I first met Michelle Meade about four years ago when she was working at Rubi Hair Windsor. My old hairdresser had recently left and I was of course devastated because we all know how hard it is to find a good hairdresser! The receptionist told me over the phone she recommended their new stylist, Michelle, and that Michelle was very good with blonde hair. Of course she has to say that to the blonde client on the phone, I thought! In the end I decided to trust her word and booked the appointment, and I’m so glad I did.
Michelle is one of those incredible people who somehow, even when I have seen her in busy and stressful situations, she is always smiling. Always making her customers feel special and important, like they’re the only person in the salon. She’s honest and passionate, and the only hairdresser I have the confidence to tell, “Just do whatever you think, I trust you”.
When Michelle opened her own salon, Rubi Hair Richmond almost two years ago I was so happy for her – even though she moved further away from my house! She’s worth the trip. I caught up with my gorgeous hairdresser recently to talk about all things hair, career and Nicole Richie inspired streaks – I must admit I am very tempted!
How did your career in hairdressing begin?
I never thought I wanted to be a hairdresser. I actually went to university and studied accounting – after deciding that accounting wasn’t for me I travelled while working in hospitality. On my return from an overseas adventure travelling through Europe I decided it was time to get focused and gain a career. Through my different experiences I knew I had to do something where I was working on my feet, making people happy and something I could put all my energy into. So moving to a new town, with no experience, a handful of resumes that had nothing to do with hairdressing and a laughable haircut I decided that I would hit the streets. Geelong has hundreds of salons and I went into all of them! Even stopping at the waterfront for a quick cry when over 50 resumes had been handed out and no one even gave me the time of day. Then I drove past one last salon. I parked in a loading zone, brushed my tears of my face and put on my game face. I knew I was a hard worker and I just wanted someone to give me a go – and they did – I started work at the salon the next day and worked there for the next 5 years – it was the best choice I have ever made – I have never looked back!
What are you most passionate about when it comes to your career and business?
My passion is in the relationships I build with both my clients and my team. As hairdressers we are lucky to be an important and trusted part of client’s life. I enjoy seeing clients go from meeting a boy, getting engaged and going on to get married. It’s a privilege to be able to be a part of the special times in a client’s life.
My team are like a family. They are working together with me every day to help me achieve my goal of have a successful salon. I work with them constantly to help them achieve their personal and professional goals. I am passionate about being able to give someone a qualification through an apprenticeship and see them achieve their goals. To see a team member achieve their goals give me great satisfaction.
What do you consider to be you biggest career achievement to date?
Opening my own salon! It has always been a dream to open my own salon and with the support and amazing opportunity from my business partner and mentor Kaye Rubi we have be able to achieve it. Rubi Hair Richmond will have been opened for 2 years in October 2014. The salon’s growth has exceeded my expectations and from starting with just 3 other staff we now have a team of 9. The salon was finalist in the Australian Hairdressing Industry Awards 2014 for Best New Australian Salon and Best Victoria Salon. Our 3rd year apprentice Sarah Haebich has just been nominated for Apprentice of the Year at Victorian University which we are all so proud of her!
You’re a very passionate and dedicated salon owner. What do you and the team pride yourselves on?
Customer service. I have always wanted to create an environment where clients are given an incredible level of care and attention in an unpretentious environment. I want clients to feel like they are in my home but are pampered to the max! Also, education and training of our staff to make sure we are at the forefront of the latest trends and able to exceed client expectations with our skills.
What is Rubi Hair Richmond’s hair specialty?
Listening. We spend a lot of time with our clients during the consultation. We even offer complementary consultations to both new and existing clients if anyone would like to just come in a have a chat.
The senior’s stylist that we have on board at Rubi Hair Richmond all come from different backgrounds. We have New Zealand, English and Australian trained stylists. We take the time when making appointments to ensure the client is booked in with the stylists most suited for their requirements. We LOVE blondes! We have also recently started stocking American Crew and are enjoying the increase in male clientele.
Personally I love doing my blonde clients. Being a die-hard blonde myself I understand the addiction we have. Blondes do have more fun!
Talk us through the hair trends will we see coming in this winter….
Blondes are playing with pastel tones strawberry, steels and lilacs inspired by the beautiful Nicole Richie.
Ombre/balayage is here to stay! We are seeing the effect being softened to more of a blended natural result.
Brunettes we are warming up with lots of auburn, coppers and golden tones.
Finally men, the most exciting! We are seeing a trend back to more barbering techniques. High fades, deep parts and more high shine finishes.