Penny taking her new boat out on the Harbour

Name: Penny
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Home town: Sydney, Au
Current town: Sydney, Au

Penny lives with her Swiss partner and pet Schnauzer in a beautiful and busy beach town Manly. We are meeting at an Italian restaurant and having some bubbles during this interview.

What are you up to right now in your life?
Currently running a successful business in the heart of Manly. Enjoying the fine life in Sydney, and planning a trip to Europe this year.

What do you do for work?
I like to say; “hair stylist to the stars” (giggles). I own my own hair salon, and have been for the last 21 years.

How did you decide to open your own salon?
I was working for a gentleman and I was quite young. He asked me if I could manage his salon because he wanted to open another salon somewhere else. So I said “oh really you think I would be good at that?”. He answered yes, so I thought well if you think that then I may as well open my own salon. And thats when I started to look for a vacant space. I found something that was an empty shop and I had to fit it out. Looking back, it was surprising I did that because I had no clients either. It was a leap of faith and I had confidence in myself.

What is a typical day like for you?
A day not working: I wake up around 6 am, eat some leftovers for breakfast, (I cook a lot so there are always leftovers) and I walk my dog Moritz. I do yoga at home (I’ve been practicing yoga for 20 years) then I read some news on the internet. I have a massage every fortnight and I’ve been seeing the same massage therapist for 20 years. I am a creature of habit I guess you can say. I ride my bike there and it takes 25 minutes each way. Then I go to a local school I teach at another 25 minute bike ride away. I teach two classes of religion voluntary. By now I am exhausted. I then drive a little further to have $2 oysters and Pinot Gris to relax before my journey back home. It’s all downhill thank goodness. Other days I’m working and very busy every day with clients. My dog Moritz sits in the front of the salon and lures in clients (I think he has more friends than me). Many days both he and I are given gifts by people we know from the neighborhood passing by. Things like chillies, herbs, plants, and bones/treats for Moritz. It’s a very nice community we live in.
After work, Moritz and I need a little break so we walk home and occasionally stop by somewhere and have a glass of wine and piece of cheese. I visit the markets that have fresh produce and vegetables and buy something for dinner. When we get home I start cooking. I cook what other people consider very healthy but to me it is just normal. I am usually in bed by 8 pm.

What is a typical meal like for you, or what do you eat or not eat?
I don’t eat processed foods (no breads, pasta etc.). A common breakfast meal for me is soup, maybe twice a week I’ll have it. I’ll make it out of cauliflower, fennel, spices and other veggies. For lunch I don’t eat much, I’m usually working. For dinner I’l make a salad. I’ll shave some radishes, beetroot, watercress, fennel, onions, and add a little bit of fish. Or Il make a spelt bread toast with avocado piled high. I have a garden in the back of my home with kale growing.

What is your salon like?
It is French inspired in design. I serve home made cookies and tea/coffee out of tea cups my grandmother gave me. I play classical music in the background and overall just strive to create a pleasurable ambiance for the customers.

Do you have any tips for women who want to open their own business?
Yes, have an idea with an edge, that is creative, and stands out. Be very nice, friendly, and always offer the best service you can and be professional. Passion is probably the most important thing to have, believe in what your doing.

Do you have any messages you think more people should know about or any issues your passionate about?
I believe recycling is very important, I recently made my own compost. Also, people being courteous to each other, like opening a door, instead of rushing in, smoking around other people, and just thinking about the other person. Simply being caring and more compassionate for other people is very important. I think we are losing that war with every new generation unfortunately. I see how those manners and considerations for one another are being lost slowly.

Do you think you are a lot like your sign Aquarius?
Definitely I go to the beat of my own drum. Deep down I suppose I care what people think but I try to be true to myself and not worry about what other people think. Because everyone has their insecurities so I just keep on moving.

You can find out more about Penny or book an appointment with her by visiting her salon’s website here: lapennyssalon.com.au

Thank you Penny you have taught me so much about what it means to be a female boss over the years. And we didn’t even tap on the time you moved to Greece for love or how you spent weeks in NY in the 90’s just doing yoga every day.  Hopefully a follow up interview soon!