A very long time ago, i was playing with my cabbage patch doll, (they had wool for hair back then) i taught myself how to braid, from that moment i knew i wanted to be a hairdresser!
I started with work experience in a local salon for a year to make sure it was the career path i wanted to take, it didn't take me long to absolutely LOVE IT!
Apprenticeships were very few & far between & the decision was made to stay at high school to complete year 11 & 12, in amongst my subjects was a one similar to VCAL now, where i could attend one day a week to a Hairdressing School.
After i finished year 12, i moved to Bendigo to finish my hairdressing course full time.
Towards the end of completion i was lucky enough to start working at a salon in the port area in Echuca (little did i realise i would end up buying the barber shop
next door in years to come!)
I quickly realised that even tho i was classed as a qualified hairdresser,
i could see how much salon experience i lacked,
this became my mission/passion to build that bridge for myself.
My boss was an old school hairdresser, she did loads of perming (the perming queen) & tipping, therefore any other modern/fashion colour work was left to me & the other staff.
I learnt a few things here, we changed colour brands atleast 3-4 times in a matter of 3 yrs so i quickly learnt to adapt to different colour brands, which are all different, each having something unique to offer to make their brand different.
Another tip i learnt: If i ever asked my boss for help when working something out, she always said "what would you do if i wasn't here?" man i hated that lol but it was ultimately the best thing she ever said because it made me have a go, try a new colour formula, or foil pattern & grow with confidence in what i had chosen.
From memory i think we even taught her how to do foils as she hadn't done them before & she had already been hairdressing for 38-40 yrs then.
When practicing setting on a mannequin head, if we had one roller out of place or too much hair in it, we had to take them all out & start again! - we learnt quick lol!
After i soaked up as much knowledge as i could, i started working at another Echuca salon, but this whole salon environment was completely different & allowed me to see another side to hairdressing, one that i loved more, a relaxed environment, gentle music, nothing was rushed, not 'get them in, get them out' mentality which made it enjoyable & relaxing for you to be at work aswell.
I learnt many new cutting & colour techniques & about the salon experience.
Now days colour companies have a Colour Technician & they run colour education classes, seminars, workshops etc, aswell as cutting workshops with some of the industries best. But back when i first started, colour companies may have had a colour technician on staff but they didn't offer the knowledge & education on their colour brand. So you really did rely on learning from other hairdressers (so i found myself moving around alot to learn from other amazing hairdressers), or going to Melbourne to a hairdressing training academy. Thankfully, technology has made hair education is much easier to attend with alot online & more visits to country towns like Echuca, Shepparton & Bendigo.
After that i headed back to Tongala to work with Fiona (part time/casual), I remember (among loads of other things) she showed me how to break down a men's haircut that was in fashion at the time, something i obviously learnt during my course, but each haircut is different & this particular one wasn't a traditional cut. I took this learning every time a new fashion haircut was requested, men's or ladies.
I was offered full time work at a salon rochester, with a girl i trained with - it was where i found i could really put to use all of the things i had learnt, i now had lots of experience, lots with colour, i think this is where i kicked any doubt in my abilities & gained alot of confidence & really developed my own style of hairdressing.
I blossomed, grew & flourished as a senior hairdresser.
I learnt to use different cutting methods on different clients & personalise colours to suit you, so everyone walked out different, not the same.
We had a young trendy clientele so lots of fashion cutting & colour, which was great experience, it pushed me to think outside the box.
There was still no company support in the way of education then either
& had again stopped learning.
This is where i also fell in love with De Lorenzo & still use it over 10yrs later! - they even have a colour technician i can ring if i need some advice!
And the best part, it was SO MUCH EASIER to use than all the other brands i'd tried.
So i moved back to Echuca & starting working at a barber shop that i ended up buying. Men's cutting was an area i knew there was more to be learnt & wanted a change to always learning about colour & ladies cutting.
During this time i decided to do my Certificate 3 in Training
& Assessment as i'd love to teach someday.
I had an apprentice, i was so grateful for the help, she organised me,
cleaned & it was a pleasure to train her.
Fabulous clients that were happy to be involved in her learning & training.
And ofcourse i made sure the colour company i chose was De Lorenzo! I can't take all the credit as another lady who was a barber dedicated her time to come in & show my apprentice more about men's barbering than i could have ever shown her.
She was brilliant.
A year or so on, i decided to move the shop to a much more organised & private space. In between all of this i met my now husband.
After working & owning the salon for 4-5 years, the decision to sell was made.
I had a few months off & very much needed it.
During this time is where Hair By Belle Echuca was born, but since we didn't own our own home, i started Mobile Hairdressing, going to clients houses to do their hair. I did this for 4 years, in the end it was hard carting my equipment & tools in & out all day. And we were looking to buy our first home so i ended up setting up there.
During this time i worked part time in Kyabram.
So when the opportunity came up to open in Tongala, i admit i was nervous, but jumped at it to go back to my home town. I didn't do this because home wasn't going well, im really happy with how home was going, it was literally an opportunity that came up
& i thought, "why not? what have i got to lose? You only live once right? Right?"
And there might be a nagging in the back of my mind about giving it another go in a salon outside of my home.
Well done if you actually read all the way to the bottom,
Thankyou for taking the time!
I look forward to meeting all current & new clients, and pampering you in my salon.