Gemma Buckley is a hairdresser with more than 20 years of experience. After having children, she recognised the need for a hair salon that welcomes babies and children at appointments. With Gb Hair Design, Gemma has established a boutique salon in Marrickville that offers a professional service while catering perfectly to any littlies in tow.
Tell us about yourself.
I am a mum of two, a boy (3.5) and girl (2), and wife to one. I am British born and moved to Australia ten years ago to be with my now husband, and partner of 12 years, David.
What did you do prior to setting up your business?
I have always been in hairdressing; it’s all I have ever known, starting off sweeping salon floors at 13 years old to managing salons and being self-employed. I worked in hair replacement for a few years (cutting and styling hair pieces for men) before having my kids and taking a break from work.
What inspired you to set up Gb Hair Design?
I wanted to get back into hairdressing after taking over three years’ break to raise my two children. I knew I didn’t want to go back to working for someone or in a busy salon environment, and although I had considered mobile hairdressing or hairdressing from home those options didn’t appeal to me either. I was out having coffee with a friend one day and we were discussing how hard it is to get your hair done now with kids, and how great would it be to be able to bring your baby or kid to the salon and not worry about them bothering other people or trying to keep them entertained long enough for you to get your hair done.
This sparked the idea for my own child-friendly salon. My husband owns a gym in Marrickville and there was a huge area upstairs unused and empty, so Gb Hair Design was born.
What services do you offer?
I can cater to all your hairdressing needs: cuts, colours, kids’ cuts, treatments, even rainbow hair if you so desire!
What can clients expect from your services?
I can promise hairdressing excellence and a relaxed experience. Clients can bring their kids to their appointments knowing they are not disturbing anyone else. I have a massive area that babies and kids can utilise, full of games, puzzles, toys, books, Lego, a train, play pen, rocker … Everything! I have a huge TV with heaps of DVDs so if needed we can put that on too. There’s also a change table, high chair and microwave in your child’s food needs heating. Then in a small room in full view I have a 2-stationed fully functioning salon that your children are welcome to come in and out as they please.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
My clients, hands down! I have worked in small salons, big salons, city salons and village salons, but nothing beats my type of clientele: hardworking, deserving, grateful mums. I love the chats, and I love watching the kids grow up – each and every appointment they change and I get to witness it. I have more than 20 years’ hairdressing experience and can honestly say I love what I do. My job is now a pleasure and I do it for passion rather than for a job.
As a mum yourself, do you have any advice for new parents?
Honestly if I could take the time back to my first I wouldn’t have been so bound by pressure to be perfect – mostly pressure I put on myself admittedly – which at times overtook the pleasure of being a new mum.
Have you ever read a book that has changed your perspective or path in life?
A book … Hmm, probably not! Shamelessly the books I like are the Twilight series and Fifty Shades!
Favourite places in the Inner West?
I love good child-friendly cafes, and the Inner West knows how to do cafes very well. I also love Sydney Scooter Park for the kids and Newtown and Enmore for meals or nights out with the girlfriends.