Gillian Farrell was introduced to me by another Irish friend as someone you ‘should’ know! Originally from Sligo, Gillian is a partner and Artistic Director at Alize Salon, a Western and Chinese hair salon and spa. I called her immediately and the lovely Irish accent at the other end of the phone was music to my ears. She is coming up to her sixth year in Shanghai now and if you haven’t already visited her salon – you should!
Firstly, why Shanghai?
I arrived in Shanghai the year of the Expo (2010) – it was the place everyone was talking about so I said why not. My plan was to be here for only 6 months, but now nearly 6 years later I’m still here running my own salon and spa. It was the right choice.
What’s it like running a salon here in Shanghai?
It’s very rewarding but also comes with its challenges. The rewards are that I get to meet so many wonderful people every day from all around the world. This allows me to be more creative with my cutting skills and colouring. As for the challenges, these are mainly to do with the language barrier as well as importing foreign products. But we’re actively working on different ways to overcome these challenges in order to become better.
What’s the most bizarre haircut you’ve given? Any weird requests?
I’m afraid I don’t have any bizarre haircut stories, but I have fixed many bizarre cuts and colours. Living here I’ve had many customers who went to a Chinese salon that didn’t have any experience working with “foreign” hair, which has left them with some crazy shades of green and blue that I hadn’t seen before. To this day, no weird requests yet.
Connect with Gillian and Alize Salon via email or WeChat: GPGFarrell