Ever thought about going blonde? In Subiaco, Perth, you’ll find Los Pastel, a salon dedicated to creating the best blonde hair. Run by Grace Clayton, a hairdresser with over 14 years experience, the salon has a relaxed, LA-inspired feel, aiming to recreate the feel of being in a living room rather than a typical hair salon. The salon also has an active presence on social media (with a growing Instagram following), and Grace has recently branched out into educating, by offering online and in-store workshops.
We spoke to Grace to learn more about how Los Pastel got started, the tools she uses to run her business, and her favourite hair treatments at the moment.
Tell us a bit about how Los Pastel got started.
Los Pastel was created 5 years ago (in August of 2016) as a space for my clients to come and feel relaxed, as if they were at home in my lounge room. There was a period of time between my last job and working for myself that I did my clients’ hair from home and they just enjoyed it so much more than being at a salon, so I wanted to create that same vibe. I started hairdressing when I was 16 (I’m now 31) honestly just as a way to get out of high school, but instantly loved it because it really clicked for me.
What do you love about specialising in blonde hair?
There was a time about six years into my career where I thought I didn’t enjoy hairdressing anymore. It wasn’t until I started working at Bleach London (doing very creative, colourful work), and another salon back in Perth that specialises in blondes, that I actually started loving going to work everyday, knowing that the pressure of doing the parts of hairdressing I didn’t feel I was as good at (mens’ cuts, tinting, etc) was gone. I love doing blonde hair because as a blonde myself I understand how frustrating it can be when it’s not done right, and I know how many different varieties of blonde there can be.
What is your favourite product or treatment at the moment?
My absolutely favourite product at the moment is the new K18 mist + mask. It has elevated my capabilities when lightening hair and we are seeing the most amazing results from our clients. It is the most repairing treatment I’ve ever used!
Tell us a bit about the workshops you run in-store and online tutorials? What made you want to create educational content?
I started teaching other salons a few years back. When I was posting more about my techniques on Instagram, people were so eager to see that in person - so I started offering a private workshop where I go into a salon and demonstrate my signature techniques that I use on all my everyday clients!
The more workshops I was doing, the more enquiries were coming through, and I couldn’t keep up as I still work full time on the floor. I decided to put some tutorials online for people to purchase, because some individuals who work for themselves might not be able to get me in person, and with the current COVID-19 situation I can’t always travel to where I’m wanted! I honestly just love educating and needed another avenue to keep things interesting for myself.
What are the biggest challenges day-to-day of running your business?
The biggest challenges day-to-day are keeping up with the demand of client emails and phone calls. But that pressure has now been relieved as I was able to hire my first receptionist earlier this year! I guess another challenge would be managing staff, but I am very lucky with my team!
How have you grown and expanded the business so far?
When I first opened Los Pastel, it was just myself and two chairs. Each year as the business has organically grown, I have taken on a new stylist and another chair - now we are up to 5 stylists and chairs. That is all we have room for in our little studio!
Why did you choose Square to help run your business?
I chose Square because I love a system that has everything in one place and looks sleek and professional on the front desk. It was also a lot more affordable than the system I was previously using.
What tools are you using with Square and what has been your experience with them so far?
I am currently using the Square Register and Square Appointments. So far it has been so easy to use, and our clients always comment on how fancy the Square Register is! They love the paperless receipts, as well as the online booking and being able to manage their appointments through the text confirmations. Personally I have also found the Square support team very easy to contact whenever we have needed help.
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Does the business have any exciting plans for the rest of the year?
I am very much a short-term goal kind of person, so no major plans in the near future, however we are in the final year of this location’s lease so there could be a potential move or expansion next year! Stay tuned!