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The Politics of Everything

Nov 29, 2022

A warning that is episode mentions some themes that may not be suitable for all listeners. If you’re in Australia and experiencing domestic violence or need to speak to a counsellor, please contact 1800 737 732.

As the winner of AHIA’s Australia's Best Eco Salon in 2020 & 2021, sustainability and low-tox living is a huge passion for Tenille Lawrence. She is a multi-award-winning hair stylist that has been fortunate enough to travel the world as a global hair educator for over 15 years. 


While spending years styling hair at runway shows, fashion week events, and magazine shoots was an incredibly fun and exciting lifestyle, this mum of four slowly started feeling sick, stressed, and run down. Tenille was told that during three out of four pregnancies she had developed chemical poisoning from being exposed to harsh chemicals over the years in the hair industry.


Tenille’s experience with chemical poisoning motivated her to follow her heart and build the business on sustainable, eco-friendly and vegan ethos, free from harsh chemicals and nasty ingredients while still creating gorgeous hair. She set up the salon and decked it out with upcycled furniture and plants to give it an elective look and feel. A concept that was very popular with the community and environmentally conscious locals and quickly grew into a seven-figure business with 30 staff and another 3 QLD-based salons in a matter of a couple of years. 


In addition to this, seven years ago Tenille had to file for bankruptcy after leaving a domestic violence relationship, and this inspired her to set up a hair salon from home to be able to pay off her debts. This small salon in her garage quickly snowballed with people knocking on her door saying that “A little birdie told me you’re a hairdresser” and she quickly got busier and managed to open up her first Brisbane-based salon, called Little Birdie Hair Co, in a large warehouse. 


Tenille is now a spokesperson for sustainability within the hair industry, and she is passionate about the local community and making sure victims of domestic violence are supported in the workplace, being the first hair salon in Australia to work towards getting a White Ribbon Accreditation. 


We discuss:

  1. What parts of hairdressing have the most toxins and how easily can these items be replaced for less toxic options? Please give us some common examples – from hair colour to even the things like the tools you use.
  2. How long were you working in hairdressing before your started to feel unwell from being exposed to chemicals?
  3. What are some of the short- and longer-term health problems these exposures can create and how prevalent is that these days?
  4. Do clients need to be as aware of this when they visit a salon or products we use at home?
  5. What are the main challenges to making a hair salon successful in 2022 and how do you tackle these?
  6. Where else can the salon sector help protect its people better?
  7. Takeaway: What is your final takeaway message for us on The Politics of Salons?



LinkedIn: (48) Tenille Lawrence | LinkedIn

Website: Little Birdie Hair Co - Australia's Best Eco Salon