Housed in an 1898 warehouse, Head Studio is nestled in the exclusive enclave of King St – the ‘Paris end’ of sunny Perth – where Louis Vuitton rubs shoulders with Gucci and people know their Balenciaga from their Jimmy Choo.
Opened by brother and sister duo Mark and Marie Cain in 2008 and encompassing 180 square metres of salon space, Head Studio is clearly flourishing. The children of successful salon owner Rose Cain, this dynamic pair seem to possess the same creative and business smarts that leave no doubt they are cut from the same cloth.
A L’Oréal Professionnel and Kerastase salon, services range from cutting, colour, chemical straightening and styling – nine staff tend to an increasingly bulging appointment book. “Our clientele consists of people in their early 20s to late 30s with a strong influx of late teens but they visit more sporadically and are not big spenders. We also have a large amount of corporate clients but a lot of everyday women and gents too – we are not just trying to attract the alternative crowd as we feel we have broad appeal,” said Mark Cain.
In stark contrast to the harshly minimalistic vibe of many salon interiors where cool shades of grey and white compete with straight lines and bright lights, Head Studio has something of the grand old dame about her. Beautiful old wooden floorboards, large steel girders and lofty ceilings all create an ambience that is brooding yet inviting. The salon space itself is rather imposing – raw brickwork, barn doors, super high ceilings and exposed beams all contribute to the industrial warehouse feel and at a time when space is increasingly a luxury, with only 18 chairs over two levels, clients are very much indulged. “It was a conscious decision not to pack the salon full of chairs so as not to negatively impact on the client experience,” said Mark.
The austerity of the building’s structure is perfectly complemented by the luxurious fit-out and furnishings housed within. The stunning interior was conceived by Mark, Marie and their brother Joshua – an Architectural student – and some of the furniture has been in the family for over 30 years. The brooding scarlet couches that greet customers upon entering were a wedding gift to Mark and Marie’s parents – it is clear that Head Studio is very much a family affair.
Maletti basins and chairs sit alongside a six metre long table that is so large it had to be craned in – the custom made Indonesian import acts as the colour bench within the salon. Sourced from high-end Western Australian furniture retailer Empire is a silver cabinet and gold gilt wall mirror while all the lighting is from Majool except felt pendants sourced from Sweden. The salon also features an illustration by emerging artist Rebecca Wetzler whose work often graces the pages of Oyster and Harper’s Bazaar magazines.
Taking pride of place is an exclusive men’s area that houses a retro barber’s chair courtesy of Comfortel and striking wallpaper from eccentric British design house Designers Guild. “The men’s area is a work in progress. We’re trying to educate Perth men to step out of the $10 barber haircut by offering a superior experience. We like to think of it as a classy barber shop and at $50 for a men’s cut we are trying to offer a competitive price with service that exceeds expectation, in order to build the client base,” said Mark.
“We’ve had a great response so far and would like to develop the men’s area to be almost separate to the salon and have a specialised men’s cutter. We are also tailoring packages to men offering a mini facial and hand treatments – we’d like to get Perth happening a little bit,” laughs Mark.
“We also have a coffee lounge – we’ve aligned ourselves with boutique coffee company Crema and we try to serve the highest standard of bean. The coffee lounge is a consultation area where all clients have a chat with their stylist or colourist before their services.”
In what seems like a few short years, Marie Cain has developed an impressive reputation and is certainly one to watch – renowned for her deft colour work she won the L’Oréal Professionnel Colour Trophy in 2007 and is a L’Oréal Professionnel ambassador. “Perth is a beach town so they like blonde and natural colours – our salon is very big on the balyage technique, Marie is great at it and we’re finding that it is quite popular at the moment,” said Mark.
With a commitment to ensuring their salon is firmly on the map, Mark and Marie have entered Hair Expo three times and have been finalists in New Creative Force, Colour Technician and Salon Team. “This year we placed as a finalist in Salon Team and Marie placed in New Creative Force and received a judge’s recognition in the Colour Technician award,” said Mark. The salon is also a past recipient of the L’Oréal Colour Trophy, walking away with that prestigious award in 2007. Their last Hair Expo experience involved a last minute dash to Sydney on the midnight horror just to get their submission in, and with that level of commitment, it can’t be long before the Head Studio trophy wall is bulging.
64 King St
Perth WA 6000
(08) 9481 6464
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