Within minutes of putting the final touches to Naughty Nancy (yes the van has a new name) and switching on the fairy lights decorating the Preston Street warehouse, guests began tricking through the door to celebrate the launch of Eye Am Hair.
Champagne flowed, a symbolic hair snipping took place and many fabulously cropped and stylish clients and friends of Chelsea De Main helped welcome the copper clad, mobile salon into the world.
Since that magical evening in September, Nancy and Chelsea have barely stopped moving, attending their first events together and clocking up quite a few miles on the road.
In October, Nancy made her debut at Spring Fling, her bronze glory delighting both the crowds and the 120 other stallholders in North Melbourne’s iconic street festival. In addition to chops, crops, styles and blow waves, Chelsea enlisted the help of the talented Esra Ilhan to make Melbourne even prettier.
“I was shopping a few weeks ago and the girl who served me had the coolest hair wrap I’d ever seen,” says Chelsea. “She gave me the details of the friend who did it, so I tracked her down and got myself one.”
Chelsea says Esra’s cornrow style wrap tidied up all the short fuzzy bits growing back from her undercut.
“I told Esra all about the van and dropped a few hints about how well we would work together at festivals,” says Chelsea. “A few weeks later we we’re on the road together.”
For her first real festival experience Naughty Nancy made her way to the shores of Lake Burrinjuck just outside the ACT. The ladies made the 590-kilometer trip from Melbourne together to attend Dragon Dreaming Festival on the second last weekend in October.
Dragon Dreaming’s philosophy is to nurture Australia’s alternate culture, providing a platform for local musicians, artists and performers to showcase their skills.
Despite a winding trip along a mountainous dirt road testing Nancy’s axels and the girl’s nerves on the way in, Chelsea says the festival was much more than just all the lessons she learned being away in the van for the first time.
“It was absolutely incredible,” says Chelsea. “From the moment we arrived people were approaching us to make sure we had everything we needed to get set up.”
Chelsea says she was blown away by the sense of community among the other stallholders.
“I don’t think I was prepared for just how accommodating and lovely everyone turned out to be,” says Chelsea. “Because we all camp beside our shops, we are working, eating and partying together, and everyone is just so eager to help one another out.”Both Chelsea and Esra were kept busy for the duration of the festival. For four days Dragon Dreaming attendees stepped inside Nancy’s newly designed interior for a bit of salon quality pampering.
Over the course of a lot of styling, chopping, painting and glittering, Chelsea says she had the pleasure of meeting some incredible people.
“The Dragon Dreaming crowd were so cool,” says Chelsea. “I had more ‘total transformation cuts’ than I’d ever imagine doing in one weekend.”
She says several times girls who started off in the chair nervous and unsure, ended up egging her on to do more radical styles.
“I’m not sure if it was the festival or Nancy but they were really going for it,” she says.
Chelsea says she also experienced something she’d never really had the chance to as a hairdresser in the past.
“Usually once you’ve finished someone’s hair, they thank you, but then they’re up and out the door,” she says. “This time I got to see them on the dance floor, totally embracing their new look – it was pretty awesome.”
Despite a shoddy axil caused by an accidental trip home with a flat tyre, a week later Eye Am Hair set up shop for the day at Urban Gathering. The Rainbow Serpent launch part gave revelers a glimpse of what to expect when Eye Am Hair make its way to Beaufort for the real deal in January.
But that’s a little while away.
Eye Am Hair has a few more parties to stop in at before that – hitting up Return to Rio first from 13 – 15 November. This two-day gem will take place beside the Hawksbury River, an hour and a half north of Sydney.
The following weekend the girls will head back down south to hit up Panacea Festival from 20 – 22 November, in Tatong, Victoria.
Because sleep is not a requirement for rock-star hairdressers, from 27 – 29 November Eye Am Hair will be attending Paradise Festival in the Alpine Resort, in Victoria.
Then to bring in the new-year, the crew is heading to Lorne from 27 December – 1 January for Falls Festival.
“With a couple of day parties under my belt and such a great experience at our first festival, I’m feeling pretty good,” says Chels. “Although I did have a support crew of friends at Dragon, who were absolutely incredible, so the next test is to see if Nancy and I survive on our own.”
Chelsea says she’s currently on the hunt for a new location for the van and always on the look out for positive, fun people to come along for the ride.
“If you’re a hairdresser who can party and be professional, get in touch,” she says. “It’s going to be a very fun summer!”