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Providing a safe space a priority for owners of Salmon Arm’s Fern & Co.

City’s ‘first non-binary personal service provider’ a place for anyone
Kaytlynn Davidson and Paige Murphy are the owners of Fern & Co. Creative Collective, located in downtown Salmon Arm. (Contributed)

Providing a safe, welcoming space for customers and co-workers is of utmost importance for business partners Paige Murphy and Kaytlynn Davidson.

The two have done that with their downtown Salmon Arm business, Fern & Co. Creative Collective, which offers spa services, hair styling, tattoo artistry, lash and nail esthetics and more.

What defines the business is Murphy and Davidson’s passion for making people feel good about themselves in a space where they know they are welcome. The two call Fern & Co. Salmon Arm’s first non-binary personal service provider.

“So that means none of our services are categorized by gender,” explained Davidson. “So that also means you’re not going to be upcharged simply because you’re a man or a woman. Because there are a lot of people who do not identify as either.”

Elaborating on this, Murphy explained a person shouldn’t be charged for service based on how they self-identify (referring, for an example, to the “pink tax” and the way products marketed to women tend to cost more than their variant marketed to men), nor should they feel unworthy of care.

“For me, doing spa services, most of the time men automatically think no, that’s not a place for me,” said Murphy. “And really, it’s a place for anyone… Just because you’re a man or a woman doesn’t mean your needs aren’t valid and they shouldn’t be met. You should be welcomed and that’s really what we want to focus on.”

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The name Fern and Co. comes from a definition that resonated with Davidson and Murphy.

“Ferns are a symbol symbol of pride and determination, and as a reminder to keep moving forward and leave the past behind. They symbolize confidence, love, and security because of their lush leaves, bouncy stems, and the ability to exist throughout history.”

“It kind of validated how we were feeling,” said Davidson. “After we read all of these things – that’s us!”

Working at Fern & Co. with Davidson and Murphy are tattoo artist Rae Ocompo, lash tech Chace Greqoire, Murphy’s apprentice Danielle Onions and studio co-ordinator/manager Simone Muirhead.

The workspace at Fern & Co. is divided into several private rooms, which further supports Davidson and Murphy’s desire to provide a safe space.

“One of the top things we get for feedback is how everything is sectioned quietly and it’s very private,” said Murphy. “If you don’t want to talk to anybody you don’t have to, if you don’t want to sit next to somebody, you don’t have to.”

Since Murphy and Davidson opened Fern & Co., at 315 Alexander St. NE, in July of this year, the two have become best friends, having each other’s back in their mission to care for others.

“It feels silly but some things are just meant to be and they bring people together and that’s kind of the case of what this is,” said Murphy. “Which is why I think too it’s so much deeper for us than just a business.”

Davidson and Murphy have set up Fern & Co. to be an example for other Salmon Arm businesses when it comes to providing a safe space.

“We need to be a diverse establishment, period, whether that’s religion, gender, the colours of your skin, your views, that sh@t doesn’t matter, that stays at the door,” said Murphy.

Throughout November, Fern & Co. is collecting donations of food and clothing for the Salvation Army, the SAFE Society and Second Harvest.

For more info, visit and the Fern & Co. page on Facebook.
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Lachlan Labere

About the Author: Lachlan Labere

Editor of the Salmon Arm Observer, Shuswap Market, and Eagle Valley News. I'm always looking for new and exciting ways to keep our readers informed and engaged.
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