Hair Talk with Tracey Hughes (Mieka Hairdressing)

Tracey Hughes is the Creative Director and founder of Mieka Hairdressing. The salon has recently been announced as Salon of the Year for 2012 for excelling in the industry.

I was lucky enough to talk to Tracey about the latest hair trends, and learn more about the Mieka experience:

How did you personally get started in the hairdressing industry?


I was 16 when I decided to become a hairdresser. I had initial aspirations of going to university to study law and politics to become a barrister. However I was naturally creative and when all my friends chose not to go to university I listened to my instincts and made the sudden decision to pursue hairdressing instead. I began my hairdressing career in 1986 as an apprentice at Christopher Boyton in the UK and became a qualified hairdresser in 1989.

Tell us a bit about your role at Mieka…

I am the founder of Mieka so my role now is the Creative Director. I am the team leader, and oversee all facets of the business. The main focus is on training the team and I am responsible for the image of the brand. My salons have fantastic managers.  I spend time personally mentoring and working with them to ensure consistent, smooth operation in both salons. The rest of the team are extremely motivated and invest countless hours and dedication into training.

I travel weekly, nationally and internationally, whether it be to conduct an industry seminar, teach a workshop, work backstage at Fashion Weeks in Australia and New York, style editorial photographic shoots, conduct media interviews, and occasionally work with clients! I have a very supportive husband who is also our Accounts Manager and takes care of all financial matters. My personal assistant helps arrange my schedules and my publicist manages our PR, marketing and media relationships. It can be difficult at times juggling so much, but I thrive on it and credit my success to the support network I am fortunate to have around me.

Tracey Hughes

Mieka Hairdressing has been announced as Salon of the Year for 2012, what can you tell us about this award?

This is a Business Award run by the Australian Hair Fashion Awards. The criteria takes into account every aspect of the business including: the quality of work, technical ability, customer service, operational systems, education and training, career opportunity, marketing and public relations.  So it’s a special award to win and be recognized as the best salon in Australia. This is the second consecutive year Mieka Hairdressing has won this award so it truly is a great accomplishment.

What do you think it is that makes the Mieka experience so special?

We believe we offer the highest standard of craftsmanship and great service.  Suitability to each individual is paramount to us so we always aim to achieve beautiful hair that is striking and wearable yet distinctive and individual. We consistently offer clients in-depth advice on how to care for their hair at home along with suggestions as to how they can change or update their look. The Mieka experience is special because we care about producing high quality work combined with a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere.

What do you predict will be the number one hair trend for Winter 2012?

The latest hair trends are drawn from timeless classics with a rebellious abandonment to create lasting appeal and modern urban chic looks. Whether hair is straight or curly, short or long, shiny or matte, the shapes are distinctive and colour is vivid.

The biggest trend this year is going to be in colour more than a particular style. Colour is playing a big part in fashion and this has translated to hair. For winter we will see beautiful rich tones of red, violets and chocolates on darker hair and soft pastel tones such as strawberry blonde and caramels on lighter hair.

Do you have any advice for people looking to become successful in hairdressing?

Focus all your energy on developing really strong fundamental skills first. Your initial training can set you up for future success. It’s important to master the classic foundation techniques as all advanced techniques are derived from them.

To become successful in hairdressing people need to possess both knowledge and strong technical skills to be able to be creative and to produce quality work.

Great communication skills are important when working with both clients and other team members. Keep an open mind at all times to allow your experience and creativity to flourish from many resources. Never stop learning and make the most of every opportunity that presents.

Make sure you are fully committed as it’s impossible to do it half-heartedly. You need to stay focused on what you love the most and then enjoy the ride of your life.

What do you look for in an apprentice?

We look for a positive attitude firstly. Our culture is based on growth and learning so we want team members that are wiling to keep training and embrace as much education as possible.  Manners, courtesy and a strong work ethic are imperative. Good appearance is important too since we are in a fashion-based industry. Everything else we can teach our apprentices so they just need to be open-minded and enthusiastic.

What is new in the world of hairdressing? Is there a next big thing?

Most techniques have already been mastered in hairdressing. Vidal Sassoon revolutionized the industry back in the 60s with the introduction of precision cutting. Techniques have evolved a huge amount since then but the fundamental methods have stayed strong.  Trends change and fashion changes so this influences the advancement of techniques. The next big thing hopefully will be for everyone to appreciate that no matter what is new, that having great hair is all about maintaining the health of your hair and being courageous to have an individual look that suits you the most.

Is hair balayage still in fashion?

This particular trend is starting to fade away now. We are still seeing a variation of tones in the hair similar to balayage but the trend is more towards feature colours.

Which celebrities have the most requested hairstyles right now?

For medium length hair it’s Alexa Chung, and we receive a lot of requests for her colour, but her short choppy bob is also requested on a regular basis.

The most popular requests for short hair styles are Michelle Williams and Ginnifer Goodwin, and for longer styles, our clients are loving the look of  Jennifer Hawkins and Dianne Krueger.

What tips do you have for a good hair day, every day?

  • To maintain your hair regularly you need to always use a professional brand shampoo and conditioner, as recommended by your stylist or technician, to keep the strength and softness of your hair and to prolong the life of your color.
  • Invest in regular in-salon deep hair conditioning treatments as they are a great preventative as well therapeutic measure
  • Always seek free expert advice, recommendations and education on what will suit you the best.
  • If you have a fantastic flawless haircut and maintain it every 6 weeks this will keep your hair at it’s best all the time.
  • If you follow all these great tips then you will have a good hair day every day!

What does being a woman mean to you?

Being a woman is about feeling beautiful. If a woman feels beautiful (through a great haircut and colour), her confidence is increased which will certainly help her get through the day!

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