Interview – Marie Poggi/ Owner of Toni and Guy, Surry Hills.

It has taken me 3 years of living in Sydney and trialing hairdressers to finally find my ‘go-to-for-everything-salon’.  Enter, Toni & Guy Surry Hills. Not only are they awesome at what they do, the owner is also a super cool chick as well. Marie Poggi is originally from France, who then moved to London to advance her career and then to our shores to open Toni & Guy Surry Hills… oh and to follow her heart.

Being a woman running her own business and knowing first hand how tough that can be, I thought I would interview Marie to get to know a bit more about how she came to be in Surry Hills at the helm of Toni and Guy.

Jill: Where are you from and why did you move to Australia?

Marie: I’m from France, Marseille, which is the South. I moved to Australia for love. We were together back home and then I decided to focus on my career so I moved to London, while I was in London he moved to Sydney and he didn’t want to hear anything about me. He didn’t want to talk to me anymore – and I realized I was missing him so much so I bought a ticket and I came here.

Jill: Trained in France, moved to London then came here?!

Marie: Yes.

Jill: So what made you decide to be a hairdresser?

Marie: Ok so, I was a really bad teenager. Really bad… Really bad! So when I was 14 years old I was in a really small class, probably 11, and we were all troubled kids. And so the teacher had a big meeting with our parents and said it’s time to decide, they’re not going to go any further you need to find them a Tafe and start on a career and then my mum put me into my grandmas hairdresser, and I fell in love. It was just the smallest, ugliest salon. We were doing perms every day, pin blow drys for grandmas and I was just so in love. I was in love. I was too young to start Tafe so I stopped school when I was 14 years.

Jill: So that for me brings up the whole debate around the relevance of University and a successful person.

Marie: It didn’t work for me – and I’m so grateful that my mum let me do something I liked instead of pushing me with something I didn’t want to do.

Jill: So how many years in hair is that now?

Marie: 15 years.

Jill: Where do you get your inspiration from now? What hairdressers inspire you?

Marie: I’m a big fan of Toni & Guy…. And I know that’s so cliché but I love how passionate we are and how we are willing to learn. We have training every month, so after work all Toni & Guy Sydney go to the academy and we train all night or if there is something you want to work on, we’ll do that.

Jill: Toni & Guy seem very fashion forward.

Marie: So we are the official sponsor of the Fashion Week in London.

Marie: And I have so many ‘not known’ hairdressers that I love, I just love passionate people in general. Whether you have a name or not – I will like you if you have got talent.

Jill: What’s the craziest haircut someone’s asked you to do?

Marie: Nooooo! Ok, let me think… I’ve had so many crazy haircuts – but the craziest that I’ve had and I refused to do it. Because if I don’t want to do something, I just don’t do it. It was a girl with really long hair and she wanted really short layer on the top – just for creating volume. Which I definitely knew it was not going to create volume. And she wanted it done with a razor.

Jill: Would that have essentially been a mullet?

Marie: Yes! Thank you! That’s a mullet. And so I refused. At the end of the day you walk out my door with my signature on your hair.

Jill: Have you found any challenges being a female opening a business here in Sydney?

Marie: I don’t know if the sex influenced me, but I did find it really difficult to just open a business. What ever you are, man or woman, it’s hard. I found it hard not having the support of my friends and family. So I was just an unknown person. “Who knows Marie in Sydney?” I didn’t have a cliental. I just opened a salon with the hope that people will come to my shop.

Jill: So why did you do that rather than just go work for someone?

Marie: I did work for someone and this person, she was so inspiring to me, that I just wanted to do what she’s done. I was going to work thinking – gosh she’s amazing and she’s exactly the person I want to be in the future. She was just such a good boss!

Jill: What’s been your biggest challenge since opening here?

Marie: Employees. To find people who are willing to help greet the cliental. Some people just want to come to work and get a wage and go home. I’m finally where I want to be. I have the best team ever – I’m so grateful to have all of them.

Jill: Finally, what do you think is a big trend that we should all keep an eye out for?

Marie: We just launched our new collection. Everything is very shaggy and textured. So everything polished and blunt is gone.

Jill: So the ‘Lob’ is out?

Marie: We can have a lob but with texture, choppieness. The shag is back!

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