Maria Wickenden from Killara Sydney – Interview with Caitlin James
Here’s whats in the Interview Above!
Caitlin J.: Hi everyone, and welcome to Scalp Micro-pigmentation Australia’s getting to know your scalp micro-pigmentation artist segment. The year is 2020, and we are currently in the COVID-19 restriction. So, I thought I would take this opportunity to put together a series of videos where we interview our artists.
And today we have Maria from our Sydney location in Killara. We’ll be asking Maria some questions so that all of our lovely Sydney clients have the opportunity to meet and find out a little bit more about Maria. Alright, so Maria welcome.
Maria W.: Hello, how are you?
Caitlin J.: Good, thanks for joining us this morning. So let’s start with the very first question, which is where did you first hear about scalp micro-pigmentation?
Maria W.: Well, I first started hearing about it when I was doing some research for my husband. He was starting to experience some hair loss, and we did look into hair transplants, and we had taken some of the hair loss drugs for quite a while. We didn’t see much improvement, and when we did look into other hair loss treatments, this came up.
And I was really interested in it because I was already doing cosmetic tattooing. And yes, that’s sort of how I got started. I contacted you because you’re recommended as one of the best trainers in Australia. So yes, that’s how we got into SMP, and it’s been great for my husband. It’s been a few years, and it’s still holding up really well. So yes, we love it, and I feel like it all happened at the right time for husband and for myself.
Caitlin J.: Yes. So you come from a beauty background, just touch on that because your experience is way more than most for someone your age. Your entry into the industry, you were quite young.
Maria W.: Yes. So I was 16 when I first started working for my sister, and I think I did my first beauty course when I was 18, and then I opened a salon when I was 18. Then, we opened multiple salons, so at one point we’re running seven at the same time. And my sister and my sister-in-law’s were all in the industry, and I guess as time progressed, they had children, and they all sort of semi-retired.
They’ve all come back now, and I’ve just sort of always stuck to it. I love it, and it’s an industry that’s always dynamic and growing, there’s always so much to learn. So every year, I try and do a couple of courses, just to have industry currency and to keep up with any new trends or techniques or strategies. And I really feel that is like a benefit that I can bring to all my clients.
Caitlin J.: Yes, excellent. Because you have done multiple Scalp MicroPigmentation trainings, you’ve done training here in Australia and overseas. I think with your business background and your advanced skills, I think you make a really awesome artist to be a part of our team, so thank you.
Maria W.: Yes. Oh, I love being part of our team; I feel like with our team, you’ve been quite selective with who’s in your team. And it really I feel it shows is in the results that we can produce. So it’s an honor to be part of the team.
Caitlin J.: Thank you! Lovely, alright. So you’ve been in the industry for a couple of years now, so what has been the biggest thing that you’ve seen change, not so much here in Australia because we are a little bit further behind with how many artists we have here and how long scalp micro-pigmentation has been more mainstream out here. Watching the industry over the last couple of years, mainly from overseas, what do you feel has been the biggest advancement in our industry?
Maria W.: I think some of the biggest advancements are the specialized inks and these specialized SMP tattoo machines – like Bishop coming out with such a great machine that’s specialized only for SMP. So yes, I think it’s more the tools that we use; we’ve got tools that aren’t just useful; cosmetic tattooing it’s more specific to our industry. And just the needles they keep improving. Yes, I think machines, needles, and inks.
So we stop experimenting with cosmetic inks that aren’t really sort of designed for SMP. So I feel like the longevity of the inks and the machines that we use really fare well over the years now. So just watching people come back and the results are really still nice and natural and soft, as opposed to I’ve seen some really old work. And maybe that was what was available back then, but the old work that comes in that was done by just tattoo artists basically. Yes, there’s a huge difference in how it wears.
Caitlin J.: Yes. And that would be previous to around 2015 we would say, so 2016 perhaps. It was still a little bit experimental. Back at that time, there wasn’t readily available training. At that time, you really had to buy into a franchise and be taught from within the franchise business how to do scalp micro-pigmentation.
So I would agree there that anything prior to around 2015, those results are very different to what we now see, awesome. So what is it that you love most about scalp micro-pigmentation?
Maria W.: I love the whole process, and the fact that there is zero to minimal downtime, and the results are gradually built up, but almost instantaneous. So yes, like just watching someone come in from their consultation to their third session walking out, they’ve got a full hairline, and that’s so exciting to see. Yes, just restoring people’s confidence. And yes, my favorite part is probably getting them in front of a mirror and showing them where the hairline is now.
So yes, if I look at people’s faces when they come in for the consultation, they’re quite nervous. And then compare it to the last session, it’s amazing, and it’s life-changing when we can help people in such a big way. And it changes people’s confidence like I’ve had guys who were never photographed without a hat or there were certain activities that they couldn’t do or wouldn’t do.
And now they’ve just got so much freedom, and I think that’s so rewarding. Yes, that’s probably my favorite part of the transformation, and just changing how people feel about themselves and being able to help them get there.
Caitlin J.: Yes, absolutely, I agree with you there. I think any Scalp Micro-pigmentation artist that might be watching this would probably relate really quite well to that because it is interesting for sure.
So when a guy comes to a consultation and they walk through the door, is there something that you instantly see about that person that you think oh, yes, I could definitely help with that hairline?
Maria W.: Yes. I mean, when someone comes in, after talking to them for a while. I always look at their hairline and where we could take it. And I always discuss realistic outcomes as well, and hairlines actually suit the person in their age, I thought makes such a difference like in framing their face.
