Nearly two years ago, French hairdresser Pierce Boyle was holidaying with his family in Martinborough. Seeing an attractive heritage building, his mother-in-law said ‘I can see you in that place’. Susan McLeary continues his story.

And voila! in February 2016 Pierce opened Le Coiffeur hair boutique, in that very building, beneath a chandelier sparkling with French flair. 

Maybe it’s that flair and appealing accent, or maybe just because he’s a very good hairdresser that his business has grown very fast and bookings are two weeks ahead.  Wellington clients come over to combine a haircut with a leisurely day in Martinborough.  

The salon is the culmination of two dreams: to have his own salon and to live in the Wairarapa. Pierce and his wife Anne-Christine lived in Wellington for six years, and often spent weekends in Martinborough. So one weekend he asked around about possibilities.  

Naturally, that heritage building was high on his list, and Ellen on Jellicoe St became Le Coiffeur (French for ‘the hairdresser’). 

The 1895 building is considered heritage, allowing updating work without modernising the facade.  

 “This was made possible by our Martinborough-based business partners Jeff and Brenda Channer,” Pierce acknowledges. “They contribute finance, business acumen and support, and we make a good team. I have lots of ideas, and they help decide what we can do now and what has to wait.” 

Pierce enjoys everything about being a hairdresser, but he especially loves his scissors. “They are very special, made for my hands. My scissors are for me what a pen is for a writer. They are short blade scissors, as I trained at Vidal Sassoon where short blades are required for high precision cuts. 

 “They fit my hand perfectly, and their little snipping sound as I cut hair is very pleasing to me. Concentrating hard, I go in to my little bubble when cutting,” he smiles.  

 “I love working out how best to cut and style all the different types of hair so it looks good and my clients can handle it themselves. Many women wish their hair was not thick or fine or straight or curly, but I love helping them find their style. Hairdressing is not a job, it is a craft. An art!“ 

Pierce is keen to update the hair boutique, combining artistic, technological and commercial flair. i-Pads have replaced magazines, and a ‘flying saucer’ dryer speeds up and enhances colour treatments.  

Two new business class basin chairs are about to be installed, to improve hair washing and head massage so that it’s ‘a most pleasurable experience‚‘ 

He’s looking for another senior stylist. Former manager and part-time employee Ellen excels in hair styling for weddings and special occasions, and with the salon open six days a week, Pierce takes every other Saturday off. 

From Brittany and Normandy respectively, Pierce and Anne-Christine met in Wellington and now live in Carterton. Their first child is due in early March. Being shown baby scans by a very excited expectant father on his phone is truly charming, as he shares his plans for the baby to be bi-lingual in French and English, and possibly learn Maori (“a very beautiful language”) as well.  

They love this region, describing it as “different world, wonderful quality of life and great communities, with lots of opportunities. We have been able to buy a house, start a business and build a new life in the Wairarapa in a way we could not in Wellington,” Pierce concludes. Scissors in hand and beneath his stylish chandelier.