Posted on December 3, 2020
I listened to the last peep show zoom call this morning with Bec Griffiths and Yan Palmer. I learnt so much over the last 6 weeks. Here’s a few things that stuck in my heart and have been tormenting my brain to write them out of my head.
There were hundreds of conversations, questions during the zoom calls. I can sum them up in a few words’ creatives are brave, they are thoughtful, kind, generous, and also willing to be the hard qualities as well, vulnerable and awkward. Yes, it looks as though the creative person just posts photos on Instagram or hits send on a client gallery, collects the money(sometimes) and the work is done. Hahahah. No. Deep in my bones and each and every creative that I listened to invests a little piece of their heart in every art work. The thoughts, time, energy, and emotion to get to that finished work is immense. Firstly, the photographer or creative who offers their service in a business has sat down and specifically targeted you. Sounds creepy hey! It’s not. It is thoughtful.
The creative person wants to serve you and serve their creativity. There is a digging up of the creative’s own fears, own limiting beliefs, they invest in looking into their own heart with empathy, there is vulnerability in sharing themselves. The creative is constantly doing their own internal work so they can work with clarity, knowledge and imagination to best serve their art and client. The creative thinks and feels into who their ideal client is, they base their business around creating a business and offerings of their art that their ideal client will fall in love with. Fall in love with because, there is a piece of heart and soul in each piece, there is a deep and potent energy that is infused in the art and you the client connects with that. Because when the creative is producing this work and wants to grow and expand and create with more and more people, there level of enthusiasm and energy is high and at times is hard to remember that not everyone is on the same page, not every person wants to create or explore boundaries and there is immense amount of work in building trust with clients. When you just want to say for fuck sake, I am a nice person, I take awesome photos, you are looking at my social media or website for a reason, we will have a great time, just book in with me.
There is a deep level of vulnerability, of feeling awkward, of stretching boundaries and being willing to be laughed at or feel stupid. Because for a creative person the art needs to be made. The deep calling to release it into the world then makes space for more art to flow through.
Each time a creative has to market themselves to sell themselves, launch a new piece of art or a project, promote a new offering, the practice of this is so exciting and so terrifying. Each time you do this, again it is your heart and vision being put on display. When you hit post or send or exhibit the work in person there are feelings of joy and anticipation, pleasure and pride at your own work. Also, terror. But knowing that, to that end point, that finished piece it is from your heart, it is the creation that you are most at peace with, the art that you feel like you can let go of. It is an overwhelming feeling going down the street being celebrated on an extravagant float everyone calling your name in celebration then looking down and you are completely naked. However, these intense feelings are the driver, the stretcher of boundaries, the creator of new art work.
It is a life of forever exploring, refining, being transparent, building relationships, being imperfect, forever being curious and knowing your value. And even if your art work doesn’t attract the accolades or dollars that you hoped, you just create more, you dig deeper into you and your heart and you create what needs to be released into the world through your heart and vision.
Posted on March 27, 2017
Julie – owner of JPS Hair and Beauty, and I sat down in her pedicure lounge with a coffee and cheesecake and had a chat. This lady boss who is celebrating 19 years in her salon was modest in telling “her” story.
“I mean, it’s not just me this is my sister tribe. Lots of people make this salon.”
Start at the beginning, tell the story of your salon.
The salon started when I began my apprenticeship. The salon was the Cutting Crew, at Banyo. The owner had salons at Banyo and Wynnum. Within a few months I was winding perms and giving $5.00 haircuts. My boss recognized that I could work by myself and she would drive me out to her Wynnum salon. I was a few months off qualifying when she dropped the bomb, she was moving overseas for an extended period of time. I had mixed feelings about it, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. So I went home and I begged, I begged if I could buy the salon. I went from bank to bank to bank and I finally purchased the salon. I was nineteen. She fast tracked the last few months of my apprenticeship so I could own the salon. It was my baby. My boyfriend at the time had a Harvey Norman franchise and he worked up to 7 days a week, so we worked and worked and worked. We were young, it was all we had so we just put everything in to the businesses.
Julie saw growth in the suburb of her home, grabbed it with both hands and started another successful salon that she built from scratch.
I was driving between the two salons at this point, we were married, no kids.
The second salon was so successful that in less than 12 months, she employed a management team and an offer came through for Julie to sell.
