Andy Prouse is a third generation hairdresser – and there was no question that her career would follow in her family’s footsteps.
As a youngster growing up in Queenscliff, she remembers sweeping floors and emptying ashtrays at her uncle’s barber shop, collecting five cents for her work then skipping down to the corner store to buy mixed lollies with her coins.
After her father came back from World War II, he also decided to get a qualification in hairdressing – and his 1946 graduation certificate hangs in pride of place in Andy’s salon today.
Andy opened Rex Hairdressing in Barkly Street West Footscray in 2013, after having her own salon in St Kilda for fourteen years, then working at Scissor Sisters in Seddon. When time came for her to open her own business again, the Kingsville resident knew that she wanted to locate it in West Footscray.
“I just love this community. I love the multicultural diversity and the feeling that everyone is noticed and recognised. Everyone looks out for each other; there’s a real sense of connection,” says Andy.
The interior of Rex Hairdressing has an equally eclectic, all-embracing vibe. The bright and colourful decor is a gallery of souvenirs from Andy’s travels around the world, with a particular leaning towards religious iconography from various cultures.
“My salon looks just like the inside of my house! It really is an extension of my personality,” she says. “All these things on the wall? These are my personal treasures and everything here has a story.”
For instance, the salon is named ‘Rex’ as an homage to Andy’s grandfather. A handsome 1940s cash register sitting by the window was gifted to Andy by an elderly junk shop owner in St Kilda 30 years ago. The colourful outdoor mural adoring the salone walls by local artist Sarah Allen. It incorporates Australian native plants from Western Volcanic Plains, and at Andy’s suggestion, Australian Grasstrees.
When asked what she loves most about Rex Hairdressing, Andy says “We welcome everyone here, whether you’re three or ninety-three. I also love watching families grow up. I’ve had some clients for over twenty years so I’ve been part of the most important moments of their life. That brings me great joy.”