He loves hair, he loves food and has a style that is different and original.

Meet Rowan – artist, barber and co-owner of SUNDAY one of the coolest brands around.

Rowan Thomas

Barber + Entrepreneur + Salon Co-owner
SUNDAY | Ottawa, ON

Instagram: @rowanthebarber
Instagram: @sundayottawa

How did you get your start in the industry?

I always loved cutting my friends hair when I was younger. In the early 2010’s barbershops in Canada weren’t what they are today, so at the time I never saw it as an industry I could excel in. That was until I lived in Toronto and came across some new age shops that were doing something interesting and captivating. It inspired me and it made me imagine owning my own business and being able to create every day. It was at this time I started cutting my friends’ hair even more and eventually start my own house call business.

Instagram: @rowanthebarber
All artists get their inspiration from different places – where do you get yours?

Inspiration is so important in our industry. It is such a massive part of staying motivated.

Whether it is looking at other artists haircuts or pulling from abstract sources such as architecture, art, traveling and experiencing other cultures. I also am inspired by the personal style I see day to day, online and in person.

When you travel to different cities and other countries – do you try to check out the barbershops?

I love to travel and explore. So naturally I will always seek out cool, popular barbershops when abroad. It is so interesting to see the little differences in technique and style. You can always learn something new and it’s great to continue to help grow and connect to the international barber community.

Instagram: @rowanthebarber
You recently did a photo shoot with Savanna for White Satin Bridal Boutique. How was it being in front of the camera?

I have been in front of the camera a little before, plus being beside such a gorgeous woman makes it so much easier. It was also great to get to help our friend Thalia from Maison Anthea who organized the whole shoot and did all the flower arrangements which were beautiful.

Did you find it a difficult transition from being behind the chair – to becoming a shop owner?

The transition from a chair rental/commission based shop to owning my own space with Savanna wasn’t as difficult as I thought. I think that was because it felt like the natural progression, at the time I was getting very busy and felt like I had built a big enough client base to do my own thing. Savanna and I were also excited and ready to bring our idea of a smaller more intimate and inclusive studio space to the city.

Instagram: @rowanthebarber
Starting a business at any point is a major undertaking – let alone during a global pandemic. What are some of the biggest business and life lessons you have learned this past year?

This past year and a half has definitely had its difficult moments but all in all, we were actually fortunate to open up after the pandemic started because we were able to develop a Covid friendly business model. Being shut down and not working for long periods was very hard but not having a large staff or a massive space with lots of overhead really helped us. That being said we definitely learned some really valuable lessons about how much work is really behind owning your own business. We’ve learned so much about finances, taxes, general business start-up stuff, time-management, and communication.

Instagram: @sundayottawa
Your talents go way past the clippers. In my interview with Savanna she said the branding was all you and your graphic designer Adam Burns. I loved the SUNDAY logo from the very first post – it is simple but timeless. How did you come up with the logo and branding for the shop?

I have always loved design, branding and logos and I just knew I wanted it to be something timeless that would look good on a piece of merchandise and wouldn’t be something people immediately knew was just another salon/barbershop. I wanted it to stand on its own as just a cool brand.

Savanna and I worked with our amazing designer and friend Adam Burns who has a really good eye for composition. We had an idea of the lettering style we wanted and he elaborated and made it more intricate and original. I feel that we got a little lucky finishing it pretty quickly but I also believe we just had a good vision.

Instagram: @rowanthebarber
You are a bit of a hair chameleon – how many different hair colors have you had over the past few years?

I get bored of my hair pretty fast. Haha and also don’t like having too much to manage so I usually keep it pretty short. I realized the best way to switch up a look when you have short hair is a pop of colour. That being said the answer is I truly have lost count.

I am always looking for new restaurants to try – what are some of your favorite spots in Ottawa?

I love two things – hair and food, so I definitely have lots of favourite restaurants! North and Navy, Arlo and Fauna will always be family and are must tries if you’re in Ottawa. I also love smaller hole in the wall places, big fan of New Mee Fung which is great Vietnamese food in China town and Thali which I love for Indian. Truly too many restaurants to name.

How would you describe your personal style?

Personal style is a huge part of my inspiration for my work. I love to pull from peoples style to achieve a look that suits the way they live and dress. I have always been fascinated with fashion and clothing and I love that it gives people and outlet to feel different and original.

I consider my personal style to a combination of new and thrifted with an emphasis on local smaller brands with good ethics. My favourite little local brand is called Boredom from Ottawa and everyone should check it out.

What are your top 5 favorite songs on your playlist right now?

We listen to so much music at work so my favourite songs are constantly changing. Top 5 right now in my playlist are probably:

#1. Anything Leon Bridges or Khruangbin
#2. Emmet Dupree – Hours make ours
#3. RealestK – WFM
#4. Rufus Du Sol – Surrender Album
#5. Octavian – Endorphins album