AS businesswomen Rebeccah Vivian and Kate Priddle put it, their hair and beauty success story, Blondie, has grown up a bit on its move from East Geelong to the centre of town.
“She’s put on a bit of lippy and got herself a YSL, you can’t miss our pink neon sign as you drive down Ryrie Street.”
You certainly cannot miss the pink shopfront, with the interior bursting with pattern, texture and colour.
It’s an evolution, stemming from Rebeccah’s obsession with hair from a young age.
“I have been ‘styling’ hair for as long as I can remember. If you came to visit our house, you got your hair done – no if, buts or maybes,” the Newtown woman laughs.
“My speciality was utilising every scrunchie, comb and clip in my possession in the one hairstyle – I have since learnt to pare it back.”
Rebeccah, 37, has turned this obsession into a successful business, working with some of Australia’s biggest names including Carrie Bickmore, Sophie Monk, Jennifer Hawkins, Sam Frost, Dave Hughes, Yumi Stynes, Ruby Rose, Matt Preston, Hamish Blake and Andy Lee.
The first Blondie salon opened on Ormond Road in East Geelong in 2011, after Rebeccah spent years freelancing in television and fashion work.
“I made the decision to concentrate on the niche hair and make-up market, at the time there was nothing else here like it,” she explains.
“I had always maintained a following in Geelong and luckily Blondie was a success from day one.”
Blondie stylists divide their time between salon work, editorial, weddings, events, fashion campaigns, awards nights and fashion weeks.
“Our success is due to our team, a carefully curated group of the region’s top colourists, hairstylists and make-up artists each bringing something unique to the brand,” Rebeccah explains.
“We have garnered the attention of many social media influencers that call Blondie their go-to for all things beauty.”
Kate came on board as Rebeccah’s business partner in January last year and Blondie continued to grow.
“We had initially discussed staying on at our Ormond Road store for longer, with plans to find a bigger space in the future.
“But one day Josh, my partner, and I were walking past the empty old Provincial Living after a movie date night and I immediately fell in love with the large warehouse-type space, as did Kate when we went back the next day,” Rebeccah remembers.
“It really was a no-brainer as we were busting at the seams in East Geelong and really could not grow the business anymore without more space.”
The Ryrie Street salon, which officially opened on February 22, commands attention.
Interior stylist and Blondie customer Julia Green worked with Rebeccah and Kate to develop the salon’s design.
“She helped us to get a clear view of what we actually wanted to achieve, and the results are simply stunning, there really is not anything else like it,” Rebeccah says.
“As soon as Julia saw the site her first comment was ‘you have to paint the front pink don’t you?’”
Blondie is somewhere you walk into with pure awe for its style.
From a velvet couch designed by Adam Lynch made from old fabric Rebeccah had on hand, to the ply and leather furniture in the make-up area, to the Italian blush chairs, to the stunning Crown of Kahlo artwork spanning the entire wall behind the desk by Prudence Caroline, this space encapsulates the first words Kate and Rebeccah uttered to Julia about how they wanted the space to look and feel: feminine, unique, luxurious, soft and with wow factor.
“We never wanted to be just another white sterile salon,” Rebeccah says.
“We wanted our new space to portray a similar femininity to our old space but on steroids.”
With the move came more space for other extensions of the business – one of the beauty rooms is being used for Rebeccah’s eyebrow feathering business Brow Societe and Illume Body will also be doing spray tanning in another purpose-built room.
The salon also has a selection of drinks to sip on while you are having your beauty moment.
Rebeccah explains the business aim is to give people easy access to feeling beautiful.
“Our motivation has – and always will be – to help our clients look and feel like a more polished version of themselves,” she says.
“We just love beautiful glowing skin and healthy beautiful hair that is more undone than done.
“It gives us so much joy to help people feel beautiful inside and out – we cannot imagine doing anything else.
“We want our customers to be able to totally relax and enjoy having their hair done and, as such, we wanted a full experience service, as well as a feast for the eyes.
“We have hand-picked and designed our drinks menu to cater to every taste.
“It’s the little details that make clients feel at home and enjoy themselves, instead of feeling that it’s a chore to have their hair done.
“We want it to be accessible to everyone.
“Gone are the days were people felt indulgent having their hair and make-up done, it takes the stress out of doing it yourself.
“Our staff are approachable and our space is open to everyone, we even cut men’s hair – hence the three selections of beer.”
Like many woman, Rebeccah juggles work and family, with two sons, Frankie, 4, and Eddie, 1.
“I’d be lying if I said I wear all of my hats with ease,” she admits.
“I’m sure every businesswoman with children would agree, it is a constant juggle, the majority of the time I’m riddled with ‘mum guilt’.
“Pre-kids I thought I was busy, now it’s next level; sleep-ins are a thing of the past.
“My key to achieving some sort of balance is to be organised, having a supportive partner and starting the day early with some exercise, it helps me to clear my head and get the day off to a good start.”
The reception to the new store has been overwhelming, even before the opening, Rebeccah recalls seeing people trying to peek through the windows to get a glimpse of the beautiful space coming to life inside.
“Our move into the city is a positive one. With the inner city having a major resurgence, local creatives are bringing life back to the streets,” Rebeccah says.
“We are excited to be a part of this movement and excitedly await what is yet to come.”
Blondie is at 178 Ryrie Street, Geelong. Call 5222 1125 to make a booking. Follow Blondie on Instagram @blondie.salon and use the hashtag #blondiebabe
Rebeccah and Kate have created a stunning new space for their successful Blondie hair and beauty services. Interior stylist Julia Green collaborated with the pair to develop the statement salon. Photography: Hails & Shine