Home' INSTYLE Magazine : INSTYLE MAY-JUN 2017 Contents J
ust behind the main street of Mittagong in the Southern
Highlands sits a converted sandstone stable. Inside
the rustic, heritage listed building, you’ll fi nd Gossip
Hair and Beauty, the winners of the first Aveda Salon
Makeover last year. Helmed by hardworking Liz Stokes,
the salon has kicked up a gear in 2017, thanks in no small part to
the Aveda refurb and makeover – which, as Liz tells it, changed
not only the salon but her life.
Gossip opened in 2011, with Liz starting out with just a fledgling
staff of two – herself and another hair stylist. Liz says it was
always her dream to open a salon, and despite humble beginnings,
Gossip has grown to be bigger and better than she ever imagined.
“[Back then] making $500 in a day was an incredible
achievement – it’s funny how looking back over the growth
of the business, how proud you can be of all the success and
achievements you and your team have made,” she says.
Liz co-owns Gossip with her husband Taylor, and they now
employ a staff of eight: four full-time haird ressers, one part-
time senior stylist, two hair apprentices and a full-time beauty
therapist. Liz herself has been in the hair and beauty industry
for around 14 years, and is a firm believer in the power of
positivity and the role that a good salon experience can have in
“It’s the only job where you can have a guest come into your
environment feeling lost, alone, ugly, stressed or just down – and
you can turn that around and make them feel on top of the world.”
While Gossip had been firmly established in the Mittagong
community well before winning the competition, when talking to
Liz, her gratitude for winning the Aveda Salon Makeover is more
“When the Aveda team came in and ‘flash partied’ my salon
with champagne, gifts, flowers and cupcakes – I was completely
over whelmed, I didn’t believe it,” she recalls. "It took a while to
come down to earth!”
Gossip Hair and Beauty in Mittagong, NSW was
the deserving winner of the first-ever Aveda
Salon Makeover, announced in October last year.
And as Tam Allenby discovers, the Gossip team
has been riding a wave of success ever since the
Aveda crew burst through the salon doors bearing
champagne and flowers on that exciting day.
Liz explains that she’d been looking into Aveda as a product
supplier before entering, as she wanted to step away from ‘average
mainstream chemical companies and thought they shared similar
business beliefs and an environmentally-conscious ethos.
At the time of the announcement of Gossip as the winner,
Aveda’s General Manager Clint Piper pointed to the equal sense of
personal and professional customer service that defines the salon
as a major reason for it taking home the top prize.
“We received so many good-quality entries from salons across
Australia,” Piper shared back in October. “Gossip Hair and Beauty
are already an environmentally aware salon and they have a brag
book showing how they support the Mittagong community. They
have many signs of being a successful and inclusive business and
the Aveda team will be proud to partner with them in the future.”
Since then, a lot has changed arou nd the Gossip space. The
refurbishment itself has been very well received by guests – Liz
says that everyone who comes in and sees it for the first time
comments on how big, new and clean everything looks – but one
thing in particular that they notice is the new Aveda smell: “that
distinct Aveda smell – nothing is greater than that!”
She also says that guests love the new services brought in by
Aveda (“especially the rituals they have added on to make them
feel 100 per cent relaxed and welcome”), and that many have
commented how great their hair and skin feel even after only a few
months. Not only that, but Liz says that her salon team are more
alive and relaxed, and that business is booming.
Aveda’s support is also ongoing, and goes beyond the products
that are used by the salon and stocked on the shelves.
“Aveda isn’t just a product line – it’s a community! The [Aveda]
team are always striving to help us grow ou r business as well as
staff training and continuous communication and love. [They’re]
always giving back to different charities and people less fortunate,
which we now get to be a part of. We’ve become part of the Aveda
family and absolutely welcomed them into ours.”
Though Aveda haven’t yet confirmed whether they’ll be running
the competition for another year, Liz would encourage anyone to
enter, saying that the opportunity has changed the salon for the
better “in so many ways.”
And as for future plans, Liz says the “sky is the limit” with the
salon growing every day.
“Every week there is something new and exciting, and every
month we have new goals and new training programs. Who
knows where we will go... but what I do know is that it’s going to
This is definitely one salon that is worth gossiping about.
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