EAST Fremantle hairdresser Claire Mason opened her first salon when she was just 21 in 2013.
Now she’s scouting for premises for her second, with plans of a chain of salons on George streets across Australia.
Because her first salon was on George Street (Eighty One on George) and she thought the idea was catchy.
Her mother wanted her to be a lawyer, but when she started working for her hairdressing aunt, Mason knew her heart lay elsewhere.
“My apprenticeship was fast tracked and I was qualified by the time I was 18,” she says.
Working for a hairdressing chain was “hell”, but she stuck it out.
“I spent six years … adhering to policies and procedures I didn’t believe in,” she laments.
“Being dictated to and being miserable, contemplating what I was doing with my life.”
With a strong work ethic Ms Mason gave the job her all, despite unreasonable demands, long hours and a “shitty paycheck”.
“Most of which I spent on trying to decrease the stress and anxiety built up from managing a salon with 14 staff,” she says.
The experience made her determined to be the boss she’d never had.
“I made a promise that I’d never treat my staff the way I was treated throughout my chain salon career.
“We spend 80 per cent of our time at work — why shouldn’t we be happy there?”
Eighty One on George specialises in the the latest in colouring techniques.
“In bright colours,” Mason says.
“I airbrush images on to hair.”
Italian company Emsibeth Cosmetics recently signed up Ms Mason as its head Australian representative, flying her to Verona for training with a host of international hair artists.
Later in the year she’ll be heading to Sydney for a five-day “hairdressing boot camp”, because ongoing training is essential, Ms Mason says.
by JENNY D’ANGER