Loxy’s Kate Jarrett on juggling business and family, ditching the corporate world, and finding success
Auckland’s go-to destination for hair extensions, Loxy’s, has certainly come a long way since its humble beginnings in a cabin on the front lawn of founder Kate Jarrett’s home. Despite a testing few years, 10 years on, it’s clear Kate’s passion still shines as bright as day one.
Below, Kate dives into her journey—from ditching the corporate life to overcoming challenges—and what she believes is the secret to Loxy’s success.
PC: Talk us through your career in hairdressing and your journey to starting Loxy’s…
Kate: It’s a bit of a wild ride! I am from the corporate world, and never formally trained in hairdressing. I fell into hair extensions after having them myself for many years, then eventually deciding to train to do them as a weekend hobby. The more I did them, the more I loved them. I eventually hired a porta-cabin for my front lawn and began unintentionally building my business that’s today known as Loxy’s. The rest is history and I’m still mind blown by where we are at today!
PC: What does a typical day in your life entail?
Kate: I am Mum to three young kids (11 months, 3 and 6) so to say it’s hectic from start to finish is the understatement of the century ha! On the days I have a couple of hours help, I work from either my home office, a co-working space or pop into the salon for meetings. When I’m juggling, I’m on the phone constantly and then aim to nail my to-do list during the lunch nap. I’m fortunate to have an incredible team and a GM and salon manager who hold down the floor.
PC: Is there a signature aesthetic Loxy’s is known for?
Kate: I’d say we’re most well-known for wavy balayage, extensions and long luscious healthy hair!
PC: How would you sum up the Commercial Bay and Ponsonby salon’s overall vibe and aesthetic?
Kate: Ponsonby is classic, light, and airy and there’s a beautiful sense of Loxy’s history there because we’ve been there with so many clients since day one.
Commercial Bay is more modern, with a fresh twist on our traditional colour palette (the introduction of a stunning deep red). It’s flooded with natural light and florals and a more mature version of the brand.
PC: At present, how many staff members make up your team? Talk us through the salon culture…
Kate: Currently, we have 22 team members across both locations.
I’d sum up our team culture as inclusive, uplifting, positive, and encouraging. Traditionally, hairstylists would work in quite an insular way – guarded when it comes to ‘their clients’ and a bit of competition at times. That’s the complete opposite to how the team operate at Loxy’s. We have stylists of all levels helping eachother and collaborating on formulas, and without fail, always an extra pair of hands when needed. I’m immensely proud of the team and the way they have each other’s backs.
PC: What has the journey been like navigating the challenges of the past few years?
Kate: I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t incredibly challenging and all-consuming at times. Last year’s 100 days of lockdown for us (whilst heavily pregnant) had me personally go to some very dark places trying to navigate it all. I wanted to throw in the towel more times than I can count. Some of the conversations and decisions I’ve had to make over the last couple of years for the greater good of the business and the wider team won’t be ever forgotten and weigh heavily on my heart. But we’re here… we’re still standing and I’m so proud of that!
What do you think are some of the biggest challenges facing the hair industry today?
Definitely staffing shortages, the cost of staff and growing overheads, which of course flows on to pricing increases for clients. I’m sure most salons will be feeling the financial impact of lockdowns for many years to come too – our industry was hit so hard.
From single-use packaging and chemicals in hair dye to energy efficient practices, there’s still a lot of strides to made from a sustainability sense. What work is Loxy’s doing to reduce their environmental footprint?
I’m incredibly proud that we are members of the Sustainable Salons initiative. What this looks like on a day-to-day level is recycling almost everything we can. From hair clippings on the floor to old chemicals to broken hairdryers.
How do you go about selecting what salon brands to align with and what brands do you currently work with?
We work with brands that have a conscience and values that align with ours. We don’t want to feel like a number to a big corporation, just in the same way that our clients don’t want to feel like a number when they come to see us. That made our decision to work with Davines for our colour and retail range an easy one. We also work with Olaplex, Cloud 9 and have our own brand of hair extensions and brushes.
What do you think has been the key to Loxy’s success in an increasingly competitive market?
We’ve established a reputation for our unique method of hair extensions, which involves no gluing or braiding. I think we’ve been pivotal in changing the stigma that hair extensions are crazy long, unnatural looking and damaging. Our ethically-sourced extensions look authentic and are kind to your scalp, easy to maintain and last significantly longer than other methods.
I also attribute our success to the team – they truly care for their clients in the same way I did when I was on the floor.
Who have been some of your biggest mentors/supporters or influences over your successes?
Mentors, supporters and influences…all three would be my family. From the get-go I’ve had nothing but support for all things Loxy’s and I’m immensely grateful for that. I am also friends with some incredible women in business; Kelly Coe (Augustine), Kathryn Wilson, Sally-Ann Mullin, and Taryn Kljakovic…to name a few inspiring ones I look up to.
I’ve also worked with a couple of great business coaches over the years and took on a silent business partner who has helped shape me into the resilient woman I am today, both personally and professionally. I am a very lucky lady to have such a supportive community around me.
As we head into the busiest time of year for hairdressing, what does a typical day in the salon look like you and the team?
On a typical week the team do a four-day week. This means longer days but the bonus of more late nights for clients and an extra day off for the stylist. It’s important the team spend time filling up their own cups, so they’re able to provide the level of service we’re known for. In the two weeks pre-Christmas they pick up an extra day per week. It’s a full-on couple of weeks and we’re all ready to collapse by the end of it!
How do you still prioritise you and your teams’ wellbeing over this period?
Working around this time is equal parts hectic and amazing. The energy of everyone in the salon is always incredible as everyone’s excited for the break ahead. We always provide snacks throughout the busy period so that the team stay fuelled and often organise pizzas/easy lunch options for on-the-go.
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