Celebrating 20 years of Excel Hair & Beauty
Excel Hair & Beauty celebrates its 20th birthday at Westfield Tea Tree Plaza on May 24, but that’s not the most important number in owner Ralph Votino’s hairdressing career. “I’ve been here at Tea Tree Plaza for 20 years,” he says, “but I’ve been in business for 53 years.”
And in that time he’s developed a loyal following - so much so that one of his original customers still visits him. “She’s been coming to me all that time, since I opened my first store. I used to be in Grenfell Street in town and she worked at David Jones in the makeup department and she’s followed me since she was 21. She’s 74 now,” he says proudly, before adding with a laugh that it’s not so old - “I’m 74 too.”
Ralph has earned the trust of his customers through a lifetime of devotion to the craft - he first learned to cut hair as a 10 year old in his brother’s salon in Italy. Since opening his own salon, he’s passed the family tradition onto his two sons, who work alongside him and his wife at Excel Hair & Beauty. “And they’re pretty good,” he says, adding “they had a good teacher!”
It’s true – in his long career Ralph has been crowned national champion for Total Look and has won the state hair colour championship so many times he’s lost count –“at least 15 or 20 times,” he estimates.
And while customers can come for a range of cuts, colours and beauty treatments, it’s the customer service that really sets Excel apart. The friendly attitude is epitomised by Ralph’s guarantee to customers. “They don't pay if they're not happy,” he says. “But I’ve been in this business 53 years and never had a customer complain.”
Find Excel Hair & Beauty on level 1, near Priceline Pharmacy.
Words by Alexis Buxton-Collins
Images by Ross McNaughtan