Hoopla Salon enjoyed a stellar 2016 and was the deserving winner of the De Lorenzo Salon of the Year. We caught up with owner and operator Tynne Saunders to chat about her successful rise through the industry, and to find out more about the buzzworthy Melbourne salon. One thing is for certain: 2017 is set to be a big one for Tynne and the team at Hoopla, writes Tam Allenby.
On bustling Sydney Road in Brunswick, wedged between cafes, pubs, restaurants and op-shops, sits one of Australia’s up-and-coming salons. Taking home the top honour at the De Lorenzo ASPYA Awards on the Gold Coast last year was a significant milestone and achievement for the team at Hoopla– especially when you consider that they only opened in 2012.
It’s the shared aspect of the award that Tynne is especially proud of. “We worked really hard on our submission and had our fingers crossed… it was definitely a team effort,” she says. “I worked on it mainly with our coordinator Kara, and my husband is a designer so he did the ‘look’ which was nice — but all the actual content you get from your team because they’re the ones on the ground doing all the work!”
It is also the product of a long and dedicated journey for Tynne that started in a busy local salon in her hometown of Ballarat in regional Victoria. “It was called Exterior Motive. It was a salon in a country town, but it was amazing,” she reflects. “We had a team of 20 and we used to do a lot of shows, and we did a lot of HBIA competitions and used to win a lot of awards and just come up from the country and slam everyone, it was really fun.”
Later on, Tynne moved to Melbourne, and started teaching at the Headmasters Academy, before spending some time in London, where she continued teaching and “working in a cool little salon in Shoreditch” in the East End. Soon enough, she returned home to Australia and opened Hoopla. Her reflections on this period will ring true with anyone who has taken the plunge and opened a place of their own.
“I’d been educating for about four years before opening the salon so I didn’t actually have a clientele… so I basically opened the salon without any staff and without any clients. It was pretty hard,” she says. “I did everything. I was on the floor full-time and doing all my own books, and marketing. I did absolutely everything because there was obviously no-one else to do it.”
Her hard work paid off, and now Hoopla has a dedicated staff of twelve. In addition to the Salon of the Year Award, Tynne was also the 2015 winner of the De Lorenzo Nova Colourist, but since falling pregnant with a now seven-month old baby, spends most of her time these days training the team as part of the ‘Hooplets’ program.
“Any time we have a new senior join us, we completely train them. It usually takes about a month to teach them the way we do things at the salon… we’ll do a full cutting program, full colour program, we go heavily into consultation. We cover how to handle different types of clients, what to do in the case of a client complaint – every single way that you could look at it.
“We also go through our procedures, down to how we gown them, head massage, how we greet them, making tea and coffee. By the end, we say they’re Hooplafied!”
This attention to detail has resulted in a loyal clientele. And as per the area, Hoopla attracts some youthful and ‘out there’ customers. “They’re outrageous,” Tynne laughs. “Our clients are always up for a change. Whenever somebody sits in our chair they never have the same thing, it’s always an extreme makeover. They have a huge colour change or a huge restyle with their haircut.”
Scrolling through their Instagram, the multitude of edgy and bold hairdstyles and colours certainly proves Tynne’s point. Not a lot of customers are coming in for ‘just a trim’. “Those pictures — we have hundreds of them basically, we get those type of pictures ten times a day. It‘s not rare for us to completely change someone’s colour or cut off all their hair and turn them out looking completely different. It makes for really hard work, especially when we employ someone new and they don’t really know what they’re in for!”
Hoopla is also a member of Sustainable Salons Australia and is AHC Salon Select Gold Accredited, reflecting their eco-friendly, cruelty-free ethos. “When opening the business and thinking about how I wanted it to be, that was one of the main drivers — to be environmentally friendly,” Tynne explains. “I would never stock any product that was tested on an animal, and that’s why we love De Lorenzo so much because we know that everything is ethically sourced.
“We do have a lot of clients that are vegetarian or vegan and they know that they can come in and not have to worry about that. There’s nothing in our products that was tested on an animal that they might not know about.”
Looking ahead, Hoopla is outgrowing their little spot. When she bought it, Tynne thought the salon was huge, but now needs something “at least three times as big”. They’ll always stay in Brunswick but they don’t necessarily need to be on the main road anymore, and are considering moving to a warehouse-style space. Keep an eye on their movements – Hoopla are sure to be shaking it up for some time to come.
Visit www.hooplasalon.com.au or check out @hooplasalon on Instagram
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