I was solely at Wynnum when I had my first bubby- Roamie. We then purchased Morayfield – yeah Wynnum and Morayfield are a long way apart. I was working 9am til 9pm, starving hungry, nowhere to stop and eat, and crying baby in the back of the car. When we took over at Morayfield, it had been established for a decade and came with a great reputation. I will never forget the day I took over, I parked out the back and the girls came running at me for big hugs, I had never met these girls before.
Within that first week, I was violently ill and pregnant, with Luca. So I was building two salons with a one year old and pregnant again.
We love the chaos and craziness.
When Luca came, we had the front room of the salon as a childcare room, rather than putting him in child care we employed a child care worker. There was swing, cot, change table, it was all glassed in and had air-conditioning, she would look after not only my baby but anyone else who bought babies into the salon. I was still breastfeeding. I always found it important to show my girls that you can work and have a family and I felt strongly about breastfeeding. I still wanted to be able to give that to the boys. There was always a breast pump out the back if the boys weren’t here or if they were I was always feeding and I wanted that to be part of everyday life. When Luca was two and a half I approached the man next door to the Wynnum salon and said this is all too much now I can’t keep driving from Burpengary to Wynnum. He had always said if I wanted to sell to approach him first because we watched for 10 years how I built up the business. And so within a few weeks he took over.
Julie’s savvy business skills were on full alert again when a couple of years later the madness and hunger to conquer the world took over again and she saw a prime opportunity to open a salon at Murrumba Downs.
There was only one salon in the suburb and they were building a new Coles complex. We went and bought off the plan. There was countless problems, plumbing problems, building problems, budget problems. But we built a stunning salon, a year later we built another salon in another complex at Woodford. So now we had three salons.
I do all of this buy putting on a few different hats, making lists, I suppose when you are used to a lifestyle it is just that. At times it can get really overwhelming definitely.
Julie distributed her time between each salon, she spent other days doing stock, payroll, and all of the behind the scenes responsibilities of running three salons and being a mum and wife. We were approached by a broker who wanted to purchase all of our salons. But you know, while the kids are in school it is so flexible with our lifestyle and being around for the kids. We decided to stay in business and so they purchased just Murrumba downs. Shortly after that, the Woodford shopping centre owners pursued us, wanting the Woodford salon. So for two years we have just the one salon. I am here for my kids and seeing my boys succeed is everything. In sport or just at home, seeing my kids at home scootering around the driveway, free as birds. That makes me feel very, very special. Also seeing them accomplish things, you know cooking for themselves, them cleaning up makes me very happy. It’s the little things. I think with kids you want them to experience things, you know not just one off, if they experience something over and over and over they will get really good at it, I mean that is with the bad things too. If they come into a situation where something bad could happen or they have had set backs in their training, they sometimes get hurt, you know this builds resilience. They have experienced this, they are prepared for it mentally and physically.
Julie’s passion for teaching and encouraging not only includes her children but “her girls” too.
We have 15 girls here in the salon. Beauty therapists and hairdressers. It is perfect. I love coming to work, I do school hours. I drop the boys off and then am there to do school pick up. I am so content at the moment.
So my girls. Rachel has been here since the day we took over. So 11 years. Majority of the girls have been here for five years. Jasmine is our manager at the front desk, having her as host gives me the opportunity to look after my clients and mentor the other girls. Help them, support them, counsel them. Because you know, sometimes we are not having the best day and other times we are absolute rock stars. We often have binge food days but you know we all do it together. We have good days and bad days, that goes with being a woman, we have a lot of Panadol in the back room, we are here for each other, this is my sister tribe. Lots of people make this salon, it is not just me. We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for every single person. All of this still happens even when I am not here, which is what I love.
I am getting enjoyment out of seeing the girls grow up, one of our babies just became qualified. Apprentices make the salon run, they are the salon, they keep us young, they keep everyone in coffee and their hair washing skills and the scalp massages are amazing. We get so much out of having them as a part of the salon. I will always have apprentices. The girls love to mentor, they love having an assistant, someone to help them. Our latest newly qualified hairdresser, she started when she was 15, as a school based apprentice. We got her through high school together, she graduated, had her formal, became full-time and now she is a qualified hairdresser, she has moved out of home, has a lovely boyfriend, she is woman. I am so amazed, I love seeing the full circle.
My joy – oh seeing what those girls can create – when I see the girls photos of their work, if I haven’t been there for the day or I have been stuck in the office and I see the styles they have created, it is everything, amazing, my girls are so talented.
