When I met Darren Grayson, I immediately felt comfortable and valued. This kind, caring man made me feel the same way he would make all his friends and clients feel; loved. He went to St Joseph’s College and proudly remembers a Year 11 careers assignment where he listed his top 3 careers; hairdresser, interior designer and architect. Congratulations Darren on achieving your aims!
“I’d not long started hairdressing and was in America for the Hairdressing World Championships. I boldly strolled down Rodeo Drive, Beverley Hills with blonde ‘Wham’ hair flowing. I put my resume in to Vidal Sassoon and would you believe it, I was invited back! But Mum didn’t want me to leave Geelong that young, so she set me up with my own Salon in Gheringhap St. I was just 21.
“I live my craft and everything about it. I am dedicated to it and the wonderful people I meet along the way. In my early days I was very flamboyant with big sterling silver bracelets and chains. I’d be cutting hair, making music with my bracelets clanking and others in the salon would leave asking if they could have me next time. This is when I toned it down because I knew how important it was to bring my team up with me. Many of the owners of salons around town are creatives who started with me. I’m very proud of them.
“In 2001 my partner and I built our home in East Geelong. I designed it and this led to lots of opportunities. I’m a holistic designer who works with architecture, art, landscaping, interior design and furniture.
“One night I opened my door to the jumpy pizza delivery guy from La Porchetta. He was very impressed with my place and asked if he could look in the foyer, it has 6m high walls. We got chatting and he confessed he was actually the owner of La Porchetta and had seen my order come up. I ended up designing his home at the top of Montrose Place in Highton. A photo taken looking across the pool to Geelong, at dusk, was used on the front cover of the magazine “Trends International” in 2005. This high-profile 12-page article featured in New Zealand, UK, Asia, USA and Australia. They used the photos taken at dusk, and I had to fight for them to be used, as they wanted daylight shots back then.”
Darren was speaking at Entrepreneurs Geelong when I met him and he had his audience captivated. The next story brought tears to our eyes.
“The person in the chair fills me, each and every one of them are so special and important. So, when I found out long-time client of 34 years aged 87 with Parkinsons was considering getting her hair done locally in Aireys Inlet where she lives, I rested my chin on her shoulder and asked ‘you’re not thinking of cheating on me are you?’ She was so sad that her illness was making it very hard for her to come to town. I told her, ‘you’re not just a client to me, you’re my friend. On Monday in 6 weeks time, pop the kettle on at 11.45 because your appointment will be at midday… in your own home. You’ve been with me from the beginning and, gorgeous… I’ll be with you until the end.’”
Darren has been running his salon for 34 years, has been a state and national hairdressing judge for the last 25 years, designing high profile homes for the past 18 years and has been creating art for his designer homes along the way. To add to this, he’s been co-ordinating beautiful major events and a national educator and presenter for some of the biggest global hairdressing brands of the world.
Thank-you Darren, for all that you do for your industry and your region.
Story: Jacqui Bennett Photos: Supplied