When and why did you launch your salon?
14/8/12. After being based in Auckland’s CBD for the first 11 years of my career, I wanted to create a nurturing, real space. For clients in a fast-paced world, it’s nice to be able to provide a getaway where the focus is on them. For my team, I love to be part of growing their goals, tools, and confidence and only wish to be part of the chapter of their career stories.
Assisting my salon by using boutique brands has been a rock for many of the decisions we make at Common Thread. The most important decisions we’ve made are based around our wellbeing as hairdressers. Unfortunately, a close family member has suffered through ill health for the past ten years, so I made a conscious decision that I didn’t want to work with anything that would put my clients, staff and own health at risk.
Being able to make choices that are progressive and conscious is the primary drive behind launching Common Thread.
Describe Common Thread in 10 words or less.
Thoughtful, escape, inviting, talented, fresh, upcycled, restorative, progressive, conscious, sassy.
Name three key muses/inspirations.
1. Good friend and past colleague Jason Chong Li – I have watched Jase grow to the amazing hair ninja he is today. He is by far the most driven and hard working hairdresser I know. Everything Jase has achieved is 100% him – he knows who he is, what he wants and he will do whatever it takes to fulfil it!
2. Start with Why author Simon Sinek – Every time I get a bit foggy with why and what I’m doing I come back to this book. It inspires me by challenging my thought process and is the driving force behind not becoming a robot overwhelmed by the daily grind.
3. Loyal client and ex-chief executive of Mental Health Foundation Judi Clements – I’ve been fortunate enough to be Judi’s hair artist for the best part of ten years now. I say ‘artist’ because that’s what she allows me to be. Judi is one of the biggest inspirations to me because she is living proof of being true to yourself, disregarding criticism and actions life hurdles as just a slight detour.
Your favourite quote?
“It is not the length of life, but the depth.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
What’s your favourite product and why?
Olaplex – I love how it maintains the hair’s integrity and allows us as colourists to achieve greater looks for our clients.
A close second would be R+Co AIRCRAFT – best styling product EVER!! I love how it can change the most conservative do into Ms. Sassy Pants.
What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned as a hairdresser/salon owner?
Be present, don’t take things personally and only react when you’re calm.
Describe your approach to hair in 10 words or less.
Intuitive, control, ageless, diverse, spontaneous, artist, confident, daring and professional.
What’s your greatest dream as a salon owner/stylist?
Continue to contribute to the more talented next generation of hairdressers. We spend the first years of our career trying to master the technical aspect of hairdressing and learn the rest by osmosis.
I’d love to educate our up-and-comings into being masters of communication, adding value and running their own business within a business.
As day-to-day hairdressers we wear a lot of hats, and if we had all the right tools from the beginning then we would be able to offer our clients so much more than just a hair style.
We’ve heard you personally no longer take on new clients, why is this?
There’re many reasons. I made this decision a couple of years ago, after quickly establishing my clientele after opening the salon. It’s mostly around working on the business not just in the business, and being open and honest about being human and not being able to do everything without compromising my own, my clients and team’s expectations.
It’s important to me, my clients and team that I stay progressive and creatively inspired. And slogging away for twelve hours a day, doing back to back clients with no room for adjustment or error doesn’t leave much room to nourish one’s creative soul.
Out of respect for my clients, being so heavily booked they can’t reschedule their appointment without waiting for another two months is just absurd and frustrating for both of us – and trust me, unlike other hairdressers I’ve come across in the past, it does nothing for my ego.
It’s why I spend a lot of time with my team and why we are so focused on education at Common Thread. My team are incredibly talented and driven for the right reasons. We all work in close collaboration with each other and our clients, and it’s important that we all are available to add original opinion where our clients need it.