I feel like they stay because of appreciation, everyone wants to be appreciated, I give them flexibility in their roles, I provide the tools and they can be free to create. We have a great team, a great connection. I don’t stand over them, I just let them go for it – most people flourish with that, sometimes it doesn’t suit them. I am about encouragement and motivation, leading by example, by showing them what I love about the industry. You know I try and keep it fun, most of the time I’m the jokester. Hairdressers are creators so they just flourish with all that encouragement. You know after we consult a client it’s always like, “I am about to do this colour what do you think?” and we bounce off each other. I am passionate about hair, they see that. I am always doing crazy stuff with my hair and they see that confidence, just to try and pull of anything. I want to show that to my customers also! That they can be confident in me. I always love to try what’s new. I mean we started using Olaplex 9 months before it was in Australia. We were importing it. The industry changes, trends change. We want to keep updated and offer that to our clients. We love to do a bit of advanced beauty.
Julie encourages her team to be open and creative, she embraces new ideas and trends.
The feather brows – oh god they are just stunning, the girls are so talented with feather brows. Some of our team came to us and said “oh look at this!” – I was like “yeah this is awesome how can we be the best at this”. That was a couple of years ago and it has boomed. We also offer laser tattoo removal, we have a class 4 laser remover, which is a medical grade laser to remove tattoos. We love to push the envelope and get great results with hair and beauty. Another one of my passions is hair extensions. I have flown around the world by myself investigating and from that I have created my own hair extension range. Whenever I have used hair extensions there is always something wrong with them, be it a shedding problem, or hair matting, or the tape wasn’t sticky enough, or the hair wasn’t the best quality, or wasn’t long enough. In the end I made my own. I don’t have any of those problems. We use absolutely stunning Russian hair, beautiful quality hair extensions that I have designed from the very beginning and are exactly what I have always wanted. We were provided with samples and often the samples weren’t right either, so I would send them back, outlining exactly what I wanted fixed. Everything from the hair, the tape, the length, weight, everything – I was fussy with. I wanted these to be just right. I have done this for so many years – these needed to be perfect. I have designed everything the packaging the name – Lucia. This is what I wanted my daughter’s name to be if I had one. So this is my baby. The whole process has been two years. Not being happy with the quality or the price lead me to investigating, trialling, having multiple salons and wanting the best. I love investigating and trying things and I want the quality.
I feel everyone has a certain amount of energy and if you channel it into the right things then you are going to go so far.
And if it’s not channelled it can be really destructive and you can get quiet depressed because you have you have no channel, no direction. I channel that energy, keep focused. When it all feels too much and I am overwhelmed I will go up to the beach – the Sunshine Coast. It completely clears my mind, it files everything where it needs to go, it cleans out all the clutter and I get completely refocused and hungry for more. Every couple of weeks I have to go to the beach. It is my thing – it is my drug. My husband also helps keep me focused, he is a business man, he is so smart, and I have always wanted to be like him ever since I met him. He has always been really focused, he then keeps me focused and holds really high standards. He helps me late at night, he is the handyman. He is here fixing washing machines and dryers and painting and renovating and making my visions come to fruition. When I have a vision of something I want to create, he’ll tell me it can’t work, but oh yes it does.
Like my green wall, I wanted a green wall – I got my green wall, or I am going to take my team to Vegas and we did.
Last year we created our own bi-annual education event called JPS retreat, rather than go to Vegas. We hired two beautiful mansions at Stradbroke Island, we flew in prominent educators and had three days in a nice relaxed environment and learnt new techniques and styles. We bought in Penny Antuar a make-up artist. The beauty therapists perfected all new techniques with make-up over two days. The hair side of things we had – Belinda Keeley from Melbourne, motivational speaking and colour placement with the girls was her specialty. My idol Lorna Evans – the up style queen, she showed us amazing braids and up styles, how to sew hair, sew an up style with cotton wool.
Julie wears so many hats, wife, mum, business owner, mentor, creator. What is next for this lady?
You never know with me, there is always so magic in the air.
Why back me financially, by having to pay to read the interviews? Because I am creating a platform for me to showcase my best work, build a community and get paid to keep on creating. The more patrons in our community means more interviews, and more stories. A portion of this money will be used to pay it forward, sharing the love with other women and girls and raising their voice.
Posted on December 20, 2016
I walked into the space at the Festival of design where Ania and Kat had their art displayed. The blonde and brunette haired beauties, one from Germany and one from Italy, made use of pine wood pallets as supports for black and white pencil drawings of whales, fish and swim suits. Green leafy branches from palm trees added colour, a quick shade in the same colour as the foliage and its poles allowed Ania to hang her whales and white flowing material softened and gave the display a beachy feel.
