The Humans Behind World Hair and Skin
My name is Brian Phillips and I am the founder of WORLD HAIR and SKIN, Toronto’s sexy, healthy, multipurpose personal care line - our story! My sister Donna Edwards is Director of Operations and together we have been steering the progress of our Canadian Clean Beauty brand from the offices of worldSALON, in the St. Lawrence Market area, one of Canada’s oldest and most beautiful neighbourhoods.
I opened worldSALON in 1989 after completing a degree in Communications from Concordia University in Montreal. I was born in Guyana, moved to London, England at age 3 and onto Montreal at age 8. My wonderful parents Claude and Yvonne negotiated the family out of harms way in our early years, after riots and racial disturbances rocked Guyana in the early 1960s. We eventually settled in Montreal, and happily landed in Canada on Christmas Day, 1966. I loved England where I started school, and still have a great affinity for things British. Very quickly though, I grew to love the seasons in Montreal, swimming and diving in the neighbourhood pool all summer and shovelling snow all winter.
Many of you do not know that my career in hair started at an early age when I gave massive trims to all of my sister’s Barbies and her Chrissy Doll - much to everyone’s chagrin. Through her fury, how could Donna know that years later our careers would merge and coalesce around a beauty industry that is so in need of clean, healthy, responsibly produced products for hair and skin.
My epiphany came ten years after becoming a hairstylist in 1993 and not knowing anything about the toxic soup we all swim in every day. I developed a severe case of contact dermatitis on my hands caused by perm solutions and heavily fragranced products. After educating myself, I decided to make worldSALON the most eco salon in Canada, installing solar panels to heat our water, among many other green initiatives. I searched but could not find fragrance free products that worked. I loved the minimalism and low waste concept of multi-purpose, so in 2001, I launched the first prototypes of our WORLD brand, for us to use in worldSALON, and for clients that wanted a healthier option to the many toxic products in the marketplace.
Donna moved to Toronto in 2007 after living in San Diego for nine years, raising two wonderful kids, my niece Tessa and nephew Conlan. Her background had been in Human Resources, so she was the perfect partner, happy to plug away at setting up maintaining systems while I focussed on the bigger picture. She began manning the helm at WHS in 2008, working diligently on all our back-end operations. In 2015, we re-branded, changing our packaging and fine tuning our concepts. We decided, due to growing support in the community for WHS, that it was time to get our message of clean, responsible beauty out to a wider audience. In the last five years many new markets have opened up to us both locally and internationally, with a good base building in Los Angeles.
Operating a small clean beauty brand has been an incredible struggle at times, as it is with all small businesses, and our latest challenge is finding a solution to our plastic packaging, which we are on the cusp of replacing. “Blue Beauty” will soon be replacing Green Beauty as attention shifts to ingredients like squalene derived from sharks and the deteriorating health of our oceans and waterways due to the explosion of plastic pollution. Being a small, nimble operation has its benefits, but costs are high when you can’t order in volume. With some new relationships we are developing, all this could change in the coming months! Stay tuned for up to date developments as they arise.
Thank you for reading my blog. Feel free to send a message and don’t forget to subscribe. I can also be reached at Insta@brianatworld and Insta@worldhairskin. We would appreciate your follows there as well. Donna and I at WORLD Hair and Skin wish you health, beauty and a bright future in a post COVID world.