Canvas Studio’s new owner has vision to continue longstanding reputation

“I’m in a tent in the middle of the Redwood Forest right now, but I want to interview with you.”

Andrea Jo Caffrey said this to Katt Ahlstrom, the then-owner of Canvas Studios—a local  award-winning hair salon— when she learned that Katt was hiring. 

Andrea and her now-husband, Foster Caffrey, were in the midst of riding their bikes from Portland to San Francisco. She had recently quit her job at a basic in-and-out salon where her vision for style was limited, discouraging her spirit and passion to embrace someone’s identity. Until Katt came along and offered her an opportunity.

Upon hiring Andrea, Katt mentored her and helped her see a grander future for herself. Katt has a chronic illness, and when she got debilitatingly sick, she tasked Andrea with taking care of the shop. In November of 2018 Katt started talking with Andrea about selling the shop to her and in January, they sealed the deal. 

Being the new torchbearer to a studio that was already dubbed cutting-edge and hip, Andrea let her vision expand past the walls of the studio, reaching the Missoula community in a new way. Andrea changed her haircuts to “trim” and “haircut” so that non-binary people didn’t have to pick “men” or “women” cuts. 

“Hair doesn’t have a gender,” Andreas said, laughing. “I find out what someone’s self identity is and create that in their hair.”

Recently, she got all the Canvas hair stylists Deva Curl certifications, which means they know how to cut super curly hair for a more diverse clientele, including Missoula’s new population of refugees. 

Andrea plans on holding bi-monthly community workshops such as how to curl hair with a flat iron or make homemade hair tonic. Her philosophy is an extension of the community-oriented salon Katt envisioned since its opening in 2011.

“Having the opportunity to get in on something like this,” she said, “is a lifelong dream for any hairdresser.” 


Canvas Studios

429 Madison Street

Open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.