Like A Boss: Wade Stevens
My name is Wade Stevens (@wadeontweed), originally from Auckland but I moved to Dunedin 10 years ago to be closer to my family (my mum, brother and lots of nephews and nieces). My entire childhood was full of sport, like gymnastics, but basically, ANYTHING to show off. At primary and intermediate school I’d write, direct and act in plays so I knew something creative was in my future, I just didn’t know where exactly it’d be. I modelled, actually being the face of a Japanese clothing brand, but found I much preferred being behind the camera.
How did you get into hairdressing?
I took a class at high school called ‘work-based training’ where for your first term holidays, they find a trade-based company that you showed interest in. For me, it was hairdressing. I was 15, did the 2-week work-based training at Rodney Wayne West City, and was offered a full-time job, where I worked as an assistant for 2 ½ years. Learning as much as I could practically, by the time I went to train with Servilles Academy (which was always the end game) it was more refining and ALL the theory I didn’t know that went into hairdressing.
Tell us about your time at the academy:
My time at the academy was AMAZING. I’m from original intake 35. When we were up on Albert Street and we (all the students) moved the academy down to Durham Street. I adored and hung off of every word my tutors taught us. I had Bindy/Belinda for the first half and Kyla for the second. The fact that Paul Serville himself would teach us was mind-blowing, taking the time to help us, and I even met Helen Clarke at the opening of the Durham St academy. Their passion was obvious and really sunk in – even chemistry made sense! Such an upmarket but homely place, equipping me with so many skills. Even before I opened my own salon, if I mentioned Servilles at a salon, I got the job. It was tough. Training at the academy and doing your required hours at one of the salons… But oh so worth it!
What are some career highlights?
Well for one, I own my own antique/modern salon (WadeOnTweed)! I’ve also been featured multiple times by my colour brand, Jeval, as well as having features in both Combined Salon Supplies and Usmooth. I was recently in charge of hair for the latest LapinNz eco-friendly fur campaign. It’s all over both Facebook and Instagram, which of course, is exciting to see coming up as a sponsored ad.
What’s your advice for aspiring hairdressers or business owners?
Believe in yourself, because trust me, that 1st to 2nd year is all about thickening your skin. It is a tough but rewarding industry and it DOES pay off. The open doors are endless whether you want to be suburban, or editorial. Also, you NEVER stop learning. Hairdressing is constantly evolving, upskilling is so so important. Plus, how can you not have a great day when you have made someone so happy they are bursting with confidence?
Where do you see yourself and the industry in 5 years?
I see WadeOnTweed building to ultra full capacity, even right now I’m crazy busy, and I’m just a small new business that somehow made it through Covid, without having to close down. So I’d love to branch out. Maybe franchised, maybe all me. All I know is things are gonna get bigger, brighter and better. At 35, I’ve only just begun.