On cutting edge, 40 years on
Maurice Meade with his wife Rosemary. Picture: Michael O'Brien/The West Australian

Maurice Meade's influence on Perth's hairdressing industry is as powerful today as it was back in 1974 when he opened the doors of his first salon.

Yes, Maurice Meade is a real person, which he says still comes as a surprise to those who recognise the name from marketing campaigns and his nine salons.

To mark the 40th anniversary of the opening of their first business in Subiaco, Mr Meade and his wife Rosemary this week reflected on the career of the boy from Scarborough who became one of this country's most respected hairdressers.

The 66-year-old's passion for his industry drives the proud West Australian to ensure the family business continues to offer a world-class service.

He admits it took him some time to commit to hairdressing as a career in the 1960s.

Mr Meade was 14 when he left Christian Brothers' College (now Trinity College) in 1962 because he "wasn't that good at school and wanted to try something else".

"I was artistic, so my mother and uncle convinced me that I should try hairdressing because I was always worried about my hair and clothes - even at that age - and they thought it was a good industry to get into," he says. "I got a job at Rex of London Court and had to line up with a couple of hundred kids going for the job. Two of us got the job.

"Not many men went into ladies' hairdressing back then, so I think there was about three or four guys in among all the girls, and I was lucky enough to be given one of those positions.

"I always wanted to do something a bit more manly, I suppose, because I'd played rugby and I used to get rubbished by my mates, so I went from job to job.

"I left my apprenticeship quite a few times and tried other things like tyre fitting, battery making and making school desks."

The many and varied jobs instilled in him a strong work ethic but, more importantly, made him realise his true calling: "I realised that I am a hairdresser.

"While I was overseas, I realised that if I'm ever going to make anything of my life it would have to be in hairdressing, so I came back and got back into it and really loved the industry."

Rosemary and Maurice married in 1973 and opened a salon a year later after Mr Meade's father-in-law suggested that he start his own business.

"Maurice had his own philosophy at the time about hairdressing service, which was basically he didn't believe that people should have dry haircuts. He felt clients needed a higher-end service," Mrs Meade says.

Four decades later, their enthusiasm has not waned. If anything, it has been boosted by the ever-changing nature of hairdressing.

Wherever they are, one thing is for certain: Mr Meade will have his professional scissors with him: "I take my scissors everywhere I go - they're in my car and when I travel I put them in my suitcase."

These days Mr Meade leaves the cutting and colouring to his team of 150 staff. But there are six little VIPs who still get to experience his expertise with scissors: grandchildren, who affectionately refer to their grandparents as Mozzy and Rozzy.

The West Australian

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