Hair makeover for oldies

Written By : Lusia Vuruna. The principle “When what you have in your hands is not enough to meet your needs, what you have in your hands is your seed”
08 Aug 2008 12:00

image Written By : Lusia Vuruna. The principle “When what you have in your hands is not enough to meet your needs, what you have in your hands is your seed” is what Rockline Hair Salon, which is located at the upper level of Southmall Building in Suva has survived on since it opened its doors in 2007 and even though most hardcore business people might disagree, Pauline Vatu and John Smith firmly believe in it.
And to be charitable in these difficult economic times might seem like a difficult idea to fathom but for three hairdressers, spending the day with society’s senior citizens and pampering them to free haircuts is part of their business.
“We do this all the time. Its part of our business schedule and we also enjoy making them happy and listening to their stories,” Pauline said.
Vatu, Smith and another of their hairstylists, Apikali Tulele, on Tuesday earlier this week spent the day with residents of Pearce Home in Butt Street giving them professional haircuts for free.
They also believe that their talent of hairstyling was their gift and they make a point of sharing it with everyone, not only those who can afford a professional haircut.
Pauline and John, who together have more then 15 to 30 years of experience under their wings in professional hairstyling, opened their salon early in 2007 when the country was still reeling from the effects of another military coup.
Even though they were opened during one of the lowest points in Fiji’s economic history, Rockline still manages to visit different Homes for elderly citizens around Suva every two weeks giving them free haircuts.
Pauline said she has always liked seeing people’s face light up when they see the results of her work and this is also the reason she decided to pay fortnightly visits to the Home’s.
“I guess it was way back in my hairdressing years, I enjoyed the idea of pampering and making someone’s face light up, feel totally great, especially our dear old papa’s and mama’s.”
She said it was not only the good feeling she gained from the exercise but to listen to the ‘oldies’ reminisce about their younger days was always a draw card for the three of them.
“They really appreciate our visits and yes, those humorous and funny stories about their young years would have all of the stylists off their feet. They also have very good memories of who’s related to whom in Fiji and what used to happen during their younger days.”
Pauline also said another reason that kept them going back to residents was their experiences, especially the women with their food recipes.
“Yes, those mean food recipes. That is also one of draw cards, you can never ask for anything better so I guess that’s also what keeps us going back for more.”
Pauline said they would choose from a range from homes and try and make sure they fit these visits into their busy schedules as they get more precious every time.
“We choose from a range of homes, we try to fit them in all our schedules and this is done fortnightly.
I must say that every visit is most precious to us because we never know if we get to see them on our next visit.”
These visits have lead to emotional attachments between the hairstylists and the home residents.
“We also have come across loosing quite a few friends we’ve made since we started our visits.
So we make a point of treating every visit and meeting with the oldies as if it will be the last time we see them.”
Hairstyling, they believe, is a treat everyone deserves.
“We believe in having the ability to help client’s look and feel their very best. A treat everyone deserves.
“It’s like we all have a desire to continue while giving clients the very best of what we can give them.”
Pauline said they were frequently asked why they decided to open their salon’s doors early after the 2006 coup.
“The Rockline Hair Salon opened its doors early 2007 just after the coup and many asked us why. But we prefer to believe that we are just getting started.”
Meanwhile, for the residents of the home, the fortnightly visit by Pauline and her crew is a treat they anticipate with bated breaths.
Matron for the home, Emily Chang Lee said the visit’s from Rockline was always a surprise to her charges but they immensely enjoyed the opportunity provided by the hairstylists.
“They always surprise us when they come here. They make rounds to all homes around Suva and when it’s our turn we always enjoy it so much,
“We really enjoy their company and for those of who get their hair done, it is especially fun.
They get a chance to be pampered and get a treat. They also enjoy the chance to talk with the younger generation and share their experiences.”
Emily said the initiative by the hair salon and their hairstylists was a worthy cause.
“It is a really worthy activity they are doing and I wish them luck in their business. They deserve it.”

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