I met Neville (my husband) when I was 15! Invercargill held a weekly dance at the RSA and my brother took me along … Neville had just come out of the Army being in the 1st intake of National Service. My brother introduced me to one of his friends, who had also been in the 1st intake and Neville was with him and as they say … the rest is history!
Once we started dating I shared with him my goal to train as a hairdresser and makeup artist, as I left school at 15 (as was the norm at the time) as I was brought up in an environment that believed education was wasted on a girl (you were only going to get married and have kids I was told). So at 15, I began working in Coulls Somerville Wilkie stationers as an Office Junior.
We were engaged in August 1964.
Notice: Engagement: Muntz – Button Mr and Mrs R.S. Button, 75 Pomona Street, Invercargill, have much pleasure in announcing the engagement of their youngest daughter, Frances to Neville, second Son of Mr and Mrs T Muntz, Longwood Road Riverton.
Neville suggested he fund me to go to a Hairdressing school in Christchurch – a six-month course in Hairdressing and Cosmetology. (He gave up rugby that year .. what a man!) My parents were none too happy about this but persistence prevailed, my dad told me I wouldn’t last… which was the best thing he could have said, as it made me determined to succeed as the course was challenging and stressful.
Being away from home and with the owner of the Hairdressing college (husband and wife team) running an extremely tight ship, with the wife being particularly hard and sometimes cruel to the students, a hard taskmaster (to say the least) and many times I would have loved to give up – but my dad’s comments kept ringing in my ears and I stuck it out.
I can say though, the training was amazing and the disciplines, attention to detail, skills and knowledge I learned were the basis of my start into a career in Beauty.
Once I graduated, in May 1965 I returned home to work in Olwyn Rae’s Hairdressing Salon in Invercargill, which was a great experience in a busy local salon to expand my skills. I worked there for approximately a year until we got married.
Being an independent person, the goal was to have my own business and after we got married we opened our Hairdressing salon in Riverton (a seaside town 25 miles out of Invercargill) behind a local store.
We named it “Beach Hairstylists”. Pictured below is the Taramea Bay Store where our salon was located behind the store. Unfortunately, I do not have a photo of the inside of the salon.
It was a great success and I loved it. The skills I had learnt were able to be introduced into the Deportment and Modelling school.
As we lived in a small seaside town. We petitioned the council to allow us to open for Saturday trading and finally gained permission for the first-ever Saturday opening in the province !! Quite an achievement in the day.
However, when I got seriously ill with Meningitis, the doctors told me I was not to go back to working with chemicals. Here is where my passion for “Natural” began.