© Tom Zappala | All rights reserved | License Number 286247 | ABN 27 306 081 547
I am a cutting specialist. Throughout my career, success has relied heavily on a constant and significant evolution of the tangible skill set which my career relies on. This ongoing refinement has always been paired with a focus which is readily influenced by the area, city and country I am working in. Currently, my practice is aligned with and best suited for women with challenging hair types (or situations) who live with their hair in a natural, low-fuss and low up-keep manner. This is a deliberate directive which aims to present a needed alternative for individuals for whom the conventional salon industry does not readily support.
Many people are likely aware -- and certainly a large percentage of those reading this very post -- that curly and or thicker textures of hair are challenging to live with and apparently, ever more difficult to cut well. Did you know however that from this side of the scissors, fine and or thin straight hair is MUCH more difficult to cut well? It's true. Unlike curly hair, fine hair is infinitely less forgiving and requires such finesse and control with the scissors. As one who likes challenging situations, it's why I have such an affinity for working with it. Too, when the concerns are resolved a client is rapt!
While curly hair currently makes up about 60% of my clients, the other 40% are the various other challenging hair types and personal situations. Of that 40%, a number of them are individuals with fine or thin hair. Like curls, women with fine hair also struggle with blunt wet cuts which resolve in flat, shapeless styles that are often frustrating and grow out poorly. Cutting fine hair dry is paramount to resolving this. All of this contributes to the many reasons why I call myself a cutting specialist and NOT just a curl specialist. An experienced and thoroughly pedantic cutting specialist with an ethnically diverse client list needs to be able to cut ALL hair types well. Too, being proficient and 'fluent' in many different textures of hair provides an opportunity for the development of skills which are often a crossover benefit to all the various situations which one is exposed to in a diverse practice.
Now, when it comes to challenging hair types individuals with curly hair definitely have significant and specific traumas. Once I learned this was the overwhelming case here in this country, I decided to promote myself as a 'curl specialist' to ensure women would feel safe, listened to and supported. Truth be told though, I had always worked with and supported curls and didn't know most other professionals in this county did not. To me, working with curls in a supportive manner was an essential part of a well-rounded career and something I had an interest in developing since day one. Interestingly the following has been regularly stated by numerous clients from Italy, Spain and numerous South American countries, "Back home I never needed to see a curl specialist, I just went to someone who knew how to cut hair well." Exactly. Turn's out I apparently have those old-school, old-world skills which once were much more commonplace. Putting my hand up as curl supportive in Australia was necessary and I'm so very glad I did. As mentioned above, it did feel strange though because I thought that anyone who cuts hair professionally SHOULD be curl supportive and was surprised to learn this is not the case here. Guess this is what happens when you work alone for a long time.
As a professional who didn't choose to work in a predominately Caucasian focused, upper-middle-class high-end salon, I was exposed to the beautiful variety that is humanity. Perhaps I was just fortunate or intuitive in this way, but I always wanted to work in culturally and ethnically diverse cities. Consequently, I had no choice but to be proficient at cutting hair for everyone and everything equally. There was no 'default' straighten everyone mindset which apparently is the standard many people have experienced. By virtue of my career decisions, it turns out I was unknowingly developing a 'unique' skill set. Who knew I would turn out to be the weird one? Apparently lots of people, but that's another story no doubt. Eight years later, am I glad I put my hand up as a curl specialist in Australia? Absolutely! I've learned so much from the experience and it continues to have an incredibly positive impact on many facets of my career and service offering. In that way, practice makes perfect doesn't it? Overall, I get equal enjoyment working on any texture of hair for any individual who has struggled with going to a conventional salon. Seeing their happiness is everything about why I love my job. There is still about 30 years left of this journey and there's still so much to learn, conversations to have and relationships to develop. Game on!