Long hair ca­reer toasted

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

Mau­reen Bowring has seen it all in her 41 years of hair­dress­ing in Tawa, and is just thank­ful grunge has gone out of fash­ion.

The owner of Main Road’s Hair­craft Cen­tre had a tough year in 2011, with fam­ily ill­nesses prevent­ing her cel­e­brat­ing 40 years in busi­ness, so she de­cided to go all out last month with a 41st an­niver­sary party at the sa­lon.

‘‘Peo­ple were spilling out into the street,’’ she says.

Mrs Bowring ar­rived in Tawa in 1971 as a new­ly­wed and be­gan as a se­nior stylist at what was then called Sa­lon Elis­a­beth, lo­cated up­stairs from where she works now. She bought the sa­lon and changed its name in 1978, and moved it down­stairs 15 years ago.

Sets and per­ma­nent waves were all the rage when Mrs Bowring ar­rived in Tawa – the stylists would do a set ev­ery 15 min­utes in the 1970s, and at least 12 perms a day.

The era of Vi­dal Sas­soon wedge cuts and Mary Quant page­boys was just ar­riv­ing, she says.

‘‘ Ev­ery­body wanted a page­boy. That look is still there, it’s now in a dif­fer­ent ver­sion, a bob.’’

In the 1990s came grunge, and clients wanted hair­styles that looked like they hadn’t vis­ited a sa­lon at all, Mrs Bowring says.

‘‘ We’ve been through the grunge look. I pre­fer more coif­fured hair, hair that looks as though you’ve done some­thing to it. It’s more fem­i­nine.’’

To­day Mrs Bowring’s sa­lon has just two old-fash­ioned wall­mounted hairdry­ers, down from nine in 1971. Blow-dries have re­placed sets and get­ting a colour in your hair is as pop­u­lar as perms once were, she says.

Fancy up-dos are pop­u­lar with young peo­ple who want their hair to match a glam­orous out­fit, Mrs Bowring says.

‘‘We’re in the fash­ion in­dus­try and it’s dom­i­nated by cloth­ing and the hair works around that.’’

Mrs Bowring is now see­ing her clients’ chil­dren and grand­chil­dren in the sa­lon.

‘‘Tawa has served me well. We have lots of lovely clients.’’

The whole hair­dress­ing in­dus­try has grown up in the time Mrs Bowring has been cut­ting hair. Whereas par­ents were once hor­ri­fied at the idea of their chil­dren be­com­ing hair­dressers, the train­ing is now sup­ported by unit stan­dards and is a re­spectable ca­reer, she says.

Mrs Bowring is a passionate ad­vo­cate for her in­dus­try and for high stan­dards of train­ing. She is a past pres­i­dent of the Welling­ton Hair­dressers’ As­so­ci­a­tion, rep­re­sents em­ploy­ers on the Welling­ton ap­pren­tice­ship com­mit­tee and is an in­dus­try as­ses­sor and ex­am­iner.

‘‘I just love train­ing the ap­pren­tices, watch­ing them grow, be­ing part of an in­dus­try that has grown so fast and with the times,’’ she says.

Hair­dress­ing can trans­form peo­ple’s lives, which she says is the great­est sat­is­fac­tion of the job. ‘‘Clients that have never had their hair done be­fore, they come in and just give you a big hug and say they never knew they could look like this. That doesn’t hap­pen in any other ca­reers.’’

Hair to­day: Af­ter 41 years in busi­ness, Tawa Hair­craft Cen­tre’s Mau­reen Bowring has many long-term clients such as Ka­t­rina Ran­der­son.

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