Occupation: Hairstylist, owner of Canvas Hair Design.
Family: Married to Erin Hall; they have a daughter, Bronwen, 3.
Travis Hall, owner of Canvas Hair Design, was a 23-year-old college student when he first got the inkling to become a hair stylist. “I was invited to be a model in a hair show in New York about 17 or 18 years ago. I had really long hair when I was younger, and I had never thought about this as a career. I came back, left college and went to beauty school.”
The Harriman native said not many folks gave him a hard time for going to beauty school. “Maybe a few did, but my family was supportive, and my dad was really supportive, surprisingly.”
His college career prepared him well for his career though. “I changed my major four times. Biology, English, history and then psychology were my four different majors. They all make good conversation background for hair dressing. It was meant to be. I can talk to everybody.”
Hiking in the mountains has always been a passion for Hall. In 2000 he took five and a half months and hiked the Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia. “I had wanted to do it since I was a teenager. Every year I said, ‘Maybe next year,’ until I felt I had the funds and time. I would do it again tomorrow if I could.”
The hairstylist said he enjoys hiking, especially on the AT, as the Appalachian Trail is called by enthusiasts, because it seems like another world. “And I just love that world, being there and never seeing the same thing twice. It’s a very linear experience. It’s a good state of mind. It’s very peaceful living on the trail.”
Hall moved his business to Maryville in 2007 because, in part, he wanted to be closer to the mountains. When new owners bought the building where his salon was located in Knoxville, it forced him to consider other options. Hall opted to come to Maryville. The move was a good one for him and his family. “I had 25 employees in Knoxville and often wished it hadn’t gotten that big. This space was an opportunity to be closer to the mountains, be in a better school system for my daughter and downsize for better mental health.”
Hall said he considers himself a “smaller town kind of guy” and enjoys Maryville. “As I’ve grown older, I enjoy being in a little bit smaller town, in part because of the sense of community and actually knowing people instead of being another number on the board.”
Here is Travis Hall:
Who are you most like, your mother or your father and why?
“My mother, Jerry Eblen. We’re both stubbornly independent. My mom could run for president and win if she wanted. She does what she wants do to and won’t take ‘No’ for an answer. I lived with my mother most of my life so there is a lot of that in me, too.”
What is your favorite quote from television or a movie?
‘“Delight unto him who against the proud Gods and Commodores of this earth stands forth his own inexorable self,’ Father Maple in Moby Dick. “It’s about standing up for what you believe regardless of what influences around you dictate.”
How do you like your steak cooked?
“Medium. I’m afraid of eating it medium rare anymore.”
What are you guilty of?
“Rambling on and on and on. In a way, I talk for a living. I estimate 50,000 45 minutes conversations in my career.”
What is your favorite material possession?
“My shepherd’s crook that has hiked over 4,000 miles with me, including the entire Appalachian Trail. I’ve hiked with it for years. I’ve hiked most of the trails in the Smokies. My trail name is ‘Shepherd.’ A mentor gave it to me.”
What are you reading currently?
‘“Walking on the Wind’ by Michael Garrett. He’s a Cherokee Indian and wrote this book about Cherokee beliefs.”
Who has been the most influential person in the 20th Century?
“Bill Gates. I just think everything is inundated with the Internet nowadays, and it seems he’s done the most to propagate that. I find out everything through my computer.”
What was your most embarrassing moment?
“When I once congratulated a client I hadn’t seen in years on being pregnant. She wasn’t.”
If you only had a week to live, what would you do and why?
“Bring my whole family to a cabin in the Smokies and spend time hiking and talking with them.”
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
“I’d want to relax more. I probably worry too much about business. ”
What is your passion?
“Cutting hair. I love everything about the business, especially what I’ve been able to learn from people and share with people over the years. Haircutting is like sculpting. I consider it a craft and art form. I’ve never not looked forward to going to work in 17 years.”
With whom, living or dead, would you most like to have a long lunch?
“Vidal Sassoon because he’s a haircutter. He’s known as the great innovator of our business. I’ve met him before, twice actually. He watched me work once on stage in New York, and he signed an autograph for me. He’s a great man, very philanthropic, more than many know. He’s changed the industry more than anyone else, and I’d give anything to have lunch with him.”
If a movie were made about your life, who would play you and why?
“Johnny Depp. It would be a movie about a rebel.”
What is the best present you ever received in a box?
“A collie named Shep. I was probably about 5 years old. I got a great box with yellow polka dots on it, and this dog came out.”
What is the best advice your mother ever gave you?
“You can be anything you want to be.”
In the workplace, would you rather be powerful or popular?
“Popular. I just prefer working with people who respect me rather than fear me. That’s why I’d rather be popular than powerful.”
Who is your hero?
“My father, Jim Hall. He’s great man. He never gets burned and gives up. He keeps on giving. He’s a very giving and loving person. He’s given all the shirts off his back.”
Are you a cat person or a dog person?
“I’m a dog person currently held hostage by cats. We’ve got two cats. We did have three but now we have two. I’ve always been a dog guy, but I don’t have a dog now.”
What’s the worst job you have ever had?
“Cleaning fish in a trout and catfish farm. That was my first job.”
What is your theme song that best describes you?
‘“Father and Daughter’ by Paul Simon. That’s what I am nowadays, the father of a daughter. That’s my mission.”