Introducing Amanda, co-founder of natural hair salon BOB. I first met Amanda when I had a pop up at South Melbourne Market a couple of years ago, and we got chatting about what we both do which obviously led me to learning about her amazing hair salon. Amanda is such an advocate for a better world and through her salon is changing the industry that she works in. They use pure, high quality ingredients devoid of harmful chemicals to ensure that they are offering the highest grade haircare possible while reducing their environmental impact. I have had my hair done my the incredible Amanda at Bob as well as had her help out on the shoot for Transverse. Both times we have had some incredible chats about sustainability, being honest and just trying to do the best that you can within your means. Something that we are both quite passionate about. We both know you can't be perfect but it's the journey that you are on that is most important, and to not bring people down but rather build them up and celebrate the small sustainable wins that they achieve. I knew i wanted to feature Amanda as a Monday Muse as soon as I launched the series so i'm super excited about sharing this one with you. As always, I hope you are as inspired as I am by Amanda's answers, and if you get the chance book yourself in for some hair care at BOB as it is quite a wonderful experience!
What made you start Bob and why are you so passionate about it?
I've been lucky enough to have a big clientele who have followed me from salon to salon over my hairdressing career. However, I had never worked in a salon that I felt aligned to ethically or where I could give my clients the customer service and attention I wanted to.
I found myself feeling frustrated with the industry and happened to meet Charlotte whilst working in a salon. Charlotte shared my frustrations and we had a vision of how we could still do hair, but in a more ethical and sustainable way -without the 'hippy' overtone that other similar business's seemed to have. We are so passionate about Bob because it's a space where we can share our love of hair, wellbeing, living with less chemicals and sustainability with others'. It's been so humbling to find that people were looking for such a business but were unable to find it 'til now.
We have spoken a lot about honesty in running an ethical business, and how sometimes you just can’t do it all and that is ok. It's more about doing the best you can, where you can, rather than trying to ‘green wash’ and claim you are doing it all, or even try to do everything, but at a mediocre level. So, when you started Bob, what were some of the things that you weren’t going to budge on and why did you choose to focus on them?
We really felt pressure to be 'doing everything perfectly' and unfortunately we have discovered that while you can try your best, that running a busy hairdressing business and being transparent about the way you're doing it, that there will always be some areas which simply aren't perfect.
For us, we really try to do the best we can with the options we have available, yes, we have shampoo in plastic bottles -however those products are made here in Melbourne by a small local business, they have yet to improve their packaging but they allow us to send it back to them to be reused and in the scheme of things, their footprint is far smaller when minimal freight is involved. We refuse to budge on things like nasty ingredients -parabens, sulphates, artificial fragrances etc. We are forever on the lookout for greener, cleaner professional products and ways of doing things.
Running a small business can be hard, stressful, painful and extremely scary, but it can also be incredibly rewarding, exciting and fill you with such proud moments, what is one of these wonderful moments for you and Bob?
There have been a few proud moments -from getting our street sign to celebrating our 2nd birthday this year. I think just looking back over the 2 and a bit years and seeing how much we've learnt (sometimes the hard way!) Seeing Bob go from just the two of us to 7 staff in total (and hiring) in those 2 years is incredibly rewarding.
You are a Mum to a beautiful girl, and you are also expecting another beautiful girl! How do you balance life and motherhood? What advice would you give a Mum who is wanting to start their own business? Were you ever given advice about this when you were starting Bob that really helped you?
What made the seemingly impossible, possible is having a business partner, we have each others' back and we happen to be the balance on yin and yang that I believe small business needs.
Also, having people in my wider circle who have believed in me from the beginning -my clientele who've been amazingly loyal to my friends and partner. Having people who genuinely rally for you is worth its weight in gold.
As for advice, probably the best advise I received in the start up process was from my cousin who made me go away, sit by the ocean with a pen and notepad and write down my worth, sounds corny, but that was the day I realised I deserved it, and began to believe that I really could do it.
Do you have a morning routine? If so, what is it you do to set yourself up for the day ahead?
I'll be really honest and say that I wish I was a morning person but I I'm not! This is an area I could really improve upon! Currently I wake up, make a cup of tea and just get on with mum things -I have a little girl to wrangle to school and a pooch that needs walking. Then I get myself to the salon, I suppose that is where I have a little ritual of making a yummy coffee and set up for my day at work. I envy those who wake up to see the sun rise and meditate though ... I'll work on it!
Not only do you live out your values in your work and how you set up Bob, but what are some of your ‘sustainable’ living hacks that you love?
I'm not sure its classed as a hack but I am REALLY picky with what I purchase, especially when it comes to fashion or beauty items. I have learnt what suits me and I always try to buy quality over quantity. Last year I went 6 months without buying any clothing, I would encourage everyone to give it ago at least once -it really teaches you to be more creative with what is in your wardrobe and to care less about being seen in the same outfits over and over (honestly, no one even notices)!
Anything exciting in the works for Bob that you are allowed to share?
Ooh, there are a couple of things brewing but because I'm superstitious and nothing is set in stone, I fear saying anything out loud in case they don't eventuate!
Where do you envision Bob in the future? What would be your dream?
I'd love a range of Bob sustainable hair products, that are refillable or free of packaging and void of all nasties but still suitable for coloured hair.
If you were to pick one thing, what is the most important thing that you personally think fashion brands need to focus on the most at the moment? And why?
Educating their customers to stop looking at clothing as a throw away items, to focus on transparency and quality so that their pieces can be lovingly cared for and passed on. If fashion brands don't make a point to change then they aren't demanding it of the consumer -and vice versa!
Of course, the most important questions, what is your favourite piece from the new range and why?
You know I love all that you do, Lois, but I am very partial to the Revamp Rise Shirt Dress for it's versatility, it looks put-together but can be worn with brogues for work then casually with sandals or cute trainers. But I especially love it because it fits over my ever-growing baby bump!