Italians certainly know how to throw a party, and, with champagne flowing, the party to celebrate 50 years of Cataldo’s Hairdressing took off on Wednesday night 2 December at Canberra Museum and Galleries. Patriarch Giuseppe Cataldo opened the original salon in Hobart Place in 1965 and over the years Cataldo’s has become one of Canberra’s top salons. LFW was there to help them celebrate 50 years in the business and meet up with the famous local stylists and some of their clients. By Aine Dowling
The original salon in Hobart Place was basically a barber shop with a couple of chairs for the ladies, and with young sons Emilio and Angelo helping out by sweeping the floor. In 2015, Emilio and Angelo, along with other brother Aldo, now run the business which continues as one of Canberra’s top salons. Cataldo’s now operates two locations, one in Civic and the other in Woden which is run by business partner and 30 year Cataldo’s veteran Karen Spradau.
Through the 1960s, Cataldo’s customers would visit for their weekly shampoo and set. The 1970s was all about perming. The 1980s… big hair! And like the hairstyles they’ve created over the last 50 years, the hair business has changed a lot. Today the salon is inspired by the world’s dynamic fashion industry. “Fashion and hair are inextricably linked. You can’t have great front covers of Vogue without the hairstyles,” said Emilio Cataldo.
The salon has experienced this firsthand, with many glamourous magazine covers over the years featuring the work of Cataldo’s talented stylists. Cataldo’s has also won countless national and international awards including ACT Salon of the Year 18 years in a row. Emilio even represented Australia at the 1980 Hairdressing World Cup in Rotterdam.
While the Cataldo’s still place importance on family, with third generation Cataldo’s picking up the scissors, their idea of family isn’t limited to blood relations. “We’ve trained over 350 apprentices and stylists. Our team are very much part of our family. Some of the hairdressers we’ve trained are now educating others around the world,” said Angelo Cataldo. Emilio adds, “Education is very important to us. Not just skill with hair, but life skills, interpersonal skills they can transfer to everyday life. Our father imparted a sense of genuine customer service, which we now impart on our stylists.”
With 50 years behind them, the next 50 look just as exciting. Their Northbourne Avenue salon is moving to new premises in Ainslie Place, and their focus is the ultimate customer experience.
Fifteen years ago, Cataldo’s Salon offered their clients free dial up internet, and TV screens for entertainment—helping them to win the Australian Best New Salon Design award. Today the Cataldo’s feel there is too much digital, and not enough genuine human interaction. “Hairdressing is now one of the few experiences people can have where there is physical contact and real conversation,” Emilio says. “The new premises will focus on that tactile experience, so our clients don’t just leave with great hair; they leave having had a relaxing, enjoyable, real experience.”
Media from Threesides Marketing. Images by LFW