quickly learned her Beverly Hills coiffures would not do in the damp Vancouver weather and adopted Vidal Sassoon’s sleek, precision cut, wash-and-wear styles to bring the London trend here. She borrowed from the bank to send all of her hairdressers to London for training with Sassoon.

 

 
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The Salon was quite literally built one client at a time, through client recommendations or people stopping clients on the street to compliment them on their hairstyle and ask 'who did your hair?'
- Bill Moreland, Suki's Operations Manager
 
 
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1978 | EDUCATION IS BROUGHT HOME

IN 1978 THE SUKI'S ADVANCED ACADEMY WAS FOUNDED TO TRAIN OUR GROWING STAFF

“There are things you have to give up [to work for me] like a date, a party ... I demand. I do,” she laughed. “I’m a demanding person.”

— QUOTING SUKI TAKAGI, VANCOUVER SUN

Growing interest meant a need to train more stylists in precision cutting techniques.

In 1978 she hired Vivienne Mackender from Vidal Sassoon, to found the Suki's Academy and become the company's first Artistic Director and Director of Education.

To date the Suki’s Academy attracts international students and is considered one of the finest training facilities in the world.

Suki’s academy has trained 1,000 people over 45 years

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1986 | ARTHUR ERICKSON DESIGNS SUKI'S SOUTH GRANVILLE

It must have been a moment of pure pride when Suki returned to the site of her first salon in 1972 and purchased the space. Her decision to employ celebrated architect Arthur Erickson makes Suki's South Granville Salon an iconic Vancouver landmark. 

Erickson took a restrictive long, narrow (27' X 120') vertical space to produce a fresh and airy, 3 floor, 7,000 square foot building designed to house the growing salon and Academy.

The signature exposed concrete walls, towering sheets of glass and double-faced mirrors, designed with Francisco Kripacz, are a reminder of Suki's dedication to original design.