Hair­dresser hangs up scis­sors

Whanganui Midweek - - NEWS - By PAUL BROOKS

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.

PIC­TURE / PAUL BROOKS

Kathryn Park is re­tir­ing from hair­dress­ing.

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