Lesley shares her experiences learned over 30 years in the industry

Senior stylist Lesley Nelson talks about common client concerns she has come across in the past and currently.

Stylist Lesley Nelson Common Thread Hair Salon Pukekohe

In my 30years of being a hair stylist I’ve seen many things come and go – and I have to say I’m pleased that some looks have been locked up and hope someone has thrown away the key.

Current concern that I’m experiencing with my new clients I’m happy to be able to help with is harsh, dense, unnatural looking colours which are either the result of the old colour build up or bad colour choice.  They may have tried to soften their look in the past with a previous hairdresser and have been disappointed with the result when to their horror they have contrasting stripes, brassy tones, and left with their hair in over processed poor condition.  To top it off they feel uninformed with what happened’s next and quite often jump from hairdresser to hairdresser seeking someone who can give them a plan of attack.  I love sitting down with my clients and talking them through not only today’s process to achieve their new doo, but also what is going to happen in the future appointments to get to the final “bigger picture”.  I prefer my colours to be soft in dimension and tone and be suitable to the personality of my client that’s in front of me.  Don’t get me wrong I like bright, striking colours too, just when they are tactfully applied and don’t look like you’ve been in a paintball fight!

Lesley Nelson Common Thread Hair Salon PukekoheComment’s I’ve come across when talking about a new shape for a haircut with new clients is that they want something that they to can achieve when they’re at home.  It’s also important to them that it’s age appropriate while still being unique to them – they don’t want to look like a clone of their friends or look like they have pulled an image off googles “best haircuts for over 60-year-olds”.  I enjoy shapes that have some texture and softness at the moment, and I’m encouraging a more mature woman to try wearing their hair with a bit more length, so it has body, swings and looks natural – who said because you’re over a certain age that you have to cut your hair off.  Bottom line, if my client – whoever she is, walks out feeling confident, beautiful and even a bit sassy, I’m happy.

Lesley Nelson Common Thread Hair Salon Pukekohe

Something else that I’m now aware of, shall I say “after maturing in the industry” is the stories that we as women tell ourselves.  A hair salon can be an intimidating place for clients to come into – all those beautiful people who are so fashionable and all!  Insecurities that plague as like “Her hair looks so lovely – but mine will never look like that”.  “Wow that’s beautiful – but I’d never be brave enough to have that myself.”  Or, “I loved the change we did the same, but my husband hated it so I’ll go back to what I used to have”.  Shared sacrifices we as a woman make such as, feeling sorry about spending money or time on our selfs and trying to please everyone else by being pulled and pushed by what everyone else wants you to do, rather than honouring what makes you feel incredible, sexy and confident.  I like to share experiences that I’ve had and have common ground with my clients.  Empowering my customers who seem unconfident by getting them to try subtle changes with their hair.  It’s amazing how the slightest adjustment can lift her head up, stand tall and be ready to take the compliments on how fresh she’s looking.

Finalists for Team of the Year Industry Awards – oh yessss!

Hair done… Check. Face on… Check. Glad rag’s on… Check. And we’re off to the 2016 Industry Awards night that was held last night at the Studio on K-Road.

Enter the room into a sea of hairdressers all looking fabulous and predominantly wearing black. Wine glasses are clinking, hugs and smiles shared as we reunite with fellow hair crafters.

The night kicks off with short show’s by New Zealand and International industry leaders to inspire our creative minds.

Finally, the moment of all of us has been waiting for. Who will be the winners?

Unfortunately, it wasn’t our time last night – the award went to Three Hairdressing from Whangarei. However being named one of five finalists in the Team of the Year category is incredibly exciting and humbling.

Competition aside, I am extremely grateful to work and create alongside my talented crew. Seeing what we can create not only on camera but every day on our beautiful clients is winning to me.

Behold our “New Grunge” inpired collection.

xo Tracy


Special thanks to everyone who was involved in the shoot:

Karen Ishiguro – Photographer, Ben Loirs Blair – Video, Gee Pikinga – Makeup, Amita Kala – Stylist, Models Rani, Shayna, Elliot, Megan, Grace and Brooke.

AND… here’s  a sneek peak of behind the scenes at the shoot.

Word’s from our newest stylist Kirsty Hedley…

 What do you love about being a hair stylist?

The thing I love most about the industry is how you can make someone feel.   How they put all trust in you to do something on them and the confidence that comes from that.  I’ll always continue to further myself in gaining new skills and knowledge that will help me to achieve my clients dream hair.

What’s the most frequent problem that your clients come to you with?

I find that a lot of my client’s struggle with finding time for themselves.  They’re busy with their lives, careers, and families and don’t have a lot of time in the morning to spend hours preening themselves.   However, it’s still important to them that they are presented nicely, both for themselves and how they like to appear.  I strive to give my clients achievable looks.

