Popular Takapuna business Oscar & Co. has recently completed the renovation of a sensational loft space on Hurstmere Road that may well be the best location for a hair salon in New Zealand. Channel Mag’s Aidan Bennett – a regular Oscar & Co. customer over the past decade – caught up with owner Gene Cooksley in mid-January to discuss their new home and what’s happening in 2021.
Over the past decade Oscar & Co. has developed a very loyal following for their expertise with everything hair. Owner Gene Cooklsey sums up what they do as “modern hairdressing to a professional level” and it sounds about right. This is a very professional business with very high standards; standards developed by Gene over three decades in the business – he had his first salon in Lake Road, Takapuna way back then.
The first 10 years for Oscar & Co. was at 78 Hurstmere Road. With the need for extra space, 12 months ago Gene bought the salon located opposite Oscar & Co at 55 Hurstmere Road (level one) and used it as overflow from the main salon.
“The owner of the financial business located on the same level at 55 Hurstmere was initially looking at expanding his space, but after the first Covid lockdown, and the change in office work habits, his plans changed,” explains Gene. “So the opportunity came up for us to expand into that space. And we took it. Scarily, we took possession of the extra space just as Covid lockdown two came along, but we used that time to strip it all out. We were keen to maximise the entire space, natural light and the iconic views.”
What has been achieved is truly sensational. From early November the entire Oscar & Co. business was relocated to the new loft space and they all love it. Gene’s vision was for customers to walk up the stairs and go wow! With the help of Al Paget from Pipi Design he has achieved that. The beams have been exposed, the 1950s lino lifted and floors polished and the complete space opened up with large windows letting in natural light (and the views!) at both ends.
“I am sure our customers love the fact that they walk up the stairs and are immediately in the heart of the salon where it’s all happening,” adds Gene. "Our team are styling, cutting, washing, mixing colour and doing toners right there. It’s the equivalent of being on the chef’s table in a busy restaurant.”
Oscar & Co. has become the New Zealand hair businesses equivalent of a Michelin star restaurant over the past decade. Gene Cooksley is a leader in the industry and members of his team are also well respected leaders in the fashion sector. Senior stylist Edward is editorial director for Redken, Brooke is an educator and stage presenter for Redken, and Jess is an ambassador for Redken. Oscar & Co. have a very strong focus on education and are also leading the way with sustainability, with 95% of their waste being recycled.
Gene has spent his career in places like Ponsonby as well as Takapuna and only sees good things ahead for Takapuna.
“With the development in our area I can see Takapuna turning into the Bondi of Auckland. While we currently have challenges with Covid and the redevelopment of the main street – there is a lot going on – the future of Takapuna is bright. We are very lucky to live and work around here and I see the changes ultimately bringing quality to Takapuna.”
We are indeed lucky that Gene Cooksley, with Oscar & Co, is investing in the future of Takapuna and the North Shore. If you are looking for that special look for the summer of 2021 then pop along and see them at their new Takapuna loft. I am told the summer (hair) style is all about the '90s: '90s heartthrobs, ‘it-girls’, catwalk supermodels and grunge rockers. With a strong undercurrent of '70s/'80s style curls and cuts/bangs. Probably not for me; I am happy with the six-weekly cut I get from Karoline, one of their lovely team members. But it may suit you?
Oscar & Co. – Level 1, 55 Hurstmere Road, Takapuna Beach.