Tending to ones hair is something most people have to do at some stage of their adult life. For certain individuals, this can be an arduous endeavour for a multitude of reasons. Whether the challenge is social anxiety, a generalised disorder or simply a disdain for the conventional salon environment, avoiding the hairdresser is not uncommon...even for years at a time. Tom's studio in Melbourne is designed to be supportive of this - for both clients and himself.
Tom has a long history of living with (and largely managing) anxiety and depression as co-morbid conditions of ASD. His space was specifically created to support his need to function at a high personal and professional level. Unsurprisingly, it too has served as a safe space for similarly wired individuals over the years.
Aesthetically it is more lounge room than hair salon. The lighting is warm and soothing. Bookings are exclusively one on one. There are no apprentices, no vacuous conversations and no up-selling. In fact, no selling of products at all! While the idea of a 1:1 haircut may seem stressful or intense, Tom is keenly aware of such and can tailor each session to meet the needs of the individual on the day.
The playlist is pedantically compiled to be non aggressive nor energetically frantic. Maintaining a consistent controlled energy is key here. As Tom is hypersensitive to fragrances, there are no chemicals in the space and the minimal amount products which are utilised are essential oil based. They are from Aveda and Pure Elements. Clients must refrain from wearing perfume so as to not leave behind a lingering presence.
As stated above, bookings can be tailored to meet an individuals needs on the day. Some clients for example, do no like their hair washed. Others do not like a blow dryer any where near them. Tom communicates with each person to make sure their experience is as pleasant, calm and positive as possible.
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