Auckland Salon Loxy’s Has Closed. But Owner Kate Jarrett Says There’s Beauty In Starting Over

By Ashleigh Cometti
Loxy’s founder Kate Jarrett is keeping her legacy alive with Hair By Loxy’s, a hair extension retailer and wholesale business. Photo / Supplied

Loxy’s founder Kate Jarrett tried everything to keep her hair salon business afloat. She explains what led to the end, and what she’s working on now.

Thirteen years, hundreds of clients, dozens of talented hairstylists, two inner-city salons and one founder with an impossible decision to make.

Despite 2022 being

Of the 13 years Loxy’s was in operation, I’ve known Kate for eight of them. I first met Kate in 2016, when she invited myself and the team from the magazine where I worked at the time to have our hair styled every day during New Zealand Fashion Week.

In the years since, I became a regular. I saw Katie, Kassia and Tessa at Ponsonby, then Olivia and Katie at Commercial Bay. I boomerang-ed back to Ponsonby to see Tessa after she returned from a stint abroad.

Then, the announcement came. Like many other Loxy’s clients, the news came as a shock to me. I received a phone call from the Loxy’s receptionist who told me that in two weeks’ time, Loxy’s would be closing its doors indefinitely.

In a now-deleted Instagram post, Kate shared the news publicly, and received hundreds of messages of support in return.

Kate says Loxy’s Commercial Bay salon was a massive undertaking, one that left them grappling with debt in