The mama-to-be behind the environmentally friendly hair salon, Love Hair
Making her way from London to Hong Kong several years ago, Toni Ovenden found herself in a new city that excited her with the possibilities to grow her career. As a creative and passionate hair stylist who believes in making a smaller carbon footprint, she set out to start her own hair salon that reflected her deeply rooted ethos of using natural and organic products on her clients. After seeing the affects of many toxic hair products, she made a choice to use items that would be good for people and the world. And thus, Love Hair was born.
As Love Hair grew and celebrated it’s one year anniversary, Toni is now expecting her first human baby! Getting help from her friend Birgit Wahlhaeuser of W Interior Concepts, she invites us into her gorgeous nursery space and dishes on the funniest preggo moment to sharing which was her most difficult trimester. Read on in this edition of The Bump.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you ended up in Hong Kong.
Ten years ago I was backpacking around Asia and came to Hong Kong to visit a good friend who was here doing her year abroad. It made a big impression on me and I left saying, “I am coming to live in Hong Kong.”. When I went back to London to continue my hairdressing career I got caught up in climbing the career ladder there and five years flew by. Due to sudden loss of a good friend, I reevaluated what I was doing and decided it was time to pack up and finally embark on my journey to Hong Kong.
What was your first impression of Hong Kong?
My first impression was that I loved the mix of East meets West. It was a city full of local Chinese tradition that was still cosmopolitan and modern in so many ways. The fact that you could live in Asia and it’s also relatively easy to get around daily life. I am from London, so there’s no denying that I’m a city girl through and through but you can’t take a taxi to the beach there!
How did you get into hair styling and cutting?
I started as a Saturday girl at the salon whilst at school in a local salon. I was always very practical and loved being creative, so naturally when I left school it seemed like the right path to take. When you enjoy what you do, it makes all the difference.
Read more: Where to Get Kids’ Haircuts in Hong Kong
Why has it been so important for you to adopt the organic and natural products and ethos for your salon, Love Hair?
As hairdressers, we are exposed on a daily basis to toxins in everything we use. I believe this contributed to me having high levels of metals in my body making me unwell for a period of time. Once finding out the cause and how to prevent this, I decided to take action and control what I expose myself to on a daily basis. Also, being environmentally conscious is the only way forward for new businesses in my mind. Every person and business has a carbon footprint, also it encourages others to be aware of their own impact and the choices they can make.
What was your initial reaction when you first found out you were pregnant?
What was your husband’s reaction to your pregnancy? Did you find out together or did you surprise your partner?
I had an inkling and rather than waiting to see if my period would arrive, I took a test… at the IFC shopping mall toilet! I didn’t want to tell my husband, Ian on the phone so it was a long day at work keeping it to myself! It was Valentine’s Day too, so I put the pregnancy test in with his present. He was very happy.
Read more: Team Sassy Mama Shares Their Labour Stories
Do you know the gender of the baby? Are you keeping it a secret or doing a reveal?
We have left the gender as a surprise, which has been hard at times, but now we are getting so close to Labour Day, the suspense is making it even more exciting! Can’t wait to meet our little being!
Name a moment in your pregnancy experience where you’d like to freeze time.
When you feel the first kicks and punches.
What are your top three cravings?
I’m not sure I have craved anything in particular… I’d like to say chocolate but I crave that normally! I have actually gone off a few things like bananas and eggs.
Read more: Hydrating Foods to Keep You and Your Bump Refreshed
Name a funny moment in your pregnancy.
The amount of farting and burping!
What has been the easiest trimester and which one proved most difficult?
The first trimester was hard as you’re exhausted and feel like the baby is literally sucking the life out of you. Being on my feet all day as a hairdresser was challenging. The second trimester was great, felt very mobile and got my energy back. The third has just started to be difficult in the last few weeks as I am now uncomfortable. My fingers and toes look like sausages!
What have you struggled with most since being pregnant?
It’s like having a new identity! I was no longer Toni but my identity was overtaken by a pregnant woman. It felt like you were just generally being restricted with food while being more tired effects your social life. All the changes your body goes through is tough as right from the beginning it instantly starts to transform.
What has your experience been with being pregnant in Hong Kong? Healthcare system?
Hong Kong is a great place to access anything you need. The heat and humidity is a challenge. We are fortunate enough to be able to access the private system which has been great. Very quick and efficient with appointments. I would say I miss the personal touch and rapport with doctors in London. However, I have had some extra appointments at Annerley to give me that and they are excellent.
Read more: Antenatal Classes to Get You Ready for Labour
What do you think every woman should know before getting pregnant?
There is so much that isn’t spoken about and I think it would be more informative to have more articles on the things people don’t tell you about pregnancy. It is fascinating and the most amazing thing that your body can grow another human being from a ball of cells but it isn’t all glamorous and comes with many physical changes.
Any good suggestions on books to prep you for motherhood?
I haven’t read any books but my clients at the salon are a fountain of information and have given me enough advice to help me through.
Do you follow a specific fitness programme to stay in shape?
I am pretty active at work and was walking everywhere still up until about two weeks ago! I have done a mixture of prenatal Pilates and yoga throughout (Flex and The Yoga Room are my go-to’s).
Any fashion tips and tricks for maternity dressing?
Buy normal clothes but in a big size! Being comfortable is important, I like just being able to throw on a dress and go.
Read more: Maternity Clothes: Where to Shop for Every Occasion
Name a mama you find inspiring and why?
My mumma is inspiring as she managed to bring up three daughters all on her own.
What are your hopes and dreams for your baby?
For them to be confident and comfortable in their own skin. To be grounded, have compassion and emotional intelligence for other people and the world around them.