Hairdresser hangs up scissors
Kathryn Park (Kathy) is retiring from her business, Ingestre Hair Dezign, on December 22.
She has sold the premises to another local hairdresser.
She began her hairdressing career under the tutelage of an illustrious Whanganui name.
“I annoyed Charles of Melbourne,” she says. “I used to go to him every Friday after school and ask him for a job. Then one day I walked in and he said, ‘You start on Monday, I’ve just got off the phone from your mother.’ That was in December, 1966.
“I did all my training with him. That was a very big salon because then you had all the ladies who had a weekly shampoo and set. The book was full before you even started because you had all those regulars. At any one time we had six or seven operators with Charles’ wife on reception.”
The salon was above McGruer’s department store on the corner of Victoria Ave and Guyton St. Next door was a men’s barber.
Over the years people have tried to convince Kathy to computerise her booking system, but she has resisted.
“There’s nothing wrong with the pencil, rubber and appointment book,” she says. “It’s a lot quicker.”
Charles’ salon sold to a Mr Smith who took over the business and the staff, including Kathy. She left in 1970 to have her first child.
“While my children were young my husband got a transfer to Patea to the savings bank up there. That’s when the freezing works were going and it was a busy place. The hairdresser there had never had a holiday so I introduced myself to Vicky and told her I was a hairdresser. I was able to work a few hours for her and run the show when she wanted time off.
“In 1985 I set up a salon of my own in the old BNZ.”
That building housed a small retail community in those days and Kathy’s salon was called New Image. She had a few moves after that, mostly sticking to the Bridge Block.
“Then the most exciting thing I did was in 1994 when I bought my own commercial building in Ingestre St. It was a lovely building and I set about doing it up, so there I was at two in the morning, up a ladder, painting. That was when I decided on Ingestre Hair Dezign and started my black and white colour scheme.”
While she was there, Kathy had a close but unsuccessful go at running for Wanganui District Council.
Twelve years ago she sold the building to a client and shifted the business to her husband’s old family home in Springvale Rd. The colour scheme and the name came with her.
“It’s been the best move out. You don’t have to be in the central city, you don’t. The business just grew and grew. I’m busy all the time.”
She has made a lot of good friends through the business.
Kathy and husband Ray would like to travel some more overseas and see New Zealand.
She was once renowned for her sewing skills and would like to get back into it in her retirement. “I used to make copies of Mary Quant designs so I would often get my picture taken uptown in my latest Mary Quant dress.”
She has a few stories about how her picture would often appear in Whanganui’s premier social pages — Photo News. “Gogo dancing” for touring bands, for example.
When Kathy leaves, hairdresser Tracey James will move her salon into the building. It’s called New Image.
Kathryn Park is retiring from hairdressing.