Continuing their commitment to education, Australia’s first Australians owned and manufactured natural based professional haircare brand De Lorenzo has opened a brand new hub for all things learning in Melbourne’s Mentone, writes Cameron Pine.

Creating a space that’s an extension of the instinctively welcoming De Lorenzo family, De Lorenzo are encouraging more salons to let their creative skills run wild while mastering new techniques, in a move to create a better, bigger and more accessible hub for their Victoria based salon network.

Working very closely with Michael and Vanessa Jenkins (the landlords of the space) De Lorenzo transformed the new 194 square metre studio over a period of approximately six weeks to achieve an end result that they hope all hairdressers being trained in will not only feel comfortable but also be inspired to be creative and lead the future of the industry.

Keeping various original features throughout the building including polished concrete floors with a rustic look and an old ceiling mounted hot water heater as a feature in the basin area, the refurb was very much about respecting the buildings quirky past and features as it was about creating a modern and functional space that can stand the test of time – through a design brief of simplicity and authenticity.

The space was previously an art gallery and had the perfect studio like feel De Lorenzo was looking for, but also with the added flexibility of creating various zones throughout for different styles and types of learning.

“When we started De Lorenzo in 1987 we launched with a natured based product that was unpopular and risky at the time, but now it seems to be the norm and we are very proud of what our father and family created with De Lorenzo,” said De Lorenzo Managing Director, Chris De Lorenzo.

Chris and Anthony De Lorenzo

“37 years later we are proud to be here and to invest in this new facility, it’s a bigger and better facility that we felt the Australian haircare really needs,” Chris said.

De Lorenzo Head of Sales and Education Marisa Costa opened the event by acknowledging the traditional Aboriginal land owners of where we stand today, greeting guests in true De Lorenzo style by paying respect to both past and present.“With education it’s incomplete to say that training is ever finished. Education feeds us knowledge about what’s happening around us and changes us into someone better,” Marisa said.

“We are so honoured all of you could share this special opening with us, with so many familiar faces in the room we are truly a family company,” she said.

In tune with the De Lorenzo culture of giving back to everyone in the industry and not just direct clients, the space has not just designed for hairdressers to come together but to be an extension of the brand’s culture throughout, including a floor to ceiling image of Vincent De Lorenzo himself (the brand’s founder) reinforcing the ideals that nature will always be more powerful than humans – a belief ever so pertinent still today and a legend the De Lorenzo network continues to stand by.

“The haircare industry has challenges today but creating a community and an educational facility like this in our opinion is what our industry needs to continue to overcome these challenges,” Chris said.

“We welcome Melbourne hairdressers from near and far to come and engage with us in this space. We need you and you need us and together we can overcome any of the industry’s challenges we face today,” Chris said.

Minimising the carbon footprint throughout the refit, countless existing materials used were re-purposed to be beautiful and also sustainable including art work adoring the walls by Michael Jenkins made completely from recycled material.

At the end of the process, most importantly It was crucial that the space was also functional with a large studio space, a boardroom for up to 15 people and office meeting room so that the network can educate and also be flexible to run various industry related events, industry meetings, launch new products and ASPYA events etc, also mentioning their close affinity and generosity to the Australian Hairdressing Council. All activity the brand still deem as even more important in 2020 and moving forward to ensure the survival of the hairdressing community.

Why Mentone? In a busy world and considering the De Lorenzo network reaches far beyond Melbourne’s CBD, location with ease of parking and public transport was a consideration when choosing the beachside suburb site.

“Our branding and philosophy  is featured throughout with  strong branding  visible to the industry via external signage too so we hope to make a difference to the wider community,” Marisa said.

All 120 De Lorenzo employees at their head office (if everyone turns up) Chris comedically said remains core to the brand, even after almost 4 decades the spirit of enthusiasm and positivity still remains.

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