I had just finished having a speedy interview with Kat about her drawings and asked Ania if she would also be interested in a quick chat. I could’ve spoken and listened to these interesting and extremely talented ladies with their European accents for a lot longer, but it was a market type feel with people walking around and I didn’t want to take up too much of their time.
Ania told me that she started to make the three dimensional whales in February. “It was a strange thing. I had been doing this back in Italy just for an hobby. But then I came here to Australia and I met this girl she is an artist too” and she said “you should try and sell your stuff.”
She sent some pictures to a really famous interior stylist in Sydney. And this stylist wrote me back and said “I want to buy your whales!”
Laughing she tells me “And I was like oh my god, ok!” So since then I have been starting to sell them, to Sibella Court, Sibella Court Society Inc, and she is from Sydney. Since then I have been selling to shops and galleries, off my own website.
Ania tells me that when she came to Australia and landed in Darwin she had no idea what she was going to do here. She proudly and with a big smiles say “and now I am in artist in Australia.”
Ania spent time in Italy making flat metal sculptures and in Australia embarked on making three dimensional whales, she told me she finds these so much more fun to do, and they are so much more challenging.
“I just love whales there is something so magic and they are so poetic, I just love them, there is a special connection with the ocean and I wanted to do something to represent that”.
In November the whales are playing in the waters off Byron Bay Ania said “it was just crazy seeing them in the ocean in Byron bay, they were jumping and I was jumping.” Watching them in nature added to her research on the whales form and movement. This research is also backed up from Ania’s study of design in Italy, yacht design actually. “I left university and I came to Australia because yacht design back in Italy is not really mmm you know”, she says with a shrug of her shoulders and lifting of her hands. “I mean the technical yacht design and drawings for the yachts are very similar to the whales.”
“I usually go on YouTube and watch videos and study and sketch the movements and study the three dimensional part. I make lots of sketch and then I go free hand.”
After the sketches are completed she gets down to making the sculpture, she explained to me that first time was difficult creating the three dimensional pieces because of course she didn’t know what she was doing. So this could take like two, three days. “But now I am quicker. I love it, I love when I find a new position or something new to add or do.”
From Ania’s expression and body language she loves Australia as much as the whales. “I have been here for one year and I am here for sure until July, I just want to stay. I will be a student my whole life if I have to, so that I can stay here.” She recounts her travels and how her sculptures support her life here. “I love travelling here so much. I have a van, I landed with my sister in Darwin and we got a van and we crossed the desert and we saw Uluru and the Great Ocean Road, then up to Noosa and then back again, then down to Tasmania for two months. I am always driving. My van is nice, it is a super old van, it is a thirty one years old van, so everyone looks at my van and it is a good display for my whales. On the side of my van in the window I always put my whales, on the side with my website.”
Ania Caffarena can be contacted on
@aniacaffarena – Instagram
Posted on December 18, 2016
I asked Kat Deschan Illustrator, if she would have a quick chat with me, while I was admiring her stunning hand drawn art work, she was kind enough to say yes. Her art work was on display at the Byron Bay Festival of Design. The black and white pencil A1 drawing of a pair of one piece togs, covered in sunflowers and strawberries is the art work I was admiring. Kat told me that it took her about 25 hours of work.
I wish this was my sole income source, this is all I want to do. I just want to draw. I have a lot of support from my friends, but I have never really shown anyone my art work, this is the first time today. I really hope one day that this will be it for me. I loved her instantly, as this is exactly how I feel about my writing. She was honest and generous in how open she was, especially as I put her on the spot with the interview.
“So you have never sold your art work?”
“No. Nowhere, I mean I have never tried to.”
“Seriously? You have never tried to sell this beautiful art work!”
“No, I mean I have sold some things, I have done mostly drawings for friends. My friends are happy to pay for my art.”
I studied design and photography and film. When I was studying I got carried away and thought that I wanted to work in film, I finished my study, but soon realised it wasn’t what I wanted to do. I came to Australia from Germany and met my partner about two years ago. Only a couple of months ago, I remembered that I like to draw. I did draw when I was small. And now I am back doing it. But this is what I want to do now that I am in Byron Bay.
I have my Instagram account for now but will eventually get someone to set up a website for me. I would love to do workshops that would be so much fun. Where I work everyone is so interested and want me to show them how to do it. I mean it is so relaxing. At home I listen to audio books and music and draw. I would be happy to do that all day, twenty four seven.