BEING a hairdresser was never in Jenni Spence’s plans but the Mt Pleasant resident has now chalked up an impressive milestone in the industry.
Ms Spence’s business Aoki Hair is celebrating 15 years of being open in December, 13 of which were in Como with the last two being in her home suburb.
Originally born in Devon, England her family moved to Durban, South Africa when she was four years old.
After disliking her job as a drama teacher, Ms Spence entered the industry through and apprenticeship at the Royal Hotel.
“I went into hairdressing because a girlfriend from school her parents owned a salon and I remember going there and loving the smell of it and the creative vibe,” she said.
“My apprentice lasted for three years and I left to travel and hone my craft in England, Scotland and Germany.
“I worked with Beverly Cobella, who is one of the top British hairdressers, it was such a creative time in the late ‘80s.”
She continued her journey in the industry after moving back to South Africa in 1988.
“I worked with Terry Scott, who was like Maurice Meade, I did fashion shoots and stage shows but then I left him to open my own salon,” she said.
“Things in South Africa took a turn for the worst, crime was rife so we spoke as a family and decided to move to Perth in 2003.”
She opened Aoki Hair on Labouchere Road after spotting a house and transforming it.
“It was completely dilapidated and when I took out a loan to renovate it, everyone thought I was crazy,” she said.
Ms Spence said among the highlights of the past 15 years was being a finalist for the WA Hairdresser of the Year in 2009.
“The industry is always evolving, so every year I take the girls to the Hair Expo, we learn and I encourage them to take courses,” she said.
“You’ve got to because it’s changing so fast, you need to talk to the modern jingo.
“You attract the kind of client that you are yourself, so we laugh so much, there’s warmth, integrity and a depth of care and our clients are like that as well.”