Tom Zappala Haircutting Curly Hair Specialist


August 2021 | I am a cutting specialist. Success in this particular endeavour leans heavily on a conscious decision to continually hone the skills that my career relies on. That said, the needs of the community I work in readily influence the focus and service offering. Currently, my practice best supports individuals with challenging hair textures who prefer a natural, low-fuss and low up-keep lifestyle. I find that this offers a much-needed alternative for people whom the conventional salon industry does not readily support.

While curly hair currently makes up at least 75% of my clients, the remaining 25% comprise the other challenging hair types and situations. Of that 25%, a significant number of these individuals have fine or thin hair. Like curls, people with fine hair also struggle with blunt wet cuts that resolve in flat, shapeless styles that are often frustrating and grow out poorly. Cutting fine hair dry is paramount to rectify this. All of this contributes to the many reasons why I call myself a cutting specialist and not just a curly hair specialist. A cutting specialist with a culturally diverse clientele needs to be able to cut all hair types well. That has been part of my career focus for decades.

When it comes to challenging hair types, individuals with curly hair in Australia have significant and specific challenges finding a suitable professional. Once I learned this was overwhelmingly the situation, I decided to promote myself as a curly hair specialist to ensure clients feel safe, listened to and supported. Interestingly, numerous clients from Italy, Spain and various South American countries have told me the following.

"Back home, I never needed to go see a curly hair specialist. I just went to someone who knew how to cut hair well."

Exactly! Turn’s out I have those old-school, old-world skills that were once much more commonplace. So how and why did I turn out differently? Simple. I avoided the flawed education and indoctrination the hairdressing industry provides. Next, I chose a different career trajectory. From the beginning, I decided not to work at a conservative high-end salon in a wealthy suburb. Instead, I worked in a diverse, multicultural setting. By doing so, I had no choice but to be proficient at cutting hair well for everyone equally. As a result, I never became someone who automatically straightens every client with a flat iron.

Am I grateful that I put my hand up as a curly hair specialist here in Australia? Absolutely. It has helped further refine my skills while having an incredibly positive impact on my service offering. Overall, I get equal enjoyment working on any texture that the client has struggled with at conventional hair salons. Seeing and experiencing their happiness is everything about why I love my job. Many people make the mistake of thinking I’m really into hair, and that’s why I’m successful. It’s not. The truth is, I’m into making people happy. That is why I do this. Cutting hair is just the vehicle that gets us there.

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