© Tom Zappala. All rights reserved.
30 years of living and working with curls.
Quite a few times I've been asked, "When did you become a curly hair specialist?" I had to stop and think. Literally one of my very first haircuts almost 30 years ago was on the fine ringletted curly hair of a co-worker. For some reason, cutting those curls dry just seemed to make sense, so I did.
While absolutely inexperienced back then, I did keenly understand the challenges the texture presented as a direct result of my personal experience and frustrations. People were open to trusting me because I had curls and thus started the long road to proficiency that continues to this very day. Admittedly, early on I actually assumed everyone else could cut curly hair too. Little did I know that due to my own curls I was acquiring a skill set that most others lack any real understanding of. Becoming a curly hair expert takes so much more than reading a book and attending a few training sessions. It takes decades of hands on experience to be repeatedly exposed to the variance of curls and shapes in a culturally diverse international community. The journey involves constant learning, tweaking and adjusting which brings victories for both client and self.
These days new clients make their way upstairs through diligent Google research. For women with curly hair in Melbourne there are currently multiple options and that is always a good thing as there are certainly different needs related to design, finish and absolutely in environment. Often during consultation it is stated that is was the writings (or ranting) here that directly resonated with and influenced my clients in their decision. I tell them, 'Well it should, you wrote it!" My success has been due to a critical decision made long ago: I didn't allow some other hairdresser to teach or influence me. Truth is, I never liked hairdressers or the salon environment much and distinctly refused to be indoctrinated by their heavily flawed practices. Instead of taking the road most traveled I decided to do things different.
My approach was to forge a path where those who sat in my chair would have a direct influence in creating the hairdresser they wished to have. To that point, I have logged countless hours listening to what my clients have liked and disliked about my work. I have listened to the numerous (and reoccurring) frustrations women experience getting their hair cut by conventional hairdressers at conventional salons and resolved to not do those things. My entire practice, philosophical platform and this entire website is based entirely on what women have wanted in a hairdresser. It seems like a such a simple concept but the result has seen continued longevity from North America to Australia.
"Well, I've always cut curly hair". That is what I tell my clients. Success has come from having the way forward paved by the very people I have been fortunate to learn from - my clients. It's been an incredibly fulfilling journey thus far, here's to another 30 years together!