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SALLY DOWLING & JULIA HOMARD - PARLOUR O

Parlour O is the result of a dream between friends – Orange local Sally Dowling & business partner & stylist Julia Homard – to provide a space where old and new friends can feel welcome & be treated to a range of hair & beauty services closer to home.


TELL US ABOUT PARLOUR O.

Located in the beautiful Central Western NSW of Orange, we opened our doors in mid-2022. Primarily, Parlour O is a hair salon, but we like to think of it as so much more. To us, Parlour O is a destination - a beautiful space that lets our clients escape the day-to-day and indulge.

Our vision was to create a space for the community. A space for young talent to learn and grow. A space where clients can feel welcome and a space where other businesses can form and evolve alongside us.

Parlour O is currently home to five different businesses. Over the last six months, we have formed relationships with like-minded businesses to bring our clients a one-stop destination. We are now a collective. A collective that brings together hair, beauty, treatments, make-up, training and events – all under one roof. We are also fully licensed, which lets us showcase the best food and wine the region has to offer.


WHAT IS UNIQUE ABOUT PARLOUR O?

We like to think Parlour O is unique because of its ‘people’. The people we work with, those who walk through our doors, and those in our community. The people of Parlour O have turned our dream into a reality, and for that, we are so grateful.

The other unique thing about Parlour O is our beautiful space. 173 Lord's Place has been so elegantly restored. It is the perfect balance between old and new and has helped us to create a luxurious but homely environment for our staff and clients.


YOU BOTH MADE THE TREE CHANGE FROM SYDNEY TO ORANGE, NSW. WHAT PROMPTED THE DECISION TO MOVE, AND WHAT’S THE CHANGE OF SCENERY BEEN LIKE?

Sally: My husband and I lived in London for three years, and after returning, we always spoke about spending some time in Orange, Stu’s hometown. The move (4 years ago now) was prompted by Stu getting a job here, but being Sydney born and bred, the move was initially a daunting one for me. However, we have not looked back and now live on a small farm on the outskirts of town with our three boys – we can’t imagine raising our little family anywhere else.

Jules: I made the final move when witnessing the success of Parlour O, and our team, and honestly, I didn’t want to miss out on all the fun! I feel like when Sally and I are together, we are a stronger force, and our team thrives.


WHAT HAVE YOU SACRIFICED THROUGHOUT YOUR CAREER?

Sally: I feel like the word ‘sacrifice’ has a negative connotation. I do believe there are sacrifices along the way. However, I don’t see them negatively. From a professional point of view, when moving to Orange, I felt that I was sacrificing a 13-year advertising & marketing career I had worked so hard for. However, in hindsight, it has been one of the building blocks for what we have now been able to create at Parlour O.

From a personal point of view, the biggest sacrifice is, without a doubt, moving away from my family in Sydney. Raising a young family and running a business without the day-to-day support of my family has been the most challenging part of Parlour O. The upside to this is that they love Orange and visit regularly! Fundamentally, I believe that small sacrifices along the way have created what is now in front of us - Parlour O - and that feels worth the sacrifices.


Jules: At my first salon, J Salon in Paddington, I found I was spreading myself too thin and had to decide what ultimately needed more of my attention. So, with that, I had to close half my business. I have amazing colleagues running the salon now, but I miss our day-to-day laughs, and saying goodbye to some clients I have looked after for 20 years was extremely hard. They become like family after a certain point. On a personal level, I am closer to my family in the Central West, and luckily, I get to spend time with my husband more than ever.


WHAT’S THE BEST PIECE OF BUSINESS ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?

Sally: It’s a setback. Tomorrow is a new day. Get after it!

Jules: Everything is figure-outble!


HOW DO YOU BALANCE WORK & LIFE RESPONSIBILITIES?

Sally: Over the last 12 months, I have realised (more than ever) that the juggle is real and that the perfect work/life balance is near impossible. As a working Mum, guilt is something that I have to work through daily. When I am with my boys, I feel guilty about working, and when I am working, I feel guilty about not being with my boys. Something I have worked hard on this year is being in the moment - so if I am at work, I am there physically and mentally and, likewise, with my family. Being fully present in the moment makes the juggle work. I am lucky to have the most amazing business partner in Jules, she always encourages and understands the importance of family, and I am so grateful for that.

Jules: As a creative in business, I’ve learned to separate the two when working on clients or in fashion. I tend not to do any admin, such as emails/invoices.


WHAT’S ON THE HORIZON FOR PARLOUR?

The future looks exciting at Parlour O. We will be about building our team, educational events (for our staff and the industry), events, collaborations, and so much more! Last year, the focus had to be on the fit-out of our beautiful space and getting the foundations right. This year, we can shift our focus to the road ahead, which is exciting.


Location: Orange, NSW

Instagram: @parlour_o

Facebook: parlour o

Photography: Monique Lovick

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