Hairdresser heartbreak: Emotional toll of a Gladstone salon

"WHAT HAPPENS in a salon stays in a salon," is the ethos of a Gladstone hairdresser, which has built her a loyal client-base.  

Mum of one Jes Morison describes her life and those of other hairdressers as an "emotional roller coaster" hearing from clients who are struggling with life-changing events.

"But that's one part of my job that I love," she said.

"I love that my clients feel comfortable enough to confide in me."

Jes Morison
Jes Morison Jes Morison

Mrs Morison, who owns a home salon, said the privacy of her salon gives her clients a sense of comfort where they reveal their personal struggles.

New clients who she barely knows could sometimes leave feeling "embarrassed" by what they've revealed.

"I experience it more now I'm in my own salon," she said.

"It's me in there. It's one on one. I don't have an apprentice, or someone else coming in.

"So it's all private and they feel comfortable, and so many of them say, 'oh, my god, I've had a really bad week, and I've had this happen, or I've had that happen'.

"And so many of them leave and they'll text me later on, and they'll go, 'oh, my god. I'm so sorry, I just blurted it all out'."

"But that's my job as well."

She said Gladstone's tough economic times meant some of her clients were hurting. 

Jes Morison
Jes Morison Jes Morison

Mrs Morison, a hairdresser of 11 years, who followed many of her family members into the industry, has learnt to "leave it at the door" most of the time, trying to return to a normal family life.

But, inevitably, she sometimes can't part with the details of heart wrenching stories, often featuring suicide, death, and infidelity.

"My husband will get home and he'll be like, are you ok?"

"I'm just sort of blank, you know, I'm off. And I'll say, 'I had a client with a heart touching story. They had some really hard things to talk about and it makes you appreciate your life'.

"And you go, 'wow, this could be us, what they're dealing with'. And you start re-thinking things in your life. The power of the mind is crazy."

"It definitely makes you appreciate what you've got."

No Caption
No Caption Jes Morison

But Mrs Morison said she wouldn't even share with her husband her clients' personal life, as "keeping that confidentiality" is what builds trust.

"Clients come in and say, 'you must've heard some pretty hectic things'," she said. "It's pretty anything you can think of in your head and I've heard it."

She said the industry is finally starting to switch on to the "counselling" role of hairdressers.  

"They've tried to add it onto the apprenticeship, more just to speak with someone," she said.

"Like if you come and say, 'my wife's just died, oh my god,' -- instead of (the hairdresser) saying, 'oh so sorry, and just going blur …' and blurting something that's insensitive, there's ways to approach things that are touchy."

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