Hair artistry has been a passion of mine since I was a young girl, as it is a large part of my culture. My biggest motivations for creating Saka Studio were being able to share my craft with others and to help my clients maintain and embrace their natural textures.
Meet Agata Saka. Passionate creative, warrior for diversity and the brains behind boutique salon: Saka Studio in Brunswick, Melbourne.
A welcoming, all-inclusive space wherein clients can experience a range of tailored services; from trims and treatments all the way through to braids, weaves and wig styling. Helmed by Agata and her sister Fibi (a talent in her own right), Saka Studio embraces clients of all persuasions – catering to all hair types, textures and styling needs.
While the pandemic may have stalled their plans for immediate expansion, the pair have been busy preparing for the months and years ahead, redirecting their energies and creativity to other facets of the business: from staff acquisition and branding to the development of a new and texture specific product range. Watch this space!
Ahead of the Saka Studio’s one year anniversary, we caught up with Agata to learn more about the salon’s premise, fostering client empowerment and her goals for the future.
TJ: What inspired you to start up Saka Studio in Brunswick, Melbourne? How long has the salon been in operation?
AS: Hair artistry has been a passion of mine since I was a young girl, as it is a large part of my culture. I’ve always understood the struggle of those unable to style and care for their own hair within the community, as there has been a lack of black hair inclusion in the hair industry – both in Australia and globally.
My biggest motivations for creating Saka Studio were being able to share my craft with others and to help my clients maintain and embrace their natural textures. After eight years of working in the industry, and one year of working from home, I launched Saka Studio. We are turning one year old next October – and I can’t wait to celebrate!
TJ: Tell us about the team that comprise Saka Studio. And your plans for future expansion?
AS: Saka Studio currently comprises myself and my sister Fibi. The salon is growing quickly and we had planned to recruit new members – however COVID-19 has halted our plans for expansion. As of yet, we have not yet sourced new staff members before so it will be exciting to begin this process!
We are fun, loving and care for each other at Saka Studio. We also have high expectations in terms of quality (we believe in providing only the best for our customers); whether it’s customer service, braiding hair or styling. We look for honest, reliable people who can fulfil these expectations. We are proud of our craft and appreciate the technical labour it requires.
TJ: For those yet to visit, tell us about the Saka Studio space.
AS: The salon is chic yet comfy. We want our clients to feel relaxed but [to know that] they are getting the very best service. Aside from our physical aesthetic, our priority is creating a safe, uplifting and empowering environment for all clients with all hair textures.
TJ: Tell us about the salon’s vibe and culture. How important is fostering a fun and welcoming environment for your clients and staff?
AS: Community, balance, fearlessness, passion, creativity and playfulness: these are the values we stand by. We want our clients to feel at home; to feel comfortable and confident in their natural hair as well as their protective styles.
We wanted to create a place where our clients can reinvent themselves and be tended to by stylists that genuinely care about them and their hair. A place where creativity reigns and laughter is abundant. A place void of judgment, hesitation and fear.
TJ: Talk us through your key service offerings.
AS: The industry is rife with hairdressers and stylists who unfortunately do not have the range of abilities needed to service Black hair textures. There is often a lack of education, curiosity and care present when it comes to kinky curly and coily hair.
Saka Hair specialises in these textures; across braiding, weaves, custom wig making, and artist collaborations. That said, we’re sure not to neglect any hair type; all are welcome in our chairs and all should expect a quality of work that exceeds industry standards.
Also (exclusive alert!) we are in the process of creating our own product line to cater to all textures as well as hair wefts. Everyone, watch this space!
TJ: How do you keep abreast of new trends in hair and fashion – as well as methods for extension/weave/weft application and styling?
AS: Social media is life! YouTube and Instagram (in particular) are the platforms I use most to keep up to date with current trends and to find inspiration for new techniques. I also like looking back to our ancestors and learning about the techniques they used.
I’m a kinaesthetic and visual learner, so once I see something, I’m going to try and recreate it with whatever tools I have available. I find it difficult learning by reading and will often try these new trends on myself, friends or family first!
TJ: What is one thing you wish you knew about salon ownership before embarking on your journey?
AS: You really do eat, breathe, and sleep hair. There are no breaks, no days off and there are definitely no holidays! Sacrificing time with my family and loved ones was one of the biggest shocks to my system.
Family is everything, but the salon is my baby and needs every fibre of my being! That being said, I love what I do, and it’s all worth it! Seeing my clients before and after is always the cherry on the cake!
TJ: What have been some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way, and how were these overcome?
AS: COVID -19 has by far been the biggest challenge we’ve faced so far; nothing could have prepared any of us for the impact it would have on our everyday lives. There is however a silver lining; the time outside of working in the salon has allowed me to redirect my energies to other aspects of the business such as the website and our new product line.
TJ: What’s next for yourself and the team?
AS: Getting out of lockdown and getting back to work. Overall, just being able to reunite with my clients and executing my plans to expand our team so that we can provide the ultimate experience for our customers – and grow the business!