QALI is introducing Vancouver to a new type of hair extension

Nov 26 2021, 6:02 pm

Made in Vancouver is a collaboration between Vancity and Daily Hive. Together, we’re turning the spotlight onto local businesses, organizations, and individuals who are helping to create a healthy local economy.

QALI is a full-service salon and hair extension studio in Chinatown, downtown Vancouver.

The salon is on a mission to help women love their hair and change all preconceived notions that they may have about hair extensions.

Vancity has been supporting people in our communities since 1946. As part of our Made in Vancouver series spotlighting local businesses, we talked to Janelle Bell, owner of QALI, about bringing a new hair extension technique across the world. Learn more about what Vancity is doing in your community at

Janelle Bell was in New Zealand working as a project manager in the film industry when she booked an appointment at a hair salon called Loxy’s. 

She decided to get some hair extensions and noticed right away that the method in which they applied the extensions was something she’d never seen in North America.

The semi-permanent hair extensions were applied with a micro-weft technique, meaning without the use of adhesives or braiding which made the application process much gentler and quicker than other methods available in Canada.

Upon returning to Vancouver, Bell was devastated that she wasn’t able to find a salon that did extensions like Loxy’s. Her solution? To create her own.

Choosing a name for the salon came quite easily. QALI is short for Qalipu M’ikmaq, the name of the First Nation band that she’s a proud member of.

“Drawing inspiration from my heritage seemed like the perfect way to choose an original name for the brand. Long, flowing, beachy waves is the first thing you think of when you imagine ‘Cali-girl’ hair, so the name is a respectful nod to my background and phonetically encompasses our brand identity.”


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Bell soon realized that in order to actually open her own salon, she’d need to leave the film industry behind.

“You are never ‘stuck’ on your path just because of your education or years spent in a career,” she explained to Daily Hive.

“There are opportunities all around you if you are open to taking them.”


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At first, she was uncertain that the idea of extensions at QALI would take off.

Extensions have always typically been marketed as boujee or Kardashian-esque,” Bell told Daily Hive.

She knew that she needed to rework how people thought about hair extensions in order for her business to thrive.

“We [at QALI] view and market them differently. Extensions can be for a 43-year-old mother who is lacking confidence from thinning hair or for a 22-year-old Tik Tok-er who wants mermaid hair.”


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Bell knew that in addition to creating amazing hairpieces, her focus needed to remain on the customer and how they feel about themselves.

“It’s about more than just hair, it’s about empowering women.”


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“Whether they come in and get an entire hair makeover or just order a new product through our website, we always want them to feel a little pep in their step afterward,” said Bell.

“There’s something really powerful that radiates from a confident woman and if we can help play a small part in that, I feel like our job is done.”


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Those interested in getting a haircut, colour, style, or extension application can do so at the full-service salon based in Vancouver’s Chinatown at 236 E Georgia Street.

Those interested in purchasing extensions without salon experience can do so online.

Daily Hive

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