Get to know the Little Birdie owner - Tenille

What made you want to be a hairdresser?

I initially wanted to be a journalist but I came from a small country town and hairdressing was one of the only things that you could get out of school to do "work experience" on so I thought I would give it go so I could skip the sports carnival! Surprisingly the salon owner offered me a job the first week and so here I am 23 years later... I went back and pursued a law degree later on but I really missed "people". I couldn't even imagine now sitting at a desk for 8 hour a day....

What has been your career highlight?

I have been super fortunate that hairdressing has allowed me to travel the world and do what I love. A few years ago I was invited to do a hair show in Taiwan showcasing my work which was super fun. I have also worked in Italy and throughout Europe doing shows - which has been extremely rewarding. There is no feeling in the world like standing on a stage knowing that you can inspire some fresh faced 18 year old hairdresser to follow their dreams just that little bit harder. It fills my love tank.

What made you want to have a vegan/low tox salon?

After working as a colourist for the past 20 years, I ended up with chemical poisoning which effected me most during my first and second pregnancy. I had constant headaches at work and came up in hives constantly. It wasn't until a specialist confirmed that I had chemical poisoning from standing above people breathing in hair dye every day that it dawned on me what I was doing to my body - my placenta was black and looked like I had smoked a packet of cigarettes a day. From then onwards, I have tried to reduce as much chemical out of my life and my salon as possible. It's nice going home without the lingering scent of a chemical concotion in my clothes and hair.

What has been your favourite hair trend over the years?

Lived in balayage for sure. Being able to create natural hues with artifical colour is actually quite hard but once you nail it - you have nailed it. I love that lived in balayage makes hair look effortless, it's a style trend I can't see ever fading.

What is the biggest change in going from hairdresser to business owner?

Gosh great question. I have owned salons since I was 19 so I can't really even remember what it was like to just have a 9-5 job. The biggest difference I would say is that for a business owner the work never ends, my laptop lives next to my bed and my phone rings about 64 times a day. But I really wouldn't have it any other way. The salon feels like my home, my safe place and I actually love going in there every day.

What tips do you have for anyone thinking of pursuing hairdressing as a career?

Please don't be eluded that hairdressing is "glamourous". Hairdressers work super hard, they miss lunch, they stand up on their feet for 12 hour a day and carry the weight of every clients problems. There's nothing super glamourous about it, but its rewarding! Having someone leave your chair saying "you have made my day" is a feeling like no other.

What is your advice to anybody wanting to start their own business?

Find your "niche" market and market the hell out of it! Find something that sets your business apart from the rest and go above and beyond to ensure your customer service is like no other. Don't be afraid to go out and create your own plan - A wise person once told me that if you don't take risks in business, you will end up working for someone who does.