Rumbie & Co: Empowering the curly-haired in the heart of Sydney
Located on busy Cleveland Street in Sydney’s inner city, Wavy, Curly and Afro hair specialists Rumbie & Co is more than just a salon.
Founded by Zimbabwean-Australian Rumbie Mutsiwa, Rumbie & Co aims to be a safe, nurturing and educating space for all types of curls, for people of all backgrounds.
“It’s not just about the African community; it’s about the disenfranchised,” Rumbie explained.
For such a long time, a lot people with curly hair have felt disenfranchised in many ways and because of this, people can have self-love issues because there has been a misunderstanding of curly hair.
“Most people were never taught how to wash or style their hair, or what products they need to use, so it has built a psychology behind how we see ourselves and how we see our curly hair, conscious or otherwise.”
As arguably one of the only curl-specialising salons in Australia that works with all types of curls, Rumbie feels a responsibility to spread her knowledge about what can be done with Wavy, Curly or Afro hair types, to help people feel more comfortable about what’s naturally on their head.
While hosting a ‘Love Me Curls’ Class at her Chippendale salon for parents and their curly-haired children, Rumbie also runs workshops at various cultural events such as the popular Africultures Festival.
She has also worked with significant names in pop culture and the curly-haired community including American actress Amandla Stenberg and British musician FKA Twigs.
Rumbie & Co at Africultures Festival 2019: Image obtained from Rumbie & Co Instagram page
Looking back on her formative years in Zimbabwe, Rumbie said she had always loved everything to do with hair; however, pursuing a career in hairdressing was never a thought that crossed her mind.
“Culturally, we just weren’t encouraged to be artsy, or to be a hairdresser, so for me, I came [to Australia] with that same mind-frame of needing to be a doctor, a lawyer, or an engineer,” she recalled.
After arriving in Sydney to study, her first few weeks in the country entailed a last minute change from Psychology to Nursing, despite lacking any passion for either course. At the same time, Rumbie’s sister, who was also in Australia, was unfortunately losing hair due to stress.
“She was getting her hair done by this really lovely lady, but her extensions never looked great, so I decided I would help her, and it took me about eight hours to learn how to do her hair then,” Rumbie said.
My sister was my first client and she is still my client.
The Rumbie & Co Team: Image obtained from Rumbie & Co Instagram page
However, it wasn’t until after Rumbie had worked as a nurse for six years that she began seriously considering hairdressing as a job. Feeling confused about the direction her life was taking, Rumbie turned to her sister to ask what she thought she was good at.
Her sister’s response? Hair.
“I remember leaving her house feeling so mad, I was livid, because culturally hairdressing was not something we were ever taught or conditioned to even think about,” Rumbie said.
“I went home, and I started to write down why I felt mad about my sister’s suggestions, but I instead wrote down all the reasons why I loved hair, and that turned into two pages of what is now part of my vision.
So, I started doing hair from home and I just realised I loved making other people happy and making them see that they’re beautiful, making them feel good about themselves, and seeing the transformative power of hair.
Since then, Rumbie has never looked back and her salon has seen over two thousand local and international customers leave its doors with a newfound love and appreciation of their hair and the loving community Rumbie has created.
Rumbie & Co is located at 14/128 Cleveland St, Chippendale NSW. To learn more or to book an appointment, head to their website HERE