You’ve probably never heard of Steven Blick.
The self-made salon owner doesn’t believe in branded products or photo shoots, won’t advertise and has never been to a hair show. Shying away from the industry, Steven simply wants to focus on his craft and new Northcote-based salon, which might explain why he’s evaded you until now. Let us catch you up.
Steven started hairdressing in Belfast, Northern Ireland, the thick accent of which he still retains. He then worked in London where he owned his first salon in Shoreditch, moved to Hong Kong for a couple of years before eventually settling in Melbourne. He recently let go of his Collins Street salon (a converted medical suite) to focus on his Northcote establishment, hérrBLICK, barely a year old.
But for all his hairdressing achievements, we stumbled upon Steven in an interior design publication, through a feature that focused on his house – a renovated 19th century church. If this fact surprises you, we haven’t done a strong enough job in conveying to you who Steven is.
“We’ve really curated it a bit with Danish furniture and some nice antiques, it’s quite a mix of stuff that’s in there,” Steven describes when the conversation inevitably turns to the church he calls home. “We’ve got an original pew from a 19th century house, we’ve also got a very interesting 1800s room divider which is made of leather, it looks like something off Game Of Thrones. There’s lots of 1960s and 70s glass bottles all over the place and a little bit of taxidermy here and there. It’s pretty eclectic.”
It’s fair to say that’s an understatement, but if you think Steven’s eye for interiors stops at his unorthodox home, you’d be wrong. His Northcote salon, with an almost clinical, austere aesthetic based on Japanese and Scandinavian design elements, is similarly unique.
“The space that I took over was basically a crack den,” he shares. “It was an absolute mess, so I completely gutted it.” After painting the walls and polishing the concrete floors, Steven filled the 150 square metre space with a French couture blind for the reception area, hand-punched with 30 000 holes, a wood burner and vintage Japanese basins and dental chairs – the origin story of which Steven should really describe for himself.
“I went down the path of getting these Japanese wash basins which are 100 per cent automated. They are the best wash basins that money can buy, this company has been making dental and haircare equipment since the 1800s in Japan,” he says. “I was lucky enough to find a dentist in Melbourne who died and I bought all these old chairs from the early 70s off them, which were made by the same company that made the basins.”
Another original feature is the separate styling booths, delineated by shipping container-style walls and inspired by Steven’s previous city space – with the medical suite layout, each stylist had their own room – and an ethos Steven holds dear. “This way, when you get your hair done you’re not seeing what’s going on next door to you and you’re not listening to what the other person’s saying, that, for me, was a real big issue,” he shares.
This thoughtfulness towards his clients is paramount to hérrBLICK. However, you’re probably wondering, if you haven’t heard of Steven, how do clients find him?
“I don’t advertise,” Steven says. “So if a new client comes in they might have seen it online but nine times out of ten it’s someone who’s been stopped in the supermarket and asked ‘I love your hair, where do you get it done?’ or it’s word of mouth.”
This means client satisfaction is also his one and only marketing tool, and he’s created a niche for himself with his highly personalised service, sharp men’s cuts and short Mia Farrow-style female looks. When asked what kind of client base this produces he laughs, “All sorts, I always say ‘politicians to prostitutes’. I’ve got a real wide range!”
If you’ve heard one thing about Steven it may be his new enterprise, a unique trek he took called Outback and Sides – 15000 kilometres, 6 weeks, one scissor, one comb and a camera, showing Steven the Australian Outback like few have seen it before. This original take on hairdressing, regional Australia and the inimitable relationship between stylist and client has production companies interested in further developing the idea.
Steven sums it up in a way that defines that journey, his salon and his career as a whole. “I always believe when you’re cutting someone’s hair, it’s an exchange, you’re exchanging ideas, you’re exchanging thoughts, you’re talking to somebody more than you would normally do in any other situation,” he says.
“When you go to your supermarket you hardly talk to the lady at the checkout, when you go to the dentist he’s got his hands in your mouth, so you can’t really speak,” he continues. “There’s no one else you really talk to as much as a hairdresser. I think that’s the reason I’m still hairdressing after nearly 30 years, because I find that every day I communicate with people on a level that I might not necessarily get in a bar.”
These notions remain universal to our industry – whether in salon or cutting hair on the outback road.
For more information visit www.herrblick.com.au or find @herrblick on Instagram
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