Verve interviews: Paul Serville
V: Where did your family name “Serville” come from?
P: My family name is actually Huege de Serville. Because it was a long name it was frequently abbreviated to Serville by friends over the years so consequently that’s how Servilles came about. Regarding the origin of the name, growing up my father had told me all sorts of exotic stories over the years however I’m not actually sure of the nobility in any of them!
V: Paul you have a fabulously successful business, what is the best advice you could give someone starting up?
P: Belief and conviction.
Believe in the idea of the business and what it is that you are creating. I have had many successes and I have had a few stumbles. The thing that has got me through is the absolute belief and conviction in what we are creating and the ability to think smart.
Always be clear about what your vision is. For every new initiative that comes along, unless it is in-line with your vision then don’t do it!
V: What is your favourite holiday destination?
P: I’ve been very fortunate with what I do, I have been invited to present hairdressing or business seminars in many different countries around the world. I’m pretty lucky there’s not many places that I haven’t visited. But my favourite place to just hang out and chill on holiday is Hot Water Beach in the Coromandel.
V: Have any of your children followed in your footsteps?
P: None up until now, ask me in a few years’ time!
V: Who styles your hair Paul?
P: Well usually one of our stylists does it but while I was in Australia recently, I had a good friend of my Frank Apostolopoulos cut it at about 11pm one night!
V: Which has been the most exciting hairstyling era for you?
P: The seventies. So much changed for hairdressing in that decade. It was the era of creative experimental hairdressing. I owned a salon called Crimpers in the seventies. Crimpers became widely renowned as the salon that started the trend of cutting and blow-waving women’s hair, eliminating the trend of women having their hair ‘set’.
V: How would you advise a client to transition from colouring her hair to accepting the dignity of ageing and going grey?
P: I believe colour can look good at any age but a snow white head of hair is hard to beat! On older men and women, one complete block colour all over does not look good, you should always let reflects of your natural hair colour shine through.
V: With the growing surge in cancer and the detrimental effects on hair loss associated with the treatment what suggestions would you have for that transition period?
P:This is something quite close to my heart as a client and very dear friend of mine Louise Perkins had breast cancer and was going through chemo yet continued to come and see me right up to the end and with a smile on her face every single time. We now work very closely with the Sweet Louise Foundation set-up in her name where they are all about encouraging positive lives with breast cancer. I have client who has been having chemo and she looks amazing with a chic and smart short haircut. I believe with every negative comes a positive and it’s all about how you carry yourself. Positivity makes up for so much.
V: What style of clothing do you enjoy wearing most?
P: I like the styles of Dior Homme, Prada, Undercover, Y3 and Anne Demeulemeester
V: Which piece of clothing in your wardrobe is your current favourite?
My favourite item of clothing currently is a coat that I brought at Assin in Sydney last year. It’s a formal-style jacket by Kris van Assche who is the designer for Dior Homme but also has his own label. It’s black and the collar is designed to be like a scarf but in the same fabric as the jacket.
V: Are you like us, changing several times before you walk out the door?
P: No! That’s a woman thing!
Or maybe this is just a ‘woman’ thing?
Haha just answered above! Yes it’s just a woman thing.
V: How do you like a woman to dress?
P: A great pair of heels, I love high heels on a woman, the higher the better! Skinny jeans always look great. But I prefer dressed-up to dressed-down, I like dressed-up-casual even when it’s casual!
V: What has been the most significant highlight in your career?
There have been so many but the highlight for me is being able to watch others grow, being part of their success through sharing the learning that I’ve had and to be able to lift an industry that I am so passionate about.
Most recently I have loved being able to turn my business knowledge into a business with the Salon Business Programme for salon owners and managers. We’ve launched this in both Australia and New Zealand and it’s been an amazing success!