2018 marks the first birthday of one of Brisbane’s newest – and coolest – salon spaces; Enter Helmet Hair Co.

Don’t let the cool factor scare you,” jokes Craig Smith, “We genuinely want people to come in, check us out, and stick around once the work in the chair is done.”

And it seems that clients have responded. From its hospitable ambiance through to its talented stylistic team, the Brisbane based salon has garnered praise for its down-to-earth take on contemporary hairdressing.

We caught up with Owner and Director, Craig Smith, for the inside scoop on Fruition’s newest counterpart.

How does Helmet Hair Co. differ from its brotherly (or sisterly?) counterpart Fruition? 

CS: It looks and feels very different, more like Fruition’s younger and cooler sibling! Our price menu proudly states ‘no nasty add-ons, just cool hair’ and with thatcomes our casual laid back vibe. I’m well aware though that there is no style without substance, so it was only ever going to work for me if the Fruition customer felt just as confident coming to get their hair done here.

Why did you take such a different approach with pricing?

CS: I found there were so many people who were still a bit baffled by what their visit to the salon was going to set them back, and there was that feeling of saving it up for special occasions. I wanted to bust through that way of thinking and shake up how people interact with their salon.

I want Helmet clients to become part of who we are, dropping in all the time knowing what their visit will cost instead of stretching out their 6 week cut and colour to 4 months. Our price menu has changed the dynamic when people sit in the chair and have that conversation with their stylist and that has been so cool to watch.

What inspired the salon’s design aesthetic?

CS: The design is inspired by my love of those magical machines on two wheels. I’m lucky to be surrounded by some creatively brilliant friends and so they helped me create a salon with an industrial and mechanical look, but at the same time a welcoming feel.

My favourite piece, which set the tone for the overall vibe, is the incredible vintage industrial tool kit that takes pride of place at our front desk. Thinking of all the motoring history that would have been worked on using that kit makes me feel pretty darn nostalgic when taking down appointments!

…and the name?

CS: It’s all about what goes on your head right? Just like I won’t jump on my Harley without a helmet, you shouldn’t be walking the streets without a rocking Helmet style. Simple.

Tell us about the team.

CS: I’m so proud of the guys and girls Amanda (Menz) and I have assembled. They are such an awesome bunch of people, and Helmet is the place for them to really shine and show off their work. Every single one of them is an absolute professional, but they also have very individual styles; I think that there is someone for everyone behind one of the chairs at our place.

What prompted you to set up a new space amidst the eclectic suburb of Nundah in Brisbane?

CS: I’ve always been a fan of the area, and it’s up and coming reputation made it the perfect spot to give the Helmet concept a go. Helmet is young, and it feels like Nundah is coming of age along with us as we grow. It’s a top little suburb and for Helmet to work, community was always going to be key, so really it was the locals who dictated the spot, and they are who we aim to please.

How much of your creative inspiration is derived from your surroundings?

CS: I’ve always been inspired by the people and places around me; I think Helmet is an evolution of that in that it is so heavily inspired by my life and my loves. I think any great hairdresser will pull inspiration from everything they experience, and with Fruition I was very influenced by what is happening in the in the hair and fashion industry. Helmet brings it a little closer to home, and is more inspired by the things I love – namely family, friends and my, (some would call) rock‘n roll tastes.

What advice do you have for individuals looking to enter into salon ownership?

CS: It is both the most challenging and rewarding thing I have ever created (save for my gorgeous daughter Frankie of course). I think once that desire to create your own space and identity takes hold in a hairdresser, it’s a hard thing to shake. One thing I would recommend, is to focus first on your training and work your butt off alongside people you look up to.

There is no shortcut to creating a successful salon, just lots of hard work. You need to love people, as you will dedicate your life to your team and your clients – and you should wake up pretty damn grateful you get to do what you love every day. Most of all, stick with what you are good at, and get people you admire to help you with the rest.

Craig Smith


*Originally published in Issue 4/17 of The Journal mag