And yes, I think as soon as they come in, I can kind of start to, my brain starts going and I can kind of start to visualize where I think we can end up. And it’s always nice to actually go through with the process, and see it all come together. I just know that I can help them.
Caitlin J.: Yes. So what parts of the scalp micro-pigmentation process would you say is your favorite? Is it working with that person in the first session with their hairline? Do they get excited, or is it when it’s all finished? What part is your favorite?
Maria W.: To be honest, the second session is probably my favorite just because I feel like that’s when you start to see the fullness come back, and the density comes back. Yes, second session, I feel like people will walk out with a different kind of swagger. They’re a lot more confident, and yes, that’s probably my favorite session.
I call it the magic session because you just look like a different person when you walk out of the second session. And first session is also one of my favorites, but the second session, I think that’s when you start to see the twinkle come back in their eyes, and it gets exciting for them and for myself as well.
Caitlin J.: Yes, brilliant. So, where do you see our industry heading? Do you feel like there’s a certain direction that we’re going in at the moment? Where do you see the scalp micro-pigmentation industry heading in the next couple of years?
Maria W.: Certainly, I think that we’re going to cross borders a lot more in terms of training and networking and connecting with people. I’ve done a few extra webinars with some SMP artists overseas, and just learning from each other and building a bigger network. I feel like particularly in Australia, there are less artists, but as more artists come on board and start trading, I think yes, there will be more of a push towards having sort of an international stage where all SMP artists can learn off each other and support each other.
Yes, I think there are more push overseas and overseas training, and yes, I think it’ll be really good for the industry and for our clients because the more you learn, the more you can bring value to your client.
Caitlin J.: Yes, absolutely. So Sydney tends to be one of the oldest parts of Australia for having scalp micro-pigmentation. It’s where some of the original companies have come from. Do you feel like you see a lot more sort of poor work coming through? Because back when it was sort of starting, there was some really nice controlled results. Do you feel like there is a lot more poor work coming through the Sydney location in the last six months?
Maria W.: Yes. So it’s great that the industry is getting bigger, and some people are getting the proper training to do SMP. But we do also have a lot of cosmetic tattoo artists or body artists just sort of experimenting, and I think that’s quite dangerous. So yes, I have done quite a few repair jobs, because there are people out there that there’s no integrity behind their work.
They just think well; I’ve been doing cosmetic tattooing or body art tattooing actually for so long that I can probably do this. And I think what people don’t realize is that SMP is quite a refined style of tattooing. So you do need the proper training, and it is quite dangerous to be messing with someone’s head without proper training and experience too. So just doing an online course or whatever is not going to cut it.
Caitlin J.: Yes.
Maria W.: So I think that’s kind of the problem we’re seeing coming through at the moment in the last six months or so. There are a lot of SMP artists, I guess, coming into the industry, but there’s not enough proper training.
Caitlin J.: Yes. And with your consultations you do tend to have a very big portfolio there in Sydney. So anyone wanting to come through for consultation with Maria, it’s really important to not only show Maria what it is that you’re hoping to achieve, maybe by showing her some photos of results that you may have seen online.
But making sure that your artists can show you that she can do that style of tattooing, because there is such a big difference in all the hairlines that we create, and every hairline is quite unique to every client. So when you’re doing your research, make sure that you do see proof that your artist is able to do the style of scalp micro-pigmentation that you are after.
So one more question for you, Maria, is there one standout transformation that you’ve completed that has been your absolute favorite? Is there a story that you can tell us about one of your clients?
Maria W.: Oh, yes. So actually, it’s been a few months now, but I recently completed a client with Alopecia. His alopecia hadn’t progressed in the last probably 20 years, but there was significant losses all around the back and also at the top. He was very nervous, and he came in, and he said he wasn’t able to leave the house that he has gotten so bad. And I convinced him to maybe clip it down, and we’ll have a look at it, and he said it was the first time he’s had someone cut his hair in 30 years.
So he’s just been cutting it himself and using fibers to cover up the hair loss. So yes, we clip it with him in the clinic, and he’s now able to walk outside and feel confident. He’s going to change his career path; he said he wants to get into acting. And it’s just yes like we cried a little bit, he cried, I cried so yes it’s such a beautiful transformation. And not only just physically, but just mentally for him, it just gave him a new lease on life. And he was a young guy; he was about 40 years old.
And I said this is an amazing journey for you to take. So he said yes, this is his year and that’s probably one of my favorite transformations just because of the lifestyle he was living before, where he was a bit of a homebody. He didn’t feel confident enough to sort of get out and meet people, and he said he’s going to start using the dating apps again.
So yes, I think that was really exciting. Just to see how far he’d come and his confidence levels, and he was so nervous in the consultation. But yes, every time he walked out, he had some new goals to put on his list. So yes, that was very exciting.
Caitlin J.: That’s amazing, well done. Well, it was lovely chatting with you today. So thank you so much for joining us and putting this little YouTube and podcast together for us, so that people can get to know you a little bit better. So if you’re living in Sydney and looking into hair loss treatments and solutions, Maria is in Killara location, and she does see people from all over Sydney and makes a trip to see her for her amazing results.
So, if you’re looking into scalp micro-pigmentation, we offer a free consultation where you can meet Maria in person, and she can map out some hairline or maybe look at for the ladies doing some density work. To make the hair feel thicker and fuller. If you’re interested in this style of hair loss tattooing, make sure you get in touch with us.
And please subscribe to our channel below as well, and hit the like button. And if you’re in the podcast channel, make sure you; please give us a lovely rating to help spread the word about scalp micro-pigmentation and what we’re doing for all of those affected by hair loss here in Australia. Thanks, everyone.
Maria W.: Thank you. See you later.