With three children under the age of ten, a small thriving chain of hair salons and a recently released range of natural haircare products, Melbourne’s Sofia Basile has more than enough on her plate – not that she would have it any other way.
Sofia opened her first Unico salon in Degraves Street at the tender age of 22. With over 24 years in the industry, Sofia now runs three successful Unico salons in Melbourne: two in the CBD and one in trendy Fitzroy.
“I was always considered to be creative and was interested in fashion and beauty from an early age. I am also a social creature so hairdressing was something I was always drawn to,” says Sofia.
“Before opening Unico, I completed my apprenticeship at a salon on Collins Street called Cosmopolitan. I then went to London and completed a Vidal Sassoon course to expand my cutting skills. After finishing a Wella Colour Professional Diploma, I opened the first Unico Hair salon on Little Collins Street,” she adds.
“It was daunting at such a young age but I believe you can do anything you set your mind to if you have passion and are willing to put in 150%. I initially had the support of a business partner, but bought them out after the first year and have been doing it on my own ever since.”
Since launching, Unico has become a popular destination for Melbourne’s style set and the salons have accumulated a number of industry awards and accolades, including 1st place in 2001’s HBIA awards in creative colour. Sofia now employs 10 staff across the three locations and ‘never say never’ is her coy response to whether more salons are planned.
Unico Formulations is a range of luxurious, natural haircare products made in Australia. Derived from pure plant ingredients and enriched with vitamins and essential oils, Unico products are free from all nasties such as parabens and SLS.
The 11 gorgeous products are available nationally and are refillable at a 10% discount at any of the Unico salons.
“When I started hairdressing, I suffered badly from dermatitis on my hands, which almost made me consider another career. The idea of developing natural products was planted in my mind and it grew steadily as the wave of support for a greener world took shape over the past decade. I noticed a real gap in the market for a homegrown eco-friendly professional hair range, so I set about developing the perfect formulation. I released the Unico Formulations range in late 2008 and could not be happier with the products.”
Styling products will be added in the next few months, with a bodycare range also in the pipeline.
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