On The Flipp Side: Meet Jo-Anna Cassino, Hairstylist Turned Herbalist And Glam Urban Farmer
Jo-Anna Cassino's Flipp Salon/Apothecary on Transit St. in PVD is like no other I've seen. As she says, 'it's no ordinary salon.' It's part hair salon, part apothecary and part art gallery. And more. A stylist with decades of experience cutting hair in the capital city (I met her via my friend Dave, lead singer of Rock N Roll Rumble 2013 Winners Eddie Japan, whose hair she used to cut when he resided in the city back in the 90's), a singer in no less than two local bands, an herbalist (who trained and apprenticed under one of the most respected people in the field), and now an urban farmer, Jo-Anna bring all those influences together under one roof in a way that's accessible and welcoming.
As she walked us thru everything that she has going on at Flipp the other day, it became clear pretty quickly that she's passionate about promoting hair and skin products that are all natural, organic, and non-toxic (She makes several of their hair products and all of the skincare, even growing the herbs for both not far from Flipp...more about that in a sec.) as well as showcasing and selling locally made art and cool gift-y merch like photo greeting cards by Kate Salvi. Jo-Anna's personal style reflects this shop local philosophy too. When we met up with her, she was wearing this great vintage-inspired dress from Nava over on Wickenden, who in case you're wondering, feature both new and vintage clothing.
Jo-Anna also wow'ed us with:
- her collection of vinyl and the Stanton turntable (the Cadillac of turntables!) that provides the salon's soundtrack most days
- the fact that she hosts open jam sessions in the salon every 3-4 months with local singers and musicians (A fab idea if you ask me)
- an informal library of books, about everything from yoga to herbal medicine and beyond, and comics (another Jo-Anna fav)
- local art displayed prominently, which she changes up every 3-4 months (While we were visiting, she had photos by PVD based photog David Black...Wouldn't it be a neat idea to include the salon in Gallery Night? Just sayin.)
- locally made merch throughout like those Kate Salvi cards and Trashy Bow Couture hair accessories by Bianca Jones Pearson, who also designs the RI line Clothes Horse
- skincare and teas that she custom blends for clients
Yes, for the last 10 years, Jo-Anna has been working with herbs and for the last 3, she's been customizing herbal skincare and medicinal teas for her clients at Flipp. She explained to us in detail just how important it is to use products inside and out that are free of harmful chemicals, dyes, and other yucky stuff (FYI: Anything you put on your skin goes right into your blood stream immediately. There's nothing to act as a filter or buffer for your system, nothing that does what say your liver does for your body when it comes to food and digestion.). That's a big reason why she initially started studying herbal medicine and has more recently become involved with growing her own herbs at what's come to be known as 'The Pearl Farm' (on Pearl St.) in South PVD, a space overseen by her friend Jessyloo, also an herbalist and farmer, who shares many Jo-Anna's same interests.
So, after the salon, our next stop was 'the farm' in South PVD; it's adjacent to Avenue Concept, the public art program that actually owns the land. Jo gave us an informal tour of the bee hives, the green house (where they dry everything), and the plants in her part of the space, including mullein (one of her favs...the leaves can be made into tea for respiratory issues and the flowers may be dried and turned into an oil infusion to help heal ear infections.), the many different kinds of mints, and anise (great for digestive issues and freshening breathe).
I was so impressed with what I saw (Uh, her skin looks AWESOME btw.) and heard that I'm definitely going back for a skincare consultation. If you're leaning that way too, get even more info by clicking here.
Ciao For Now,
Photo Credits: All photos, except for the ribbons on the chainlink fence at 'Pearl Farm', courtesy of Ashley Farney.