© Tom Zappala | All rights reserved | License Number 286247 | ABN 27 306 081 547
Quite a few times I've been asked, "When did you become a curly hair specialist?" I had to stop and think. Well, I don't think that I am. I'm a cutting specialist who focuses on challenging textures of hair. Does that make me a curl specialist? For some, I suppose so. That said, literally one of my very first haircuts back over 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 myself and thus started the long road to proficiency that continues to this very day.
Admittedly, early on I actually assumed everyone else could cut challenging hair types too. Little did I know that due to my own curls I was acquiring a skill set that others seem to lack an understanding of. Becoming a cutting specialist takes decades of hands-on experience to be repeatedly exposed to the variance of textures 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 individuals with challenging 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 the environment. Often during a 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 travelled I decided to do things differently.
My approach was to forge a path where those who sat in my chair would have a direct influence in creating the professional 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 people experience getting their hair cut by hairdressers at conventional salons and resolved to not do those things. My entire practice is the constructed manifestation of what my clients have wanted from the person tasked with the responsibility of cutting their hair. It seems like 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!