View Amiee Marie's website here: https://www.amieemarie.co.nz/
Emily: Hello Amiee! Amiee, would you mind please telling us a little more about yourself? Where did you grow up? Have you always wanted to be a hairdresser?
Amiee: Yeah sure, so I grew up in Wellington, New Zealand. I dropped out of school in year 12 and I didn’t know what I wanted to do…I didn’t want to be a hairdresser. I don’t have a glamour story; you know how some people are able to say they used to play with doll’s hair or they’ve known since a young age, I don’t have that story. I sort of just fell into hairdressing! One day I saw in a shop window that a hairdressing course was being advertised and I thought I’d give it a go…I ended up loving it and so I started my apprenticeship. I stayed in Wellington for a few years and then I moved to Auckland in my mid-20’s. So I was about 20/21 when I finished my apprenticeship.
Emily: Do you think it makes a difference who you do your apprenticeship with?
Amiee: I think so…I could have quit. I was told that I wasn’t cut out to be a hairdresser…and then it was my mission in life to prove that person wrong! I wasn’t going to give up. I had a Dutch employer (Richy Harper??) who was very strict, and we were always doing something, never standing still! You were foiling mannequin head with conditioner even! That was a really good base training and from there I found my niche, which is balayage.
So yeah, I stayed in Wellington for a little while and worked in a couple of different salons – one of my favourite salons I was the only hairdresser. It was a beauty salon and so the others in there were doing beauty but not hair. I loved it, I really loved it!
Em: You can tell you still really love it! I love your hair, I hope to look as good as you when I’m your age… because you’re only a couple of years older than me aren’t you?
Amy: yeah, (laughter) I’m 41 this month… so I’m potentially going to have my birthday in lockdown…. Cause you’re a mum, right? After you have children, your hair just thins….
Emily: Yeah! So what did you do to get your hair so voluminous…?
Amiee: I do a lot of things now! I don’t use heat styling, I let it air dry, I try eat enough protein, I take collagen, and try to drink lots of water. I think heat styling is the biggest thing, I don’t really do that very often anymore – it’s my beachy vibe! (laughter)
Emily: …and that beachy vibe suits you so much. We noticed you’ve changed your name on Instagram actually to match it a bit more. Do you want to talk us through the reason for that change?
Amiee: I’ve been wanting a change for a while, and I spoke to Nicole from Melbourne Hair Blogger. She said, “why don’t you change your name?”...and I said “well I’ve been thinking about it, there is just a few things that are stopping me”. And talking to her just made me not think about those reasons, she really encouraged me to just do it!
Emily: Nicole is actually a client of Foil Me, pretty much right from the beginning! So, Amiee, you’re inspired by the ocean & you’re lucky enough to have the ocean right behind you…how does this impact your daily life?
Amiee: I’ve always grown up around the ocean, not necessarily on the ocean but within walking distance. I feel my most relaxed, my most happiest and most calm [when I’m near the ocean]. With my salon here, I just feel I’m doing my best work. I’m calm, I’m happy, I’m chilled. I’ve loved it, even as a child.
Emily: We really get that vibe from you – you’re very meditative, you’ve got that aura of calmness around you.
Amiee: I don’t think my family would always think I’m calmed and chilled. (laughter)
Emily: So we have here a question about your techniques – do you have go-to techniques or does it vary on the client you may have?
Amiee: Often my clients want some lightness on the top…I tend to attract clients that want colours that I like doing. So I’ll always talk to the client and decide together what we think is best.
Emily: How do you manage having two clients at the same time?
Amiee: It can sometimes be quite stressful – I allow an hour to have a colour and then go from there. Sometimes I excuse myself to rinse a colour and that kind of thing. I only work school hours, so I just make it work. After the lockdown I may have to do only one client for a while, who knows, but I just allow an hour for colour appointments and then I just make it work…I don’t know how, I just do.
Em: …and do you have a conversation with the client getting the hair done?
Amiee: Yeah exactly, I’ll speak to each client while they are doing their colour and the other understands. My clients also get along really well, sometimes their repeat appointments will line-up so they walk in and say ‘oh, I’m with you again!’. They do enjoy coming here and the social aspect, but it’s not too busy.
Em: That’s why I love you guys [hairdressers] – you’re the pinnacle of society. Our Prime Minister has said that hairdressers are essential – and you certainly are. You become a part of that person’s friendship circle, whether you want to or not.
If you have your client’s back to back, what is your timing for your color application?
Amiee: I generally allow an hour tops.
Emily: Do you use a booking system?
