He’s a little alternative, a bit of a character and insanely passionate about everything from the arts and the environment to cutting and colours. We go one-on-one with the ‘beard’ behind Portabello, Anthony Santamaria.
Tell us a bit about Portabello – how long have you been around? What is the culture like at Portabello?
Portabello began in 1994. I joined the team in 2005 and took over the salon two years ago. We have always had a strong culture tailored to the client experience; to provide excellence in service, skill, passion, education and communication. Since I’ve taken the reigns I have infused this culture with a strong set of core values, with empathy, diversity and inclusion at the forefront.
How long have you been hairdressing?
For a few years I studied psychology at university, but I was a terrible student. After a short time working in retail, I decided to try my hand at hairdressing. I started my training and shortly after had a trial at Portabello and the rest is history! Four years later, I was made the training manager and then the salon manager. I’ve been part of the industry for 14 years now and I still love it. It’s a warm and welcoming community, especially here in SA, and it’s full of amazing creativity and unbridled passion. Amongst our clients I’m known as a Rainbow Unicorn – special and unique, vibrant and colourful, a mythical creature that probably shouldn’t exist! The skills that I’m known for are my rainbow colour work, blondes and precision cutting, especially of curly and thick hair. My favourite aspect of hairdressing is getting to know new people, building rapport with them and welcoming them into the Portabello family.
Who is the Portabello client?
The Portabello client can’t be described as one person – we welcome everybody with open arms. I have a particular fondness for those on the fringe, the freaks and geeks, the artists and dreamers. Anybody who embraces change and diversity and is open to learning more about themselves and those around them.
What is the Portabello experience? What is your point of difference?
Portabello is a creative and nurturing environment. Our clients are treated to a luxurious space, coupled with attention from well-trained individuals, comfortable massage basins and natural plant-filled surroundings. There is a wide selection of fashion magazines and concept art books to read, something to cater to everybody’s tastes. Hair can have a huge impact on a person’s self-esteem and our clients entrust us to build them up, which we do by taking their raw, natural beauty and shaping it into a look that says ‘This is Me’.
You like to partner with other local like-minded businesses – tell us about this.
We are all about supporting the great things South Australia has to offer. As a performer in the Fringe and Cabaret festivals, I like to keep our clients informed on current events. Part of the space is dedicated to the arts, with posters showcasing upcoming theatre, music, and other assorted events. The supplier of our alcoholic beverages is Sparkke Change Beverage Company. Not only are they an Adelaide brand run by a group of amazing women, their company ethos blends perfectly with ours. Their drinks represent different causes, with part of the proceeds going towards groups in support of campaigns such as gender equality, sexual consent, climate change and Indigenous rights. They are a wonderful, supportive group making waves in the beer industry and I’m happy to have them as part of our crew.
You’re big on sustainability too…
One of the biggest changes to our industry is another of our partner companies, Sustainable Salons Australia. They are reshaping the way we think about waste in the salon. They collect about 95 percent of all of our waste products and resource them into new products. We collect all of our plastic, paper, metals (including all the foil used in colouring) and chemical waste and they come and pick it up. They even collect all of our hair scraps! The hair is used to make ‘hair Blooms’, which are used to soak up oil spills. It’s really incredible. Plastic gets turned into hard plastic that can be used for things like 3D printing. One of the projects they provide hard plastic for is printed building foundations for houses. It’s a great feeling knowing that we are doing our part to protect the future of our planet.
Metro Centre 254
Unley Road Hyde Park
(08) 8373 0911