Climbing to the top: Jenni Tarrant - Bond Hair Religion
Jenni Tarrant is someone to look up to. Not only has she built Bond Hair Religion into one of Canberra’s most awarded salons, but she works to raise funds for charities in the most extraordinary ways.
This is a follow-up to a successful journey along the Kokoda Track in 2013. Both these adventures are well-and-truly outside of Jenni’s comfort zone (she’s much more Prada than Papua), but it speaks to her drive and determination in pushing to succeed.
Bond Hair Religion interior
So, how did all this start? Jenni is pretty quick to explain. “You know, this is all about raising funds, but I never wanted to do it the easy way. I needed to get out of my comfort zone to grab people’s attention!”
As it turns out, Jenni had only ever been camping once – which made her probably the most ill-prepared person to take on the notorious Kokoda Track. Still, she did it. “Like everything I’ve done in my life, as soon as that challenge was completed, I thought to myself. ‘Great! What’s next?’ "
Jenni on the Kokoda Track in 2013
This time, Jenni is looking to double the money (to a total in excess of $30,000). All those who donated and delighted in watching her hate the training regime will get to relish the spectacle again.
“The preparation involves climbing two hills a day – five or six times a week. I’m 47 now, and my knees are not enjoying themselves… but hopefully everyone else is.
“The idea of regular exercise is horrendous… I can’t stand it. I’d prefer to stab myself in the eye.”
Styled by Bond Hair Religion
As we sit in Kingston’s Green Square, Bond Hair Religion proudly displays its award for Australian Salon Business of the Year – an award received at the 2015 Australian Hair Industry Awards. So, how does this desire to push herself to new heights (pun intended) relate to her success in business?
“I really want my business to succeed, and to do that I need to train staff to a very high level, but its more than that. I’m interested in helping them grow as people - and to help them to realise their potential… which might be well beyond what they think they can achieve.
“If you’d asked me two years ago whether I could walk Kokoda, I would have laughed at you.”
“The fundraising has become part of the culture of Bond Hair Religion, and I’m really proud that the team have taken on the higher purpose of spreading the word against child sexual abuse as well as supporting Lifeline.
“The staff have really taken it on as a personal cause and, while they won’t be climbing the mountain, there is so much support in the way they use their networks to help raise funds and all the team feel this is very much a group effort. That impact has been amazing.”
That idea of culture within the business extends to her clientele. “We’ve got a lot of older clients. For someone like Mrs Jones, who comes in to get her hair styled every Wednesday, visiting the salon is the highlight of her week. Clients see what we’re doing and what we’re trying to achieve and really feel a part of it.
“They’re not just customers that supply revenue to keep the business open. They feel a part of the journey that we’re on to try to achieve these amazing projects and provide absolute support. That’s amazing.”
Styled by Bond Hair Religion
Jenni plans to have a New York salon open by 2020. This involves a thorough process of goal-setting that requires drive and determination. “It would be easy to open another salon in Canberra, but that doesn’t represent my ultimate achievement… hence New York.
“I really hope that we can bring staff into the US business to train them up before bringing them back home to Canberra to share their skills and experiences. That’s a great thing to be able to offer your team.”
Is this drive a natural thing for Jenni? “Not really. I used to be much quieter and very shy. The determination has always been in me, but I needed to find an outlet. Running a small business has certainly served that purpose!
“Now, I have the courage to keep pushing. Not everything works. If it does, great! However, if not, then there are plenty of lessons to be learned that help clear the path forward for the future.
“Whether that involves new ideas for the salon, the way we mentor staff, or walking up a bloody mountain, everything becomes a tool to use for the next challenge!”
In June, Jenni Tarrant begins her adventure to climb the two highest mountains in Tanzania, Africa - Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru.
To be part of the fundraising efforts:
- Go to www.gofundraise.com.au
- Enter “Jenni’s African Mountain” in the search field.
- Click the Donate button.