Home » Beauty File: Five minutes with Joico NZ Guest Artist & WOW Finalist Felicity Bruce
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Beauty File: Five minutes with Joico NZ Guest Artist & WOW Finalist Felicity Bruce

Beauty File: Five minutes with Joico NZ Guest Artist & WOW Finalist Felicity Bruce

A business owner, hairdresser, guest artist for Joico NZ, musician, sustainably advocate, and a finalist in this year’s World of WearableArt, Felicity Bruce is a creative who wears many hats. Not one to stand still for long, ProCollective jumped at the opportunity to catch-up with the multi-talented hairdresser.

Ahead, we take a peek inside Felicity’s career journey, most memorable moments, and of course, her favourite haircare products right now.

ProCollective (PC): Talk us through your career in hairdressing and what led you to founding Cocoon Hair Design?

Felicity: In 1998, I began hairdressing at Goldfingers in Timaru, which was the tailend of the perm trend! As the junior, I was busy running after the seniors and learning lots of classic techniques. A few years after completing my apprenticeship I moved overseas to Dublin, London, then Sydney. Working overseas was such a valuable experience. Returning to Timaru, I started Cocoon, working solo for a while until my best friend’s salon burnt down and she joined me at Cocoon. Not long later, we were evicted from the building due to earthquake damage. However, those relocations ultimately made us stronger business partners.

PC: What are three words that encapsulate Cocoon Hair Design? 

Felicity: Creative. Fun. Whānau. We are lucky to have a team of creatives that genuinely love what they do and support each other every day. Our clients also fall under the whanauumbrella as many have been with us for years.

How did you go about selecting what salon brands to align with in the beginning?

Felicity: This was quite easy! We had a list of things that we wanted from our brands; education, sustainability, and business support. One of the biggest things for me was sustainability, and when we were looking at brands in 2012, Joico not only made promises for the future but were already walking the talk with wind powered production and post-consumer recyclable packaging. 

It’s been a very challenging few years for the hair industry, what have been some of your biggest learnings?

 Felicity: Use the downtime. We are so time poor when we’re busy, so any opportunity we get to work on training we grab it. Either on a model or a dolly head. It helps keep you motivated! It’s also good for social media content and can inspire clients to try new things.

Secondly, always look after your bread and butter. There are clients that don’t necessarily spend a fortune but they are loyal and regular. They are your diehard clients, your best word of mouth and when they are in your chair, they uplift you and remind you why you love your job. 

If you had to pick (you’ve got a fair few career highlights!), what’s been your proudest moment in your career journey?

Felicity: Presenting on the Hair Festival education stage in Sydney with Josh Congreve, Carolyn Gahan, and Duncan Richards, was a dream come true. I loved the opportunity to create some epic looks and also share what I am passionate about when it comes to sustainability in the hairdressing world.

What do you think are some of the biggest challenges facing the industry today?

Felicity: I think hairdressing is constantly evolving, which is why I love it so much. Most people who get into hairdressing love the creative as well as the care/service aspects of the job. But, it is a hard job physically and mentally. Working on our wellbeing and physical longevity needs to be a priority. Changing our work habits, client expectations, and improving wages will really help attract and retain talent in the industry. 

You’re very passionate about reducing waste in the industry, what work is Cocoon Hair Design doing to reduce their environmental footprint?

Felicity: We looked at our salon footprint for each client service, how we could improve what we use, what we throw away, and what we could change. We evaluated everything, from water and towel usage, to stock delivery and packaging, to foil alternatives. We endeavour to make conscious choices to improve our footprint per client. We are lucky to be in Timaru where we have been composting hair for over 20 years but we constantly assess what we can change.

You’re also a Guest Artist for Joico NZ (Sabre Haircare), can you tell us a bit about what that entails?

Felicity: I get the opportunity to share what I love about Joico through lots of different ways; education sessions, social events, editorial, and fashion shows.

For the last eight years, I have been so lucky to work with Fashion For a Cure. Joico is a major sponsor of the series, which raises money and awareness for Breast Cancer Cure. I get to pull together a local team of Joico stylists to work back stage. I love creating beautiful hair looks, which enhance local designers’ pieces.

How has your relationship with Sabre Haircare influenced other areas of your career?

Felicity: I have loved being a part of the Sabre Haircare family! They are a fantastic team of people that I call my hair family. From business to education to social events, we have had so much support over the years. I love that I can come to them with my ideas about my business, team or creative endeavours and they back me with so much enthusiasm. Or, when Cocoon needs support, they are right there with ideas. I have also been able to connect with other like-minded people internationally because of the opportunities Sabre Haircare have provided me.

What are your favourite Joico products right now?

Felicity: I am obsessed with the entire Joico Youthlock haircare range; The shampoo, conditioner, masque and Blowout Crème! It’s a start-to-finish regime that makes your hair feel amazing. Formulated with collagen it’s all about achieving that youthful bounce, strength and shine.

Because you’re not busy enough, you’re also a finalist in the upcoming World of WearableArt (WOW) – congratulations! What did your submission for the prestigious event involve? 

Felicity: Creating the garment was a huge commitment. When I wasn’t working on it, I was thinking about it, looking at it, and visualising it on stage. The process is incredibly involved but so worth it! When we shot the images for the entry submission, then the first stage of judging commenced, that’s when my dreams were brought to life. I can’t wait to see it on stage, with the whole magic of the show, it’s been such an incredible experience.

How did the theme of this year’s WOW, ‘Beyond’, inspire your entry? 

Felicity: Beyond is such a great theme. The story behind my garment has come from stories / pūrākau from Te Ao Māori. The spirituality of Māori culture encourages dreaming, going beyond the here and now to the past and present. My garment is made with synthetic hair and tulle. I love that you can use hair to tell a story. 

Lastly, what advice would you give to young hairdressers starting out in the industry today?

Felicity: There are so many opportunities in hairdressing, from behind the chair to fashion shows, editorial, education, and beyond. Say yes to everything and learn from everyone.