Three Minute Squiz With… Amber Turnbull

Amber Turnbull is the General Manager of Just Cuts, the Aussie start-up-turned-franchise-business. She’s a ball of fun and an advocate for the benefits of meditation to manage an at-times stressful job. She’s a solid Squizer so we’re stoked to have her for a Three Minute Squiz.

When and where do you Squiz?
When I wake up, check my apps, emails and calendar for the day ahead.

As a kid, being a hairdresser was in our top three dream jobs after becoming a vet (think Vicki on A Country Practice) or a jockey (that was never going to happen). Tell us the industry is a fun as we hope it is?
Lucky for me it is actually a very fun industry, hairdressers are real creatives (I am not). Everything that we do from the ivory tower as they say must be EASY for our 3,500 hairdressers to interpret and impart their knowledge to over 100,000 clients per week. It is a fun space to work in. My day can go from product testing, hair model, photo shoots to franchise, legals, shop fit-outs or a profit & loss statement. Never a dull moment.

Just Cuts is a pretty massive brand these days, give us the rags to riches story?
In 1967, Denis McFadden arrived at Southampton Docks as part of a world cruise with P&O styling the hair of first-class passengers. In the same year, at the age of 21, and having decided to stay in London for a while, Denis won the Richard Henry inter-salon colour trophy final in London. Just two years later, Denis opened his very first salon, Dantes, running it for 10 years before returning to Australia in 1979. In 1983, he decided to run a simple promotion to boost business at his humble salon in Sydney and offered all clients a “no appointment, $6 Style Cuts”. The response was outstanding and the idea of Just Cuts was born.

We’ve now grown to be the largest hairdressing company in the Southern Hemisphere. We are very pleased that our very first franchisee still runs her own Just Cuts today and is a very active franchisee in the group.

What’s the biggest challenge in the industry?
Finding hairdressers. We have over 250 hairdresser vacancies across the country right now. Unfortunately, hairdressing is not on the skills shortage list and is not being supported as a career by the government anymore. It makes it very difficult to open new stores and create convenience for customers when we do not have enough hairdressers in the country.

What’s the most requested haircut?
The most popular male Style Cut at the moment is the men’s Fade. Our clients across the country are 50% male & 50% female. Most women in Australia just want a trim as only 35% of women colour their hair in a hair salon. Lucky we offer take home colour. Women are opting for the Lob aka “the long bob” in 2018.

You have a very big job. What’s your best tip for busy and overstretched people?
I’m lucky that I love my job, however, it can be stressful as I’m writing this now it’s 11pm in London where I am for a week of work and it’s 9am in Sydney so my team are about to start their day. It’s stressful working two days in one. I’m truly lucky that I discovered Vedic meditation five years ago which I do every day. It’s the only thing I have stuck to in my life and would highly recommend. It has truly changed my life.

What does an ideal weekend look like?
An ideal weekend for me would be doing the Coogee to Bondi walk with my partner Fletcher and our dog Chewie. Along with going to my favourite restaurant at the moment Clove Lane in Randwick.

What skill or talent do you not have but wish you did?
I guess I should say to be a hairdresser, this would make life easier when we are opening a new salon.

Name four people – living or dead – you’d kill to sit down to dinner with.
I have two. I would love to have met Nelson Mandela, talk about not holding a grudge or feeling like you could never achieve anything. I think he was a truly inspirational man with such determination. The second would have to be my grandfather Fred Robinson. My grandfather owned a petrol station in Chatswood, his mates started selling their cars on the corner and he turned it into Chatswood Toyota. He passed away when I was young but as a businesswoman now I would love to talk to him about it.

What’s your best and worst habit?
Worst habit that depends who you ask in my family. Personally, I would have to say that I am on my phone too much. My best habit is meditation, of course.

What’s your favourite book?
I love true stories, I truly enjoyed reading Lion by Saroo Brierly. I have many favourite books – I’m reading The Good Hustle by Polly McGee the moment.*

What’s your no-fail dinner party recipe?
Well, you got me here, I’m actually a terrible cook. My no-fail plan would be to bring my partner along to cook for me. I can do a pretty good zucchini slice if I had to though.

What qualities do you most value in a friend?
Laughter, I enjoy nothing more than catching up with my girlfriends and having a good laugh.

What would you say is the most currently overlooked news story we should know about?
Female deaths in Australia due to family violence. Our justice system has failed so many Australian women.

*If you buy these books using these links The Squiz gets a little commission.

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