Live Life with Great Hair — Ivy Hair and Havana Barbers
WORDS TALIA WALDEGRAVE PHOTOS TRACIE HEASMAN
Launch night, and Ivy and Havana already have me sold. Brimming with talented youngsters, local business owners, and hair professionals, this is a damn fine party. Down-to-earth glamour is how I’d describe it. Smiling, handsome barbers hand out steaming hot snacks from The Pizza Library next door, and the bar is set up with a tangled web of mint leaves, a mountain of lime wedges, and buckets of ice to make Havana Rum cocktails. Two ultra-glam ladies, kicking back in barbershop chairs, each have a pizza slice in one hand and a champagne flute in the other. This is a family unit, blood relative or not.
On returning to interview the Ivy-Havana crew, I’m early, but am greeted warmly before I’ve managed to get inside the door. With time to kill, I wait in the communal kitchen, at the table where I’d gobbled pizza just a few nights earlier. The kitchen epitomises the Ivy-Havana vibe; the fit-out has had someone with a sharp design eye to oversee it, and it’s fully functional, too (a washing machine is tucked neatly away in the corner). Best of all, this space joins Ivy (the ladies’ salon) to Havana (the barber). Staff make themselves a cuppa and chat to clients waiting for a colour to take, or anyone else who happens to be there for a catch up.
Each person passing by gives me a nod, a wave or a ‘hi’, and I wonder if they’re trained to smile this way, because it’s incredibly welcoming.
I’m here to meet Ruth, the matriarch of the family. After 45 years as a trainer, she’s a bit of a legend in the industry. “My mother-in-law opened one of the first hair training schools in New Zealand, and that’s where I started. From the beginning, I’ve enjoyed watching how life changing it is for young people to learn a skill, and I still love every second of it.”
Ruth and her team have recently refurbished a building on Totara Street to create the beautiful salon, Ivy, and brother barber shop, Havana. The branding is cutting edge, and the décor contemporary cool; it’s unlike anything Tauranga has seen before.
“We wanted to offer something completely separate from the training school, where people could come, sit at the table, read the paper and have a coffee. It’s about offering the whole experience, with service and consistency.”
Put simply, Ivy is beautiful. She’s the quintessential salon luxe, with gold candles and ornate décor. It’s the place to be pampered in all things hair, from cuts and styling to indulgent treatments for luscious locks.
The recent resurgence in the old school barber shop has brought back the traditional cut-throat shave, injecting some va-va-voom into men’s grooming. Havana does just that. The décor is all blokey, and the corrugated sliding door to the car park is reminiscent of a 1950’s James Dean biker-gang hang out.
But what makes this place tick is the people.
“Because we are aligned with the training side of things, our attention to detail is impeccable and we are good at communicating with our clients but, most importantly, what we do best is customer service.”
On my way out, I book an appointment. I can’t wait to go back, I already feel part of the gang.