The Australian hair industry is in a unique predicament right now, with Melbourne salons closed, the rest of the country operating and border restrictions creating regional inflexibility of what was once a well-travelled terrain. Sanctuary Salon & Spa is in the crosshairs of all these issues, as an Albury space that borders the outskirts of NSW and VIC, and their new mobile salon concept is helping elderly and vulnerable guests on the NSW side while innovating their business model.

“Living and working on the border of NSW and Victoria has had its challenges in recent months,” explained Stuart Cloake, owner of Sanctuary Salon. “We have a loyal guest base who have been committed to not just us but to the Aveda brand for over 20 years. When our border with Victoria and our sister city closed over 8 weeks ago we lost 30 to 40 per cent of our guests overnight, the cancellations came in waves, but we had anticipated this might happen and had been working since May on a mobile project.”

“We had bought an old motorhome stripped it of its existing furniture and retro-fitted it with a luxe wash lounge and created a cutting zone, with its ample natural light it makes for an awesome studio. We can now head over to Wodonga on our days off and setup our pop up salon. That way we can continue to look after the hairdressing and retail needs of some of our loyal guests South of the border,” Stuart explained.

The salon doesn’t cost for the charge of travel, and has diversified their business in a time of enormous hardship, showing the resilience and innovation that makes the hairdressing industry so powerful.

“It’s about not being dictated to by changing circumstances, but about how we can adapt and change, how we can keep our business in business now and in the future, for our guests, our team and ourselves,” Stuart said. “A visit to the hairdressers anywhere is not just about getting a haircut, hiding greys or brightening dull and lack lustre hair, it’s a chance to talk to a trusted confidant about fears, challenges, sadness, breakups and joys. We can share life’s challenges, and talk freely. Being in a regional area, and feeling cut off, COVID 19 has amplified so many social situations.”

“If we can create that ‘look good, feel good’ connection within someone, we can send them home with a much needed boost to their mental health. Renewing someone’s self-confidence is just as big a part of hiding the greys or cutting in a brave new look, it’s part of the job we do and it’s why we keep doing what we do, however we can, wherever we can,” he continued.

Well done to Sanctuary Salon & Spa for taking those superpowers on the road and finding a new path through adversity.

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