Andrew Cross took the long road home to Port aux Basques.
Last August he officially gave up globetrotting to launch Kroma, his own urban day spa that offers hair, tattoos and piercings.
To realize his dream, Cross first went to school in Halifax, Nova Scotia before continuing to train in London, England with Vidal Sassoon. He then moved on to become an educator with Schwarzkopf Professional.
Those high standards and apprenticeships have resulted in a partnership with the world famous colour line. Kroma is the only Schwarzkopf Professional partner studio in the entire province.
“I always wanted something of my own,” said Cross. “I travelled the world teaching for Schwarzkopf and I got to see salons like this and I thought, ‘wow, that’s a really good idea.’”
Lack of competition in his hometown helped Cross with his decision to set up shop in Port aux Basques.
“There’s nothing here. There’s no tattoo artist. There’s no piercer.”
Although the tattoo industry is currently unregulated, Cross believes it really should be. He underwent training as a tattoo artist at the same time he studied hair styling.
“People are tattooing from their houses, buying equipment online and not knowing how to tattoo,” said Cross. “You actually have to have someone teach you. You’ve got to know the depth of the skin and the angle of the needle and what size needle to use, etcetera. If not, you’re just going to ruin people’s skin.”
Cross fully believes the industry needs oversight if only to ensure proper equipment sanitization. “If you’re getting a tattoo on someone’s couch and there’s four cats I doubt that’s very sterile.”
When he’s not at his studio making customers look fabulous, Cross likes to invent new challenges for himself. For the town’s upcoming winter carnival, he’s planning a fashion show, which means even more work for the busy entrepreneur.
“I want to pull looks from all the catwalks – spring and summer – and make my own collection for hair and for the wardrobe,” said Cross. “I’m doing business couture, sweet 50s pinup and chain and smokes, and that’s going to have glow in the dark hair, so it’s going to be under a black light.”
The plan is for each theme to feature its own distinct and unique hairstyle.
“Business couture is going to be more modern, geometric hair but with a twist to show that you can still have some fun hair and look professional,” he said.
“The 50s pinups – that’s really in right now – polka dots and checkers and all that stuff. The plan for that collection is to primarily showcase different hair colours.” The last set features styles from the 1980s.
Cross is hoping to do more than just bring something new to winter carnival. Part of his motivation is to use his talents to help others develop self-confidence.
“The reason I wanted to do this was to show the people in this town who have been rejected and bullied and made fun of that they’re beautiful no matter what.
“Anyone could be a model. It just takes confidence and poise.”
It also takes some clothing, so currently Cross and his volunteer models are raiding each other’s wardrobes for pieces that will work for the three collection themes. It’s not only fun, it’s far more cost effective.
“I’m already spending too much money in hair colour,” laughed Cross, who plans on sending 10 to 15 female models down the runway along with five to 10 males.
Despite the jokes about cost, if all goes well Cross would like to sponsor another fashion show during the town’s annual Astrolabe Days to feature a fall-winter collection. Ideally, he’d like to host shows twice a year.
Cross says he is always keeping on top of seasonal fashion trends by following world-famous designers such as Dolce and Gabbana, Christian Dior and Yves St. Laurent.
“It’s part of my every day. I love stuff like that,” said Cross.
The Port aux Basques winter carnival is scheduled for the week of March 18-24. The date of the fashion show has yet to be confirmed.
Visit Kroma’s website to keep up to date: www.kromahairtattoo.com.