After working in the beauty industry for 14 years as a BarberAmanda Lunedai has seen every type of customer under the sun.
Amanda, 31, has gone from a wide-eyed young apprentice to an award-winning stylist, learning a hard lesson along the way, which is how to say no.
Speaking to 9Honey, Melbourne’s mom says there’s one kind of job she’s “banned” from ever doing again — weddings.
Amanda no longer accepts bridal clients she doesn’t know.
She says working with brides can be a tough, thankless job and she’d rather spend the day in the salon with clients she loves.
“I’m doing it for a client I know, but I’m not doing it for ‘random’ Instagram or new customers,” admits Amanda.
“Because not necessarily the brides, but mothers of the brides, bridesmaids and weddings in general can be annoying. Everyone is always stressed and they always think you can’t do your job well.”
Amanda says doing bridal hair on a wedding day is a “pressure cooker” environment that rarely goes smoothly.
After waking up at the crack of dawn and driving for hours to the destination, the 12-hour days of back-breaking work just aren’t worth it, she admits.
Doing the same haircut for the bride herself, five bridesmaids and her mother can be an exhausting experience.
“It’s very stressful, so I don’t do a lot of weddings. You have to get up super early and do the same four ponytails in a row,” she laughs.
“I don’t mind a wedding if it’s someone I know. But with every other bride I’ve done” [I’ve had a bad experience]†
The mother-of-one explains that the bride isn’t always the most difficult customer on the morning of a wedding — it’s the bride’s mother she always ended up arguing with.
“It’s the mother of the brides who was the last straw for me, because they normally have a certain hairdresser that they’ve been seeing for 25 years,” she says.
“They want their own hairdresser and will give you a hard time. Waking up at 5 in the morning is definitely not worth it.”
While weddings can be a touchy subject among the hairdressing community, Amanda says they’re also a perk.
Clients she has worked with for years often become her best friends, and she finds herself invited to clients’ weddings all the time.
She says women tend to bond with their hairdressers and she loves being such an important figure in their lives.
“I’m a social person and many of these customers, I call them my friends and family,” she smiles.
“Some of them had babies when I started and now they’re teenagers. If you work at the same salon for a long time, you definitely become part of their family. And I’ve been to a few weddings too!”
“It’s definitely not worth waking up at 5 in the morning, that’s for sure.”
When it comes to friendship in the salon, Amanda says it’s crucial to have a hairdresser you can trust.
A good hairdresser is like being your best friend – they will be honest about what will look good and which haircuts to avoid like the plague.
“Honesty is always the best policy. If someone brings me a photo and I think I can’t do it or I think there’s something that looks better, you win people’s trust,” explains Amanda.
“I’ll never just look at the picture and think, ‘Cool, I’ll do it.’ I’ll sit down with you and look at more photos, look at color charts. Good communication is more important than just thinking you can do anything.”
She adds, “A lot of hairdressers take on work that they don’t know how to do, but won’t say no. And you end up spending hours fixing that job.”
After months of lockdown in 2021 with no hairdressers or beauty services, Amanda is proud to help people find their confidence after a difficult year.
She loves to make someone smile after feeling beautiful again – whether it’s a gray retouch or restoring brunettes’ outgrowths.
If a silver lives from COVID-19, it was the fact that people realized how important her industry is. As Amanda says, it’s not all about vanity.
“During the pandemic, when hairdressers were closed, I think it was really hard for people to see the gray come through or see their blonde turn into st,” she says, “because hair is part of our identity.”
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