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Artline Salon campaigns for The Food Bank of Waterloo Region

The community feel of Belmont Village is part of what inspired Artline Salon to give back this holiday season, says owner Lina Shamoun.



More people are in need of food assistance locally than ever before.


Back in Season One on Episode 49 of Bonn Park Podcast, Sara and I had an intriguing conversation with Lina Shamoun, an award-winning hairstylist and owner of Artline Salon in Belmont Village.


Born in Baghdad, Iraq, Shamoun’s family immigrated to Canada in the summer of ’98 when she was 14-years-old.


We chatted about her competitive hairdressing background, entrepreneurship, quiet leadership, creating a masterpiece, and giving back to the community.


This holiday season, Artline Salon is running a campaign called FOOD AND FUNDS, in which the staff is collecting non-perishable foods and financial donations for The Region of Waterloo Food Bank, which has seen a 25 percent increase in the number of people utilizing its services.


Donations of canned goods, pastas, cereals and other non-perishables are welcome, and cash donations will support the distribution of essential supplies to those who need it.


Thousands of members of our community -- our neighbours -- face food insecurity and housing challenges. The pandemic has affected lives in countless ways, inflation is driving up the cost of living, and social inequities are on the rise.


Many of these social challenges have become illuminated by the growth of tent encampments around the region, and with the weather turning cold those situations become even more dire.


Artline Salon's FOOD AND FUNDS campaign, which runs through January 31, is one of many local charitable campaigns that enable the more-fortunate among us to help those who are facing serious challenges.


So we recently caught up with Lina to talk about Artline Salon's FOOD AND FUNDS campaign...


Marshall: What inspired Artline Salon to participate in a campaign to raise food and funds for the Food Bank of Waterloo Region this Christmas season?


Lina: My mornings start early and watching the news has become a routine, and one of the main things that are consistently being brought up is the demand on our food banks and the need for food. It’s hard to hear that and simply go about my day.


As we approach the holidays, we are always thinking of getting the perfect gifts for our loved ones and being in the spirit of giving. Well, I just needed to do something that can hopefully make a difference and inspire other local businesses to do the same.


We are so grateful to have our jobs and careers and feel so blessed with the support of our guests, and together I believe we can make an impact. We just have to take action and choose a cause to support.


Marshall: Your family immigrated to Canada from your home in the Middle East, right?


Lina: Yes, it all started in 1998 when we landed at Pearson International Airport in Toronto, immigrating from Iraq. Without speaking any English or knowing much about this culture, I knew that it felt safe.


After starting high school and completing my co-op placement at a local hair salon, my passion was sparked for the hairstyling industry. However, my world would also change as a young new Canadian in grade 11 at St. Mary’s high school, when I was introduced to Skills Ontario competitions. I competed in the Hairstyling competitions going as far as the nationals in 2002.


Being involved with such an organization made me realize that there is a world out there worth exploring when it comes to creativity and pushing your boundaries.


So fast forward to today, it has been 20 years that I have been in this industry and, wow, it has been an honour to have had the opportunities thus far -- where I have represented Canada on international stages in many different countries and earning the world championship in progressive haircutting competitions.


Establishing Artline in 2007 was also one of my greatest accomplishments but I can honestly say that without the support of this community and the loyalty of my team and our guests, Artline wouldn’t be where it is today.



Artline is grateful and honoured to be a Waterloo Region-based salon


Marshall: What was your original vision for Artline Salon?


Lina: I only had one thought in mind when I opened Artline as a 23 year old stylist, and that was: “Failure is not an option.”


So with that in mind, I knew it was up to me to make it all happen, but when our first team member started with us, Raghda, our wonderful salon coordinator, it became clear to me that it was a team effort.


Our guests have grown and stayed with us throughout the years and supported us immensely, always referring our business and stylists to their friends and family.


And building our team through the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) is key to the success of the company and its team. Along with the loyalty of the guests, we are grateful and honoured to be a Waterloo Region-based salon.


Marshall: Artline team members start out as co-op students, right?


Lina: Yes, every member starts their two-and-a-half-year apprenticeship journey at Artline, and during this time, our young talent is coached by all of us, working alongside them while also attending high-level education at our academies nationally.



We also believe in competing and putting our skills to the test. Each team member at Artline Salon attends national competitions and have done extremely well in the past. We are very much looking forward to our next event in March 2023 where we will be competing in creative cutting and styling competitions.


These experiences, I believe, refines the skills of the hairstylist making them unique, creative, out of the box and extremely capable of expressing creativity in an avant-garde way while also maintaining precision and workmanship.


We are also very proud of the fact that the stylists at Artline are often attending our local schools and guest speaking to the hairstyling and fashion classes as well as providing hands-on demonstrations for the students. Many thanks to St Louis Adult Learning and Continuing Education Centre for these opportunities.



The power of community in Belmont Village


Marshall: Tell us about running a small business in Belmont Village in Kitchener.


Lina: Belmont Village is a community within a community, and the love and support that each business receives from our neighbourhood keeps us thriving.


Our success is collective, when one local business succeeds we all succeed and if one is feeling the impact then we all feel it too. This is the power of community.


Owning and operating a small business is a task that is heavy to carry at times but living in a community like Waterloo Region, there is always an opportunity to connect with an organization that is ready to help and guide us. Over the years, I have had the privilege of experiencing such guidance from the Chamber of Commerce, Digital Main Street, Canadian Small Business Grants, and more.



Together we can make a difference


Marshall: December can be a difficult time of the year for many folks…


Lina: Absolutely it can be, all the glitter and joy and lights are certainly part of the holiday season but as I drive around town getting from one appointment to another, or from home to work, I also see the tents that are on Victoria Street and in Victoria Park and I wonder, will they have a joyous holiday? Do they need food and warm clothing and good footwear? And then I instantly feel the need and the urge to help in any way I can.


This is where I truly believe that if every local business in Waterloo Region were to take on one cause or one charity and commit to making a difference, I believe we can be unstoppable.


This is my wish and my hope, to inspire someone reading this blog and say, yes, I can do something and to pay it forward and inspire other leaders in our community to take a step and do something that can be a life-changing opportunity in someone else’s life.


It’s in us to give. And together we can make a huge difference. It all starts with a single thought and one step toward action, then it all starts to unfold like magic.


Artline Salon is located in Belmont Village in Kitchener. Call 519-585-0230 or visit them online at artlinesalon.com. Your donation will ease some of the stress and worry of the holidays and fill a table with a healthy meal.

FUNDRAISING

Financial donations are important and allow the food bank the flexibility to purchase the food and items (PPE, bags, boxes) to urgently fill any gaps and support the process of distributing food to the Community Food Assistance Network

FOOD RAISING

The following is a list of high-need items requested by the community programs and agency partners, as part of the Community Food Assistance Network:

· Canned fruit, vegetable, meat, and fish

· Dry beans and pasta

· Hot and cold cereal

· Individually packed snacks

· Jam/spread

· Peanut butter

· Rice


Artline Salon's FOOD AND FUNDS campaign, which runs through January 31, is one of many local charitable campaigns that enable the more-fortunate among us to help those who are facing serious challenges.


The team at Artline Salon’s goal moving forward is to support a campaign every holiday season to help a cause in our beautiful community.


This holiday season, we encourage you to re-discover why it is so much more fulfilling to give than to receive.


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