Hair salon in new hands

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Fusion Hair has changed hands.

The upmarket salon in Oamaru’s lower Thames St has been sold after 14 years by its founder, Debbie Tiddy, to Anna and Aaron Rae.

Mrs Rae had worked there two days a week for the previous 18 months. She is now full-time, alongside six staff.

The Raes arrived in the district three and a-half years ago with their baby daughter Emily. Mr Rae had been employed on an Outram dairy farm and was taking up a new position on a Waitaki dairy block.

They had always liked this part of the country, Mrs Rae said.

She had chosen to spend two years at home with Emily and would have preferred not to have to work on the farm. However, circumstances meant she had to help out.

She found she liked the balance of being outdoors with the cattle and indoors at the salon.

But eventually Mrs Rae was ready for a complete return to hairdressing – the career she began after school as a 13-year-old.

“It’s all I ever wanted to do.”

After sitting School Certificate, she took up an apprenticeship at the salon where she’d been working.

“It’s all I’ve ever done. It’s not just a job.”

Fusion is the first salon Mrs Rae has owned.

She has retained the existing staff, who she described as “such a great team”.

There were no plans to alter the salon, which Mrs Rae said was already a lovely environment.

“I feel very privileged to have been able to take on the business.”

She would like to hire more staff – an apprentice and more senior hairdressers – to cater for the increasing client base.

“The hair industry has evolved so much. We never stop learning. We’re big on education – we attend as much as we can and have educators coming here.

“We also learn off each other all the time.

“Hair and haircare and colour are always changing. That’s what’s so great about it.”

Being able to make people feel better about themselves was another facet of her profession Mrs Rae said was a privilege.

Emily also loves visiting her mother’s workplace, socialising with the stylists and having “glitter spray” applied to her own locks.