Common Thread is a sustainably focused salon… So what does sustainability mean to you?

In the world full of people who rapidly want more from the world, I honestly believe we need to slow down, make conscious decisions and give back to what we have taken from.

You specialise in Indian Head Massage… What is it and why do you enjoy doing it?

Indian head massage is a traditional massage that’s been practiced in India for over 4000 years.  It’s now been tailored and continually developed to suit our modern lifestyle.  There are many benefits from IHM.  It’s used for relaxation, relief from headaches, improved concentration, and circulation.  What I love about IHM is the time you have prioritized for yourself, to feel time slowing down – even if it is just for a moment.

You’ve just directed your first collection….. Tell us about your photo shoot.

The concept behind my collection was to show strength.  How a simplistic, beautiful and strong women can be.  This was my first collection, so I’m proud of what I’ve achieved.  When it comes to my next collection, I’m going to portray and even stronger more editorial look.


World Wide Hair Tour – LA Style

I’ve just got back from a very quick four day’s in LA and let me tell you; I’m all juiced up and even more connected to why I do what I do.

I was one of the three lucky salon owners selected by our favourite brands distributor Boutique Brands to attend Davines World Wide Hair Tour – Hollywood style.  LA marked the 10th year for WWHT, held at the beautiful Orpheum Theatre.

Orpheum Theatre

Davines holds WWHT every year in a different city around the world; LA marked the 10th year.  Last year, in London, our very own Keegan Nelson took out Best Colour on stage as one of ten stylists selected from around the globe.  However, unlike Keegan, who experienced wave’s of anxiety during the competition, I got to sit leisurely in the audience and be wowed by the talet, craft, messages and community on show.

I have to say, this is the most emotional hairdressing event I have ever been too.  Our industry is not known for collaboration, so it was so refreshing to be part of a gathering of like-minded artists, business owners and game changers.

The opening piece was a moving act by Aldo Signoretti – Italian born makeup artist and hair designer who has been nominated three times for the Academy Award for makeup for his work on Moulin Rouge.  Inspired by 1996 Romeo & Juliet (which happens to be my favourite movie!), Aldo and his model played out a captivating piece which involved him transforming her with a beautiful wig.  Simple and graceful – a sheer contrast to the usual which is typically watching crazy colours and over exaggerated lengths being chopped into the poor models hair by an egotistical hairdresser.

Davines is the world most sustainably concious beauty brand in the world, and their message weaved loud and clear throughout the event.  Beauty shines from within.  Founder Davide Bollati acknowledged the next generation in the I Sustain Beauty evolution.  These special people, just to name a few – Mara Galeazzi, dancer from London’s Royal Ballet contributes by helping children in Africa through Dancing for the Children.  Belgin Aksoy dreamed of spreading wellness around the world, so she founded Global Wellness Day and on June 11, 2016, 73 countries will embrace this change.  Salvatore Qiaguinta bridged the gap between beauty and poverty when he opened Without Boundaries Beauty School in Lima, Peru.  A beautiful quote that I noted and would love to share is, “If you feel beauty in yourself, you can see beauty in others”.

The original show stopper for me was Davines Creative Director, Angelo Seminara – who has received the honourable award of British hairdresser of the year 2007, 2010 and 2012.  He launched his Davines hair care line (called Your Hair Assistant) at the event, which again, in true Davines form had a beautiful story attached.  Growing up, Angelo had a friend called Francesco.  Their widowed mother raised Francesco and his siblings; his oldest brother had to work to provide for the family.  Tragically he was killed in a motorcycle accident, so at the age of 12 Francesco had to go to work with a cabinet maker.  Angelo always admired how the dry sawdust created texture in his friends hair – thus using this for inspiration for creating one of the products in his range.  A further twist Davines, line release, was without the knowledge of Angelo, they had tracked down Francesco (who spoke not a word of English, had never had a passport and only received it two days before the event). Brought him to LA and as the curtains pulled back revealed a reunion of old friendship.  There was not a dry eye in the theatre.

Aside from the soul of Angelo, I honestly could watch him create with hair all day.  He was calm and collected on stage and joked with the audience like old friends.  His approach to hairdressing is an actual art form.  A quote from him that has resinated with me is, “When you are doing hair, you have to feel it – it’s not just technique.”  I could go on all day about him, but then I’d have nothing to share with you in the salon.

All in all, the experiences I had in LA, with Davines, Boutique Brands and team NZ have been truly memorable.  I’ve learnt new skills and attitudes which I can’t wait to contribute to our industry and inspire my team and clients at Common Thread.

WWHT - LA 2016

Team NZ on the red carpet at the Avalon Club in Hollywood

(left to right: Raoul Roberts from Rococo, Ryland Wood from Boutique Brands, Lou Berlim from Ripe, Tracy Roberts from Common Thread and Becky Roberts from Boutique Brands)