Grant Bet­tje­man found his niche early in life. He talks to about how hair­dress­ing has changed and why build­ing a good rap­port with clients is so im­por­tant.

Ka­rina Abadia

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS -

The glitz and glam­our was the main thing that at­tracted Grant Bet­tje­man to hair­dress­ing.

He be­came in­ter­ested in the trade af­ter be­ing given a pair of pro­fes­sional scis­sors by a fam­ily friend when he was 14.

But it was read­ing a news­pa­per ar­ti­cle about the open­ing of the hair sa­lon Michael’s of Re­muera that re­ally sealed the deal.

‘‘I thought: ‘Right, that’s where I want to work’. It was like New York ar­riv­ing in New Zealand.’’

Bet­tje­man was at board­ing school in Hamil­ton when he wrote to the sa­lon man­age­ment re­quest­ing an ap­pren­tice­ship. He moved to Auck­land the fol­low­ing year and started his train­ing at age 16.

‘‘It had over 30 staff and banks and banks of hairdry­ers.

‘‘It was a re­ally beau­ti­ful, state of the art sa­lon.’’

Hair­dress­ing tech­niques were sim­pler back then but the ser­vice was amaz­ing, the 60-year-old says.

Women came in to have their hair set in rollers be­cause blowdry­ing hadn’t even been in­vented. They sat un­der the dryer for a min­i­mum of half an hour and Bet­tje­man or­dered food for them by talk­ing into a speaker box on the wall.

‘‘We would push the but­ton and say ‘could I have a cheese and ham toasted sand­wich and a cup of cof­fee for dryer num­ber 18 please?’.’’

‘‘The cafe next door would bring a lit­tle tray, [the client] had their lunch and then they took it away.’’

Next he and his then girl­friend Phif Fortes­cue spent a few years work­ing in Lon­don be­fore re­turn­ing home, get­ting mar­ried and open­ing their own sa­lon called Hairkraft in Me­lane­sia Rd.

Af­ter 15 years they closed up shop and moved to Siena in Italy.

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