It was at Hair Expo in June 2017. As usual, I was invited to The Top Salon Summit; a regular event held on the Saturday afternoon to kick off Hair Expo. The who's who of the Australian hair industry gather together to talk shop and indulge in fine wine and food. There was a speaker whom I can't remember their name. This is not as important as the message that he gave to the room. He said, "Here you all are, the cream of the crop, the best in the hairdressing industry of Australia, but what is it that sets you apart from each other?" Upon reflection the next morning (with a huge hangover), I pondered this. It's not something that I hadn't thought about before, as it's marketing 101. As a business owner, you are always thinking about your unique selling proposition. But now, after 35years within the hairdressing industry, what was mine? It had been 25 years since I had worked in London and New York, I was no longer invited to style hair at fashion week, I didn't do hair for fashion magazines anymore, I wasn't doing platform work for haircare companies, and to top it off I had sold my iconic hair salon in the centre of Adelaide and had a small salon in Mclaren Vale. I was relying on my past reputation and, of course, great hairdressing skills.
Later that afternoon, I attended a Trichology seminar held by Simone Lee, Simone Abaron and Activance's Arthur Chan. During those 2 hours, it hit me; this is what I want to do. I had always had a special interest in hair science, and listening to these 3 inspirational people help me realise that this was the path that I was going to take. Following that session was the launch party for Activance Professional; I stayed and had a drink (hair of the dog) with the trichologists of Australia.
In the following days, I researched the best and most credible places to study Trichology around the world and found the World Trichology Society in the USA. I studied online a full Trichology Certification with WTS at my own pace over a few years. It was hard working full time, being a single mother with little support and studying again after 30 years. It was February 2020; I was planning on travelling to NYC to do my final week of certification in October of that year, then Covid hit. My tidy little plan did not eventuate; I went into survival mode and did what I could to keep my tiny salon open. My new plan was to have my 2 full time staff working in the salon whilst I worked on the online store and studied at home slotting in a few favourite clients for haircuts in between. Who knows when I could travel to NYC to complete my certification?
In August that year, my 2 staff decided to move on within a week of each other. Both for different reasons, but it still hurt. The positive was that I could now spend more time in the salon myself. A week later, the café next door, whom I had a sublease with, decided to also move on. I was now stuck with no lease and no staff. Could things get any worse? It was the opposite in fact. I was able to negotiate a lease directly with the landlord and triple my salon floor space. I could now fit in a trichology consultation room and base the salon around the basin area. This made sense because as a trichologist, I wanted to offer a selection of hair and scalp treatments to help their concerns.
Moving forward from there, I renovated the salon whilst trading through Christmas and completing my trichology study. My final week and exam for Trichology was the last week of January 2021. This was a new experience as I had to join the rest of the class online in NYC time, this meant that my day started at 12.30am and finished at 6.30am. I topped the class with 100% for my final exam and won the Yvonne Kingsley Memorial Prize. In fact, I was told that no one in the history of the course had ever scored 100%. I was astounded as I was planning to cram as much revision as possible before the nightmare week of overnight classes, but I didn't get a chance as I was exhausted from the Christmas trade and salon renovations. I put the top mark down to the 35years of experience with hair and seeing most of the hair and scalp disorders on clients over those years, but not actually knowing what I was looking at.
Here I sit now, a team of 5, including myself, with a full renovated salon based around hair and scalp treatments and giving people the best hair possible. I have developed several hair and scalp treatments and purchased different types of equipment to assist with this. The great thing about evolving the salon into a hair and scalp spa is that the team automatically can do scalp spa services no matter what level they are at. Meaning that I can get the apprentices to perform the treatments on my existing clientele; this is awesome because they are earning $$$ for the salon.
The advanced treatment that I developed and perform directly myself is the Japanese Scalp Spa experience using Activance Professional. It is targeted at people who suffer from genetic hair loss. After consultation, the treatment starts at the basin with an invigorating wash with the right choice of Purify Shampoo x 2. I then use the hydrabrasion machine to gently pass over the affected areas. This thoroughly cleanses the follicle and removes any dead skin left on the scalp. Hydrabrasion uses a water jet and suction method, it's amazing to compare the unused water chamber with the effluent chamber afterwards. I then follow with the Purify conditioner before taking the client back to the mirror. This is where I spray the Densify solution of choice. I then infuse the Densify deep into the follicle with the galvanic machine using ionophoresis. The galvanic machine has been used in facials since the 1950s; it uses a mild electrical current to pull product or push out sebum depending on the positive or negative polarity that you choose. It does require quite a bit of knowledge as there are some important contraindications to be aware of. Therefore, I'm the only person who conducts this in-salon treatment. I then finish this treatment with a booster of Alleviate or Vitalise if required before styling the hair no hair styling product, just to keep things pure.
But the question is, why did I choose Activance as a product range for my trichology clinic and scalp spa?
I was impressed after listening to Arthur Chan talk at the hair expo seminar. His knowledge and attitude towards natural pure ingredients and balancing the skins natural biome is my choice of first line treatment. During trichology consultations I have discovered that quite often my clients have already been to medical professionals and have been reluctant to continue oral or topical medical solutions for many different reasons. Having the option to provide a natural approach to people hair and scalp concerns is a no brainer. Clients are happy to take home a treatment plan immediately and are thrilled when they see results in a short time frame, even if it's just an improvement in the hairs condition (for hair density, it's more like 3-6 months to see results). Or, if they are still using their medically prescribed medication, they will still benefit from the addition of Activance to their protocol.