Amiee: I’m so old fashioned – I use a book or a diary. I can’t use a diary on my iPhone either…I have to write it down in an actual diary. I’m probably going to have to move with the times though…
Emily: Sometimes by not moving with the times you become more innovative, personal too!
Have you thought about how the lockdown might change your process for the good, or do you think it will go back to normal?
Amiee: I don’t think it will go back to normal – we [in New Zealand] have levels, and we are currently in level 4, then we will go to level 3 and we still can’t open, and I think we will have to do social distancing when we go back to level 2. Probably 1-1 appointments. Our Prime Minister’s goal is to eradicate COVID-19 completely. If COVID-19 is going to hang around, it might change things. Bigger salons are going to stagger staff in the salon, but I’m in a salon by myself. It’s an interesting time - I never thought we’d live through this in our lifetime. I never thought something would stop me from working. I’m still learning, but I’ve stopped clients. I’m about to launch a website. Learning but stopped earning.
Emily: The website…we will discuss further *nose touch* We’d love to have you on board with us even more, Amiee!
Let’s talk about your social media? How did you grow a following so quickly? You’ve been around since before I started Foil Me right?
Amiee: Yeah, so my salon in October 2020 will be 6 years old. I started Instagram prior to my salon opening. It wasn’t such a saturated market back then. I worked on my page everyday – I was interacting, I was following international stylists, I was getting shared by Behind the Chair, Modern Salon. That helped a lot! There was no algorithm back then either, so it [posts] showed up in people’s feeds at time of posting. The [introduction of the] algorithm was an interesting time and definitely slowed my growth. I’ve been seeing Nicole – I thought I new everything about Instagram, but I don’t. I’ve plateaued a bit with the Instagram. I gone a bit stale myself, life gets in the way and I got a bit bored. But if you want to grow your account you’ve got to be active. You’ve got to be social…it’s called social for a reason!
Em: Yeah exactly, if someone follows me who has heaps of followers but hasn’t posted in a while I block them…I find it strange that they want to keep an eye on you without sharing their lives.
Amiee: It’s also how you meet people – I’ve got online Instagram friends. I followed you guys almost from the start!
Emily: Yes, definitely, you were one of the first in New Zealand. Thank you for your loyalty. How do you feel being in the ambassador group? We’ve got them in Australia, Canada, the UK, the USA, and New Zealand obviously.
Amiee: I love it, it’s great! It feels like a family even though I haven’t met them. I’d love to all get together someday.
Emily: Like an ambassadors tour – we’ll start planning!
So Amiee, what is one of your greatest achievements?
Amiee: Having my children. I never thought that I would be a mum. I had my first child when I was 30 and my second when I was 33. It is hard work but those two boys are my greatest achievement! Then my salon, I have had it for about 5 & ½ years now. I had maternity leave for 5 years before that and it drove me crazy being at home, so I was really excited to get into it!
I only started 1 day a week in salon, and then grew to 2 days, 3 days, etc. I grew my clientele through Instagram and Facebook. My friends would follow me, then friends of friends.
Emily: Do you have any tips for growing your business on social media?
Amiee: My biggest tip is just being active. You can’t just expect the account to grow without doing any work – it almost becomes like a second job. I talked to Nicole from Social Salon School – I thought I knew a lot, but I’ve learned a lot from talking to her.
Emily: What’s something you’d like to achieve in your life and career?
Amiee: Probably my guitar…I’ve always wanted to be a rockstar. I definitely cannot sing so I won’t be going down that road! I really want to learn the guitar and I’ve been trying. It’s definitely not as easy as I thought – practice. I’m currently learning ‘Knocking on Heaven’s Door’ by Bob Dylan. My goal is to play a whole song without stopping and without having to think about it, it just comes naturally. I’ve got a tutor I was seeing once a week before lockdown. I’m a complete beginner…I’ve put a couple of videos up but I’ve muted the sound.
Emily: I’m sure once you get it going you’ll be great. I can totally see you in a leather jacket with your hair teased up. Would you have gotten into those 80’s styles – did you do the hair to the side?!
Amiee: Oh yeah! The fringe, the side-pony! (laughter)
Emily: I bet that would've looked awesome! Okay, so do you have anything else you’d like to share with us, Amiee?
Amiee: Nah, I’d just like to thank everyone who’s following me. I have conversations with a lot of my followers – I want to thank everyone for following me and my hair journey. It’s been a journey and it still is. I’m not ready to stop yet.
Emily: Yes! And we don't want you to stop either! For those of you who aren't following Amiee Marie, her new Instagram handle is @thesurfergirlbalayage – very inspirational, her style is very chill, beachy balayage. Thank you so much for your time, today, Amiee.