Almost a year ago to this day Chelsea De Main was taking in the sights at a summer festival when she happened to stumble upon a hair salon in a shipping container.
“I came across the pop up salon, and although it was a great idea, it seemed that it wouldn’t be particularly easy to transport,” says Chelsea. “As soon as I got home I started exploring the idea of a salon on wheels – I wanted something mobile enough to travel to festivals, weddings or other events around the country.”
In her research, Chelsea found that while the portable salon was beginning to take off overseas, the idea was yet to hit Australian shores.
“I promptly resigned from my job as a hairdressing trainer, enrolled in a business start-up course and began investigating the logistics,” says Chelsea. “After many hours of hunting for the perfect vintage caravan, decent car for towing and warehouse space to operate from, the wheels were in motion. Eye Am Hair was born and now the journey begins.”
Chelsea has been hairdressing for 14 years. Prior to launching Eye Am Hair, she’s worked as an educator, an international session stylist, platform artist and salon owner.
“I love the variety that this career offers,” says Chelsea. “With Eye Am Hair I’m combining all of my previous experience, to offer a new concept to the traditional salon hairdressing.”
Chelsea says she hopes that going out on her own for this next career stage will be the ultimate creative challenge.
“I felt that establishing myself independently would allow me to get my vision out there exactly as I’d imaged it.” says Chelsea. “At times it's difficult being the sole decision maker, but I’m lucky to have really good support from family and friends around me.”
Chelsea says being her own boss is important, and something she wants to help other hairdressers achieve.
Once Eye Am Hair – the prototype – is successfully up and running, Chelsea intends to turn the business into a franchise.
“Once I’ve nutted out all the logistics of operations I’d love to make it easier for the next guy or girl to take a similar path of adventure and buy their own Eye Am Hair van,” says Chelsea. “Working on your own is great, and when it allows you to be creative, meet amazing people and travel, then it doesn’t really feel like work.”
Although, over summer, Eye Am Hair won’t be strictly a one-woman show. Chelsea is hiring a subcontractor to tour the country with, so they can take on the festival circuit together.
“We’ll take the van on the road, stopping off where we’re needed or maybe just because we like a place,” say Chelsea. “We’re also looking at visiting remote areas along the way that don’t have access to hairdressing services – Eventually I’d love to teach again as well in the more isolated communities.”
Outside of touring Eye Am Hair is taking bookings for all hairdressing services, functioning from within a warehouse space in Preston, Melbourne. As well as operating out of the arts hub in the North, the duo will make themselves available for a limited number of private at-home appointments as mobile hairdressers.
Chelsea says Eye Am Hair lovers should keep a look out for the van at bigger local events, markets and festivals around Melbourne, where on-site access for the salon is possible.
“I’m also looking into using the cutter van to cater for artists backstage at festivals or even as an onset trailer for TV and movie stars,” she says. “This next chapter means getting to travel a lot over summer, while maintaining my loyal clientele in Melbourne – I’m really excited.”
Eye Am Hair is launching with a bang in the coming weeks. Stay tuned…