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The team at hair by PHD in 1987 on the left, and in 2014 on the right.

The end of another school year is just about done. The HSC is nearly over and I’m sure there are a lot of parents out there stressing about how well their child is going to do. Will he or she get into law or maybe medicine? How about becoming a hairdresser? Or maybe doing another trade of some sort?

This might be a bit controversial but I think there is way to much pressure put on our kids today to go to university. Not for all kids, some are made for university but some kids are not. Let’s take me for example. I left school in Year 10, way back in 1985 and decided that I would do an apprenticeship in hairdressing. In those days the TAFE colleges were full of trade’s people, in hairdressing we had four classes of 12 students everyday for 5 days. Today, you would be lucky to get a class of 12 in one week.

There are a lot of young people out there that would make great trades people, but get talked in to going to university and are missing out on a great career opportunity.

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My father, Pete Akle, who began Hair by PHD in 1968 – following in his footsteps has been a very rewarding experience.

I was lucky enough to be on a salon owner’s conference in the beautiful Hamilton Island recently. I was asked at the conference to be on a panel in front of about 80 salon owners from around Australia discussing issues that affect our industry. I looked around the room and I was blown away by the amount of highly successful salon owners who have not only become wonderful trades people, they are also running very successful salons. As salon owners and hairdressers they are giving a lot to the community by employing young people and teaching them to be great hairdressers and life skills. I really felt privileged to be part of this group.

I am also sure there are a lot of people out there in other trades who have done and continue to do the same. Most of the group would have left school in year 10 and have achieved very highly.

I also feel blessed that I can make a difference in peoples lives through hairdressing. I have built relationships with clients that are priceless and that will last a lifetime.   Seeing clients in their prime going to their school formals, having their 21st, getting married and having kids. Then there is the other side, which really affects me. Seeing clients who I have known for 25 years go through the darker side of life- marriage break ups, suffering with serious illness and then there are the ones that leave us forever.

I am very grateful to be able to make a difference to my clients lives by being someone they can confide in or making them feel a million bucks when they walk out with a new ‘do’.


At Hair by Phd we are very lucky to have great young people working for us and I am proud to say that a girl who has been with us for nearly 9 years is partnering with us to open a second Hair by Phd salon. Bec Moses started with us straight out of school and is about to be the part owner of Hair by Phd Carlingford. She is going to embark on a journey that is rewarding in so many ways.

So parents out there, if your kids come home one day and tell you they want to be a hairdresser; don’t stress it’s not that bad!


Sarkis, the Hairstylist.