A CUT ABOVE THE REST
“I’d like to hope that I make the salon run a bit smoother,” Jools for Jim Manager Jemma jokes.
Anyone familiar with the Jools for Jim Salon in Bendigo will know it truly is a smooth experience. Jools for Jim or JFJ for short, is an iconic salon renowned for expertise, individuality, style and strong attention to detail.
For 30 years JFJ has been providing exceptional hair and beauty services, with clients travelling from far and wide to enjoy the renowned quality experience.
The JFJ team of hair, skin and beauty specialists are highly trained in their chosen fields. It’s 30 year old Jemma Lea who manages the salon and its team of 30-strong on a day to day basis.
Her role includes training and support for the junior team members, something Jemma feels fortunate to be doing.
“It means I get to pass on my skills and knowledge to the team”, Jemma explains.
Jemma herself has worked at JFJ for 13 years and thankfully for her clients and team, can’t see herself being anywhere else.
“In an industry that has ever changing fashion trends I would like to hope I can still be here for many years to come providing my team and clients with fresh ideas. When I reflect back on apprentices who started at the age of 15 or 16 and see how much they have grown and to have been a part of that, it makes it easy to go to work every day and to enjoy what you do,” she said.
How it all began for Jemma
“I started my apprenticeship while completing my schooling,” she said.
Once she finished year 11, Jemma decided hairdressing was indeed the career for her and took the step to work full time.
“I was then lucky enough to get a position at JFJ,” Jemma reflects.
After completing her training she worked in the salon for a few years and soon went on to do her certificate four in training.
JFJ closes on a Tuesday morning for in-salon training, which means the staff don’t need to go off site to a trade school. This ensures the training experience is second to none.
“We can really determine exactly what each team member needs and its more personal and the standard and level of skill base is what we want it to be.”
A typical day for Jemma
One of the first people into the salon each day, Jemma arrives and looks to the day ahead to see what may arise.
“I see if I can spot any potential busy times and if any extra assistance should be directed that way or if there is a client that likes something specific, it’s about the best customer service we can provide,” she said.
Jemma juggles all of this amongst her own busy client load.
“There is no set hours for managing the team, it’s as issues come up and about keeping things running as smoothly as possible.”
More about Jemma’s leadership journey
Jemma’s step into leadership was a natural progression that developed over time. Encouraged by JFJ business owner Jill Cantwell, Jemma was supported to undertake leadership training.
“I am fortunate to have a very supportive role model in Jill, she always trusts my judgement and together we have grown a very strong team and culture at JFJ”.
With years of on-the-ground experience and a natural ability, Jemma has a great level of practical insightfulness to share when it comes to leading a team.
“The biggest thing I’ve learnt in terms of managing a team is you need to communicate with them and really support them every day. Everyone needs something different and it is working out what that is; spending the time to find out what enables that person to work best,” she said.
The Jools for Jim difference
Jemma feels lucky to be a part of such a beautiful salon, which is large enough for training opportunities to come to them locally in Bendigo. But it’s not all about the local opportunities.
“I have been to New Zealand and Bali for training seminars, participated in the Melbourne fashion festival styling hair for the runway show, many different things. JFJ is a great community supporter and is involved in so much, which really opens a lot of doors for staff. This comes down to Jill who is very generous and loves supporting the community,” Jemma shares.
Jemma has advice for those interested in the hairdressing industry.
“The first year is not glamorous, you don’t get near scissors. If you’re looking for a hairdressing apprenticeship, the best times to look are around March and November. There is no experience required, as long as you’re willing to learn, be persistent, show up in person and ask to speak to the manager and of course your hair needs looks good,” Jemma laughs.
In terms of advice for those with leadership aspirations, Jemma recommends taking up professional development opportunities and growing yourself.
“Learning how to read people is important and a big thing is knowing when to say you have made a mistake, you can’t always be right.”
Contributor – Alicia O’Brien
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