The year was 1978 Melbourne Aus. The number one hit song was Staying Alive by the
Bee Gees, it was such a cool time to be alive, the fashion and music scene was so alive in Australia.
I take the train from a suburban station in the south east and head into flinders street, I was nearly 17 and felt very nervous but determined, I was on my way to an interview at a very well-known salon in Collins street called John Morrey.
As I walk down Swanston St. I remember thinking “wow I’m in the city “
I’d never been in the city on my own before it was a big deal, as I turn the corner and head to the location down Collins St. I remember finding the street number and was just in awe of where I had arrived.
To get to the salon I had to walk through a famous fashion shop called House of Merivale and Mr John, I didn’t know at the time of course, but it had such an impression on me…
I had the interview and to my excitement I was asked to start the next day at 8am, as I walked out I was jumping out of my skin and couldn’t believe what just happened.
I knew I just got a job in one of the best salons in Melbourne and felt so amazing, it just felt right.
From that point I knew that I was on the right path and I made a promise to myself that I would do my utmost in learning the art and learn from the best.
I had so much fear though, I remember thinking I don’t really know how to interact with this level of people, clients that went to this salon where not your suburban people but city people, people that I was not familiar with and I thought to myself, well I know I have good work ethics and that I was creative so I managed to put the fear behind me and just turn up the next day.
The first year was incredible.
My mind was opened to so much and met so many people, I worked long hours and also worked in a service station on weekends serving customers and started doing haircuts at home to earn more money.
This was a profound time for me as it really solidified my decision and I knew I was on the right track, even though my challenges where real It just felt good to be in the hairdressing career.
I didn’t have any doubts, so my plan was to just learn and work hard, gain as much experience as possible.
Working with John Morrey I was exposed to a talented and innovative team of hairdressers which he quickly I felt at home with, throughout my time at John Morrey I was also exposed to stage, seminar and photographic work at the early age of 17, which I was involved in over the 8 year period I worked for John, travelling around Aus. and New Zealand showcasing my talent with John and the team, winning several haircutting competitions throughout this period.
I finished my training within 4 years and in 1982 I took 3 months off to travel through Europe and complete a training course at the famous Vidal Sassoon Academy in London.
On my return I knew I was in the right place, giving me the opportunity to represent Aus. in Japan for a hairdressing South East Asia competition and for 4 years I started to do live seminar work onstage and photo shoots, one on one teachings, travelled abroad to demonstrate and be a part of various competitions with great success….I gained experience and built a solid clientele in the John Morrey Sth Yarra Salon.
As I progressed I eventually became Artistic Director for John and his salons. Teaching in his hairdressing school in the early eighties.
All my training and exposure to people and my industry had a profound impact on my once shy self.
In 1986 I decided it was time to realise my dream and open my first salon, called ROK Hair.
From that point I decided that I was going to approach my Art in a way that would be unique to me and my clients, I was going to cut hair dry.
While the Industry was still using the conventional method of cutting hair wet I decided that cutting hair dry was a better way.
I realised that hair cut wet restricted its ability to flow and in most cases the cutter would blow wave the hair to create the end result in the salon to a satisfactory result.
Cutting hair dry became my signature way of doing hair, I created a method whereby the hair was shampooed and treated, then dried off and then cut.
This method enabled me to see how the hair was falling naturally and I could determine the flow of the hair which created a freer flowing outcome that grew out well and maintained its shape and balance.
Clients are able to re-create the look at home with similar results I was achieving in the salon.
Over time I created a name for myself in the Australian Hairdressing Industry, winning Victorian Hairdresser of the year and runner up Australian Hairdresser of the year 5 times.
In 1992 I moved ROK Hair to a more sustainable space and affordable rental as we where in the middle of a recession, and coincidentally the old John Morrey Salon which I trained in came up for rent so I moved into the first floor space and created a more relaxed and studio style salon.
The 90s was a new dawn as we came out of the recession, it was time to reboot and my passion for success just got stronger, conducting seminars and shows throughout Australia and a continued thirst to share, employing 20 staff between 2 salons, the second salon was in Collins st. Melb. this was a very successful time for ROK hair and its staff.
This was an amazing Journey lasting 21 years, ROK hair was a noticeable force in the Hairdressing Industry from 1986 to 2007.
In 2007 I decided that it was time to change and opened and exclusive salon in the COMO Centre in South Yarra, within this period I knew that something was happening in the way I delivered my service. The salon was a concept store for the famous French brand called La Biotechniques, we focused not only on hair but make-up and scalp treatment services.
Training staff was of utmost priority, this was the foundation of the business and we did it with passion and devotion often working well into the evening. Our total focus became about servicing our clients like no other salon. It was a very intense but rewarding experience and I personally achieved so much from the 9 years it was open.
In 2016 I decided to close the doors and work on myself and my personal inner development, and in doing so have realized that my service is far more than just hair styling.
It’s an experience.
An inner journey for the client to reconnect with their true essence of who they are.
I guide people through the process of a new version of themselves that they never thought was possible.
I create for the soul, I design for the hair type and outer personality type.
Somehow deep down all those years ago I knew I was in the right career and that my challengers where all worth it, that my ability to create and express was all for a much deeper journey ahead.
Connecting with people one on one for so many years has given me the ability to transform myself and my clients.
I have the ability to create a peaceful experience.
I am caring and have great expertise in the Art of dry haircutting and styling.
My clients feel at ease and comfortable around me.
I create a safe space for them to share and express their desires.
I am a good listener and am very present most of the time.
I create a vision and suggest the best possible look for each individual.
My styles are easy to wear and grow out beautifully.
The end result creates a new feeling in my clients which attracts complements.
The Soulful Hair Experience
After a 3-year sabbatical in running my own salon and taking time out to work on myself in July 2019 I decided it was time to create my own space again. Under the banner of
Joe Giampa HAIR INC I created what is now called The CREATIVE SOUL SPACE.
Located on the world-famous Chapel st South Yarra, a first-floor studio which has been designed with creativity in mind, a space where artists and clients feel at peace for artists to create and for clients to receive in a calm and open way.
The CREATIVE SOUL SPACE has its own heartbeat, its own personality and its own identity. Created to invite and accommodate for both artists and clients. The artists become the brush to the canvas, the clients become the art.
The space evokes all the senses and creates a feeling of expression and trust, a space whereby creative freedom is encouraged, delivered with confidence leaving the client excited and confident that their experience was enlightening with the outcome of a beautifully designed haircut and style.
I asked for directions from a beautifully dressed sales woman and proceeded to go up the stairs.
As I entered the salon I thought
this is me,
" I want this career,"
" I want to work here"