Getting (and giving) a haircut has never felt so good

The waves of South Yarra residents with regrowth, frizz and split ends will be a thing of the past as hairdressers have been given the go ahead to open their doors after Victoria’s 6th lockdown. 

South Yarra hairdresser Peter Eppelstun stands at the doorway of his salon. Photo: Annabel MacDonald

 On October 26, hairdresser Peter Eppelstun will be one of 180 salons in Melbourne’s South Yarra area dusting off their capes and opening their doors for the return of beauty services. 

For Eppelstun, when reflecting on Covid, said despite his inability to work it has always been more than the job. 

“It’s the moment of just … connection … it feels like more than actually doing hair,” he said 

“I know I have the power to transform people but it’s the conversations that happen behind the hair, with the community, that’s more important.” 

The day-to-day challenges of running small businesses has expanded for many, particularly the beauty industry which has had to keep up with the latest restrictions. 

“An absolute challenge is having to deal with not only looking up new Covid information myself, but keeping my clients informed. That has been probably one of the hardest things I’ve had to do,” he said. 

However, using social media, Eppelstun has been able to stay connected to his clients and community by offering retouch packs to bide time until the government’s announcement. 

“The at-home dying touch-up packs have made such a difference. Growing up in country NSW, a sense of community always stuck with me wherever I went, if I can help, I want to,” he said 

“This has really helped keep things positive for myself and my little community.” 

Despite this, the lockdowns have taken a serious toll; the cancellations, the rent, and the lack of information has left many South Yarra salon’s questioning their future. 

“Most of the time not even knowing if your business is going to be there when you come back,” Eppelstun said of the stress. 

“Not knowing when (lockdown) was going to end is the hardest part because at what point do you go enough’s enough.” 

He said being in South Yarra through this time was personally and professionally worth the expense. 

“I have always had a strong clientele, but I feel like this area is who I am as a person too … I think now, out of everywhere I’ve worked, I’m connected with not just the clients but the with the community I’ve built.” 

Loyal client, Zali Reynolds, said that Eppelstun’s touch-up packs and click-and-collect visits “felt like (she’s) going to see a friend”. 

“I just knew that people would come to him wherever, especially through lockdowns, cause he’s great at what he does and such a nice guy … I’ve already made my first appointment  back.” 

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