Famous salon Convict Cutters, a name that pays artistic homage to its Tasmanian locale, is celebrating 30 years in the industry this month. In its 30 years of operation, the salon has become one of Launceston’s most awarded and well-known spaces, after being founded by Rob Matthews in 1991.

“I’m so proud of Convict Cutters and where we started. Opening in the midst of a recession was my biggest milestone. I was committed to something that everyone said would fail. I saw the opportunity and I followed my dad’s words of advice and encouragement and I gave it a go,” Rob said.

“Our vision statement was set at the very beginning. It was to establish Convict Cutters in Australian Hairdressing and to build a great reputation for quality service and innovation among clients and other hairdressers. We strive to always be one step ahead of our competitors with better education and working standards for our staff. This is something I firmly believe in.”

In those 30 years there have been a myriad of milestones, as Rob undertook the role of Goldwell Guest Artist for 15 years and with awards including Australian Hair Fashion Awards (AHFA) Tasmanian Hairdresser of the Year, and placing top 10 in the Australian Hair Expo Awards for Hairdresser of the Year. The team also won International Hair Stylists Society Australia (HIS) Salon Team of the Year. Staying agile and able to adapt and evolve has meant continued success for the salon.

“Running a salon for 30 years, you experience continual change, such as the ebb and flow of society and how each generation creates new questions and seeks new answers,” Rob said. “I think adapting to change and having the flexibility to assess each situation is key to any success in life. Life is going to throw things at you. How you respond determines whether you thrive or fail. The last 18 months is the perfect example. With the pandemic, we’ve experienced a lot of change and I think I’ve developed as a person from the experience.”

Education is another core facet of the salon, and Rob has always been passionate about mentoring emerging talent. Convict Cutters co-owner Georgina Limb started out on the salon floor 20 years ago as an Apprentice, progressing to Art Director, Salon Manager and finally to business partner, showcasing the power of mentorship through the business.

“At Convict Cutters we put a lot of time into our apprentices’ education,” Rob said, attributing 30 years of success to this training. “I train my own apprentices every Tuesday in the salon. This way we can streamline good understanding of colour, cutting and styling from the outset. Each week we have question and theory time followed by models. We encourage questions all day, every day and we encourage open communication within the salon. This leads to the best outcomes for our clients, walking out with amazing hair.”

This evolution has created the ideal partnership with Georgina, which only progresses the salon further.

“There will always challenges in business and in life, which is something we know all too well at the moment, but in times of uncertainty, change or transition, we keep each other sane and we tackle the issues together,” Georgina said. “We also bring different passions and skillsets to our partnership. It’s always a collaboration in our working relationship, with mutual respect for the roles we each perform.”

A vital aspect of the business has been its 30 year affiliation as a Kao Salon Partner, which has been essential for creative inspiration, business support and education resources.

“The Kao Salon Division is so proud of Rob’s commitment and success in the industry, including his years as a Goldwell Guest Artist. We’re thrilled to celebrate 30 years and look forward to supporting Convict Cutters as the business continues to grow and evolve,” said Rita Marcon, General Manager Kao Salon Division ANZ.

“The support from the Kao Salon Division and the access to colour technicians and product education has helped me set and maintain exceptional standards for the salon. I also loved my time as a Goldwell Guest Artist for 15 years, the cut and colour workshops and Look and Learn demonstrations was hugely rewarding and pivotal for my development and career,” Rob added.

Catapulting into their fourth decade, the future remains bright for Convict Cutters, and Georgina and Rob make an unstoppable team and look ahead to more milestones to come.

“Convict Cutters feels like it’s at the beginning once again. We’re invigorated by our past success and we’re open to the opportunities that the future holds,” Rob said. “We’re especially focussed on training up our young staff members and getting them ready to be the next wave of Senior Stylists on the salon floor. We keep our team busy and are always encouraging staff to be the best they can be. This will give strength to the entire salon team and fosters a really positive learning environment.”

“I believe we should be grateful that we have the opportunity to get out there and do great work every day. By celebrating that, the success and the money will come naturally. This also creates a great work environment for our staff.”

For more information visit www.convictcutters.com.au