jess Di Donato for dd&co.com.au

River Bennett (Photography River Bennett)

If you trace the tresses of the girls with rose gold hair and pastel tones, detailed braids and daring cuts that colour the streets of Sydney, you’ll find them trailing out of DD+CO, a rich and vivid salon in St Peters, as vibrant as the woman behind it all. 

From the small beginnings of a makeshift hair salon in her laundry room several years ago, Jess Di Donato would soon push out the boundary line to pursue her vision. Her tenacity, commitment and creativity has gained her respect in the Sydney Hair Colour Specialist Community and the world seems to be peeking in to see her secret to it all.
 

When I was a little girl I ...

When I was a little girl I always dreamed and pretended that I was a princess! Even when I went to Italy with the family, my cousins would always ask me what my name was in Australia and I told them it was ‘Princess’ (yep... kids these days)

I fell in love with hair when ...

I first fell in love with hair when one of Mum’s friends coloured my hair for the first time. It was the best 10 foils of my life!

I started DD&CO ...

I was my own boss for 5 years at home before even fathoming the idea of owning my own salon. I worked 4 nights a week with a little chair and a basin in my laundry. After collecting a whole heap of client hair and cat hair in my laundry, I decided I had enough hair in my house! It was time for me to venture out of my comfort zone and really start thinking about where and what I wanted to do.

My husband Ben and I decided to look for potential salons. We started looking around Sydney, firstly in The Shire, and then in Sans Souci.

We took our time throwing ideas back and forth about when, where and how until I finally made the call to go and look at a particular place we had been driving past.

I knew deep down inside that this was THE one. All I had to do was show Mum, Dad and Ben to get their tick of approval. It didn’t take long for us all to realize this place was perfect!

We then had to find the perfect name for our new salon, seeing as Amore Hair by Jessica (wog girl, I know) was not quite fitting. It needed something cool, but not too cool, and practical, but not just my name. It was my beautiful friend Jaynie Johnson who came up with the idea of DD+CO. I fell in love with the name and ran with it.

When DD&CO moved to a bigger space in St. Peters it was  ....

At first, St. Peters was just an idea for a second location, but when l looked at the numbers and risk factors, we had decided that the place we were looking at just wasn't going to work for us.

Two months after deciding against that place in St. Peters, we were told that our current Sans Souci building was about to undergo construction-works, which meant that if we stayed it would be noisy and wouldn't be good for business (happy/sad moment). We knew deep down that St Peters was where we wanted to go but the reality of it was a whole other level of scary.

We took the plunge and did it anyway and we are so glad we did!

Being a boss is ...

Being boss over anyone other than myself is challenging for someone like me, who wanted to work out of her laundry doing hair! Being able to find the balance of being a friend and a manager is definitely a key factor to keeping my sanity.

Having to manage clientele, salon, girls and life can have its challenges – eg. in the middle of doing a full head of foils I'm thinking, ‘Oh that corner over there has hair in it’, or ‘Has that client over there filled in a new client form?’ or ‘Did I email that person back or did I dream about it’.

As a boss I make sure I .....

As a boss I ensure that everyone knows their place and responsibility, and make sure they own it so there is no awkward interactions between staff and myself. We have fortnightly meetings so that everyone is on the same page, we have as many training days as we can possibly fit in, always have something fun planned to look forward to (ie. Colour Conference, Races, Hairdressers’ Picnic Day) and always try to go out for dinner after our late night. 

We take pride in creating the best environment possible and have a ‘come as you are’ DD+CO culture, welcoming everyone into our salon as our own.

We have built our team like a family. We are family.

Our team is ...

Our team is the best it's ever been! It's not easy to find staff in the hairdressing industry, but we trust in God to provide us with the right people and it's certainly worked so far!

Being a Colour Specialist is ...

Being a Colour Specialist is so much fun and definitely never gets boring! Whether it be a low-light in blonde, or a crazy pink or blue - there are endless possibilities and always something different that we can achieve. My favourite colours are always pastel and rainbow colours because it's something different to what everyone else has.

Favourite products on the market?

My favourite products are definitely Olaplex, and R+Co's Dallas Thickening Spray. Olaplex has changed the world of hairdressing. It allows us to push the boundaries and go lighter without the damage to the hair. R+Co Dallas Thickening Spray is just a great all-rounder … pop it on your roots for some body, or on the ends for some flow!

Hair Colour Predictions for winter 2016?

ROSE GOLD, DEEP ASH BROWN and maybe a little gold-y, yellow ends?

If I wasn't a hairdresser I would be a ...

Back in the day, I liked the idea of being a florist but I'm so passionate about hairdressing that I can't imagine doing anything else!

My mum always told me ...

Mumma always told me to put God first and everything else will work out, so I have and - so far so good :)

 

For more info on DD&CO head to:

ddco.com.au

Insta:

@dd_co