Upclose with Melanie Bowdern

Written by

Where and how did you start?

I went from Bundaburg to Perth, I decided to get out of the small, well not really small town, to get out and explore the world a little bit more, and I worked in a lot of various salons in Perth. I did a lot of hair shows, lots of competition work, things like that. I gained a lot of experience there (Perth). Then I moved all around Australia, working in various salons gaining lots of knowledge and experience from all aspects of hairdressing.

When did you feel it was time to start your own business?


I was managing a few bigger salons in Newcastle, and I got married and had a baby. After the baby people kept approaching me to get their hair done, and it started with just a few people here and there. Then it just became a full time job, after a few months it was sort of like I had to. It was like "You're doing this, you have no choice".

So everything kind of fell into place?

Yeah, It just happened, it wasn't really a thought out process. And I thought, "I can do this, I suppose this is it, this is what it is, it's a business". So I turned it into a fully functioning business and I've been working for myself for 12 years now.

So, what inspires you, what makes you want to keep going?

My friends and family inspire me.

What's one piece of advice that you give someone wanting to start a career in hairdressing?

You definitely need to be passionate, hard working, persistent, and having a little bit of a quirky touch helps as well, like a little bit of an artistic edge. You definitely need to have a passion for style, or fashion. If you don't have passion for it you just won't do it. It's not the type of job you just do, you've gotta really love it.

Describe yourself in three words.

That one's hard (she laughs). I 'suppose happy, bubbly and a little bit quirky sometimes.

What makes you different and why should people trust you?


I think because I'm passionate about what I do and believe in what I do. My aim is to try and create something beautiful for my clients and also something that they're able to manage, and to get to know them as a person. My ultimate aim is for them to come in, sit down and say, "Do what you like," and they feel great and trust me enough to know that I have their best interest at heart and that I'm going to make them look the best.

So what brings you to Radiant Day Spa?

I think that it was just a good match, I think that was something that was always going to happen at some stage. It's hard to describe because its always popped up from time to time, that name, 'Radiant, Radiant' and I don't know what drew me here, but when I met Natasha (Radiant's Director) we just got on really well, we connected. It was just meant to be.

Have you ever witnessed a hair disaster?

There was a time a mother walked into the salon in Perth, and she was crying. Behind followed these two little children, a little boy and a little girl. I just quickly glanced at her and she had something in her hands and I looked at the kids, and then I looked at the mother.

At that point I've realised one of the little girl's piggytails were missing, it was gone (She laughs). The little boy and little girl had decided to play hairdressers at home. It was so cute but so naughty, but so funny at the same time. It was just like, "Oh no!", it's like your worst nightmare for your children.

This beautiful little girl had beautiful long hair, and one piggytail was just gone, and the other one was there. (she laughs) So it was very cute,and the mother did see the funny side in it a few months later.

We did have to chop off a little bit off the girl's hair. I still have a giggle at it, because I remember the little kid's faces, they were just like, "Mummy grounded us, we're in big trouble." and the mother's got this piggytail, as if I could glue it back on or something. And you know you can't really do a lot to fix that, other than counseling, and the reassurance that the hair will grow back and she will be ok. As a mother now I realise that she would've been pretty devastated to think your little girl now has a little boy's haircut.

Where can our readers find out more about you, your work and Radiant?

On the website, and Facebook. Dropping into Radiant and chatting to one of the staff is also a great way. While you're there you can always relax in our VIP lounge.