Deciding to enter the hairdressing industry at the age of eighteen was as much influenced by my interest in pursuing a creative career as it was out of the necessity to learn a skill whilst simultaneously earning some kind of income.
127 Bree Street
Cape Town 8001 South Africa
In South Africa, University is not subsidized in any way and is a luxury afforded to a privileged minority.
I needed to look at alternative options and hairdressing seemed like a fair gamble. Little did I know, I was about to embark on a love affair with hair that would ultimately transform my life.
I hold the belief that if you are going to do something, do it well, otherwise what’s the point, and so I found the number of five-time South African Hairstylist of the year Tony Martin and called him from a pay phone on my way home from school one afternoon and told him I wanted to be his apprentice. Three interviews later I was in and so it all began.
I put my head down and hustled hard for the years that followed, going on to explore various facets the industry had to offer. I worked on the cruise liners, I worked in fashion as a session stylist, l rented space as an independent stylist until finally on my 30th birthday I found myself with a business partner (Sonet Pope) and my very own salon called MOP in the centre of Cape Town’s busiest hub.
Opening a salon felt like the obvious next step and I thought it would serve to elevate me as a stylist and in turn my career. Very soon however it began to dawn on me that it was also the perfect platform to take on and nurture other young talent to grow and build successful careers for themselves in hairdressing the same way that I had. What an incredible opportunity to pay forward the opportunities that I had been granted.
The beauty of the hairdressing industry is that it is an incredible social and economic leveler.
It doesn’t matter where you come from, your race, religion, or financial situation, if you show up with a willingness to learn, a capacity to stretch yourself out of your comfort zone and a hunger to keep evolving both personally and professionally; with the right guidance, training, and environment – you can shoot the lights out.
Fast forward eight years and we are a team of twenty. Mop has become one of Cape Town’s largest, busiest, and most successful salons.
Many members of our team travel for hours on dangerous and unreliable public transport from impoverished areas. Some do not have running water.
Every day they show up immaculately dressed, fresh faced and ready for the day. Ready for a chance at building a better life for them and their families.
We help to gently shape our young apprentices into confident, knowledgeable, professionals through positive affirmation and a strong belief in a holistic approach to education.
Not only do we focus on teaching the skill of hairdressing but also what it means to create authentic, meaningful, and professional relationships with their clients and colleagues as well personal presentation and service etiquette.
We have created a training station in a separate room in our salon that consists of a large screen and seating where stylists and apprentices have access to international online education whenever they get a gap in their day. This way they can focus on specific areas they feel they need to put energy into be it cutting techniques, balayage, glossing or product knowledge.
For us, this is so much more than an entry for an award. It is an opportunity to honour and celebrate each individual that has been a part of our journey.
The individuals that have risen to the challenge, overcome unbelievable adversity, and still shown up over and over again to become successful stylists within our industry simply because we helped them believed they could.
This is Mop and this is our story. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to share it with you.
Our story started in 2012 and is still ongoing