Interview with Jane Smith – Toni & Guy trained hair stylist
When I moved over to Australia I knew I was going to miss things I had become used to in Eastbourne; The Ashoka Indian restaurant, my beautiful running group, Décor facials and not least my Toni & Guy hairstylist! Those that know me may not be aware that having my hair feel right has always been important to me and I had become so used to turning up to see Mark in Eastbourne Toni & Guy and just leaving him to it for the past 11 years and never had to worry about it.
Even when we were planning the move I felt reassured that just 20 mins down the road in Byron Bay was a Toni & Guy salon (Those of you who don’t know all Toni & Guy stylists are trained in the exact same unique techniques). So although I had to say good bye to Mark I could at least still get a Toni & guy cut. However, when we moved over and we took our first family outing to Byron and to my horror the salon had closed down. At this stage I was embracing all things new about moving to Australia so didn’t think too much of it and began to think I was probably being far too vain anyway and had thoughts like ‘ what’s wrong with looking a bit surf like and ’ I should just go with the flow and be less fussy’ ‘no one knows me here anyway’ ‘what the hell’ However, after several trips to 3 different hairstylists, one particularly bad experience, I decided that I desperately needed a Toni & Guy stylist…so off to Google where I discovered this link
Yes! Yes! And true to form she did the most incredible Toni & Guy cut……….the views from her studio are significantly better than those in Eastbourne to!
As I sat having my 3rd appointment with Jane she told me the story of her journey from Chester Cheshire to north coast N.S.W .
‘ We had never set foot in Australia before our arrival in 2005 – in fact we didn’t even want to live here! It was New Zealand we had set our hearts on following some fantastic adventure holidays.’ Jane went on to explain to me that back in 2005 they were not eligible for permanent residency in New Zealand and instead were advised by their migration agent to first obtain residency in Australia – This way they would be allowed permanent visas for New Zealand after their initial two years in Oz.
‘Getting our visa took for ever and there was so much paper work, 9 months went by before we were even assigned a case officer and the whole process took around 18 months – it was quite frustrating. As a hairstylist I was on the occupations in demand list so I knew it would only be a matter of time and eventually we received our subclass 175 visa. In 2005 we made the move to what was going to be a temporary home Australia.’
Being an outgoing couple with a taste for adventure Jane and Derris decided to take the plunge, they also decided to treat their time in Australia as a holiday. So they bought a campervan and set off to travel the entire country. And so began their journey. After two months on the road they reached Byron Bay ‘We just loved the vibe here and felt so at home – the environment is so stunning. We are real beach lovers and among other activities really enjoy the surf. This was a surf mecca and we seriously began to imagine ourselves settling in the Byron Shire. I took the time to check out some work opportunities and received many positive responses – there was even a Toni & Guy 2 mins walk from main beach central Byron! (The salon mentioned above that has since closed down!) This place offered us everything – However we were committed to a period of travel so off we went to explore more of what Australia had to offer – A country that was rapidly finding a permanent place in their hearts.’
‘Initially I worked at the Toni & Guy in Byron Bay as Art Director and Derris found some online marketing work in the Gold Coast ‘ When asked about how they adjusted to the culture and life out here in Oz Jane explained that it was all really plain sailing – they made friends easily and found a huge amount of other migrants in the same position as them ‘ Everyone was so friendly and the Australian outdoor lifestyle suited us so much’ Although we had been active in the UK things are more set up for outdoor pursuits over here and of course the weather has to help!’ We were also fortunate in that we had many friends visit us in that first two years – even in the first year while we were travelling so didn’t really get the chance to miss people. We were too busy having a great time.
As life settled down Jane opened her own hair studio in Byron which was very successful until eventually they brought their own home just outside of Byron town and opened her own home studio. I can honestly say that the views from the basin as Jane washes through my hair are second to none – her studio is smart, modern and in the most unique surroundings. She is also very busy with her bridal makeup and hair design and building a well-earned, outstanding repetition for herself. I feel fortunate to have found such a modem and creative hair designer trained to Toni & Guy standards.
Listening to Jane reflect on the move it seemed clear that they now consider Australia their home. They enjoy catching up with people during their regular visits back to the UK and have had ample opportunity to compare the two countries.
‘ I couldn’t live in England now I would feel too enclosed and we love feeling so close to nature here and the culture suits us so well.’ We have made great friends and make the most of what life has to offer us – that’s the thing really I’m a strong believer in making it work by putting in the effort. Sometimes people say to me your so lucky to have your life but its’ not luck is it Sally? We have made sacrifices but we have also worked hard to make life here work out – it’s not always easy but it is certainly worth it.
As I drive home along the aptly named ‘Scenic Drive’ I glance at the view across the Byron shire hinterlands, interrupted only by the blue of the ocean and the gleaming brightness of the sun. I reflect on Janes words and yes I have to agree with her – The journey can be extremely hard and adjusting to a new life brings challenges but the rewards are enormous. Focusing back on the road I catch my new hairdo in the mirror ‘I love my Toni & Guy stylist!’
Janes Top Tips:
Use a migration agent
Bring any UK documentation with you
Use a good shipping agent that comes recommended
Work at your move – make it happen and don’t give up!
Don’t be scared to do it – you can always go back if you don’t try you won’t know!