Shine! 2016 Spotlight – Sugar Skull Studio

Shine 2016 – an extravaganza of fashion, music and dance – will be hitting the stage at the Commodore Ballroom on September 10th . This wonderful evening is made possible by hundreds of individuals who are rallying together for mental health. Communities helping communities!

Every single person and every single business involved is volunteering their time and services. Because of their generosity, Shine! will be able to donate 100% of every dollar raised through ticket sales and donations directly to the evenings recipients - Canadian Mental Health Association and The Lions Gate Hospital HOpe Centre.

As a thank-you, we will be highlighting some of the wonderful people and businesses who are working hard to make this evening the best it can be. Today's interview is with Gracie Perkins of Sugar Skull Studio, one of 14 salons participating in SHINE!

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Please share a bit about Sugar Skull Studio - when was it opened, what is the salon's approach/philosophy?

Hi! Sugar Skull Studio opened in April 2012 in the heart of Gastown. We are a little bunch of misfits that love to play with hair! It's amazing to make a living doing what you love! I also host non profit local art shows every few months here at the salon. They are a ton of fun and I have met so many amazingly talented gems because of them. Come on by and check out the rotating art!

Please share about your journey to open this salon. If you have an interesting or funny story about the process we'd love to hear it.

Actually, I never wanted to own a salon. I was busy working chair rental at a downtown salon when the doors closed suddenly. I had a few interviews and nothing gave me the freedom I had worked so hard to get. So me, being the stubborn one I am, with the inspiration of my fellow past co workers, kind of just fell into it. It's a LOT of work. I just want to play with hair, but there is so much more to running a business. I respect any business owner. I learned a lot, love every moment of it and wouldn't change it for the world! Failure is not an option. But it's not about the money, it's about the love of art!

How many artists work here and what is the range of services you offer clients? 

Currently I have five part time artists working here with me. I love the diversity and positive vibes they all bring to the table!
  • Nikki worked with me for three years at the previous salon, she is an amazing colour tech with 14 years experience.
  • John worked there also, he is a barber and specializes in hair tattoos and has a tutorial book coming out soon!
  • Velvet has been with me from the start and with the community for over 25 years, shes a fire cracker.
  • Stephanie joined the team a few months ago. She seems to be fitting in with great, with fun cuts and colours.
  • Jt is our junior stylist that seems to be growing her clientele fast, especially her cuts!

I have been doing hair since 2003. I love to play and am always up for a challenge. But I really love textured fun cuts and head turning colours that pop! Check us out on Instagram at  @sugar_skull_studio.

What would you most like future clients to know about Sugar Skull Studios?

If you are a prude, don't bother coming by! If you like to laugh, listen to good tunes and wanna have some fun while getting your locks looking pretty then come check us out!

For interested new clients - how should they book a consultation? Connect with the right artist?

You can call the salon (604-569-0111) or text me personally. (778 549 8905). I try to match accordingly, but since every stylist is chair rental, there are no set hours. I book up really fast, but I work long days to try and accommodate everyone! Usually you should call a good week or so before you want to come in to make sure I have room! :) Consultations are always free.

Please share how you heard about Shine 2016 and why you feel it's important for your salon to participate in this fundraiser in this fundraiser for mental health and addiction which address the stigma of mental health.

I have been ever so lucky to be working with Dean since the beginning. I was brought on as the underdog for BRILLIANT because one of the salon owners got pregnant and a spot opened up! I had such a blast. I love the cause and admire how much work he puts into this show. It's truly inspiring. Four solid years, and every year the show keeps getting better and more beautiful! I am proud to be a a part of it all. It was a lot of work, but we killed it and raised a lot of money for an amazing cause.  I was truly disappointed when I heard what happened with st. Pauls, especially because how much love sweat and tears Dean and all of us put into it. I am so excited to be apart of SHINE! I know its going to blow them out of the water, all us misfits on the run way and all the gays glittered up, LGBQT will be shining bright! I CANT WAIT! See you there!  #allthelove

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For more information on Sugar Skull Studios, go to their website at You can also connect with them on Facebook at and on Instagram at  @sugar_skull_studio.
Shine 2016 is going to be a do-not-miss amazing showcase of fashion, music and dance, all in support of The Canadian Mental Health Association and The Lions Gate Hospital HOpe Centre.

Don't Miss Out! Pick up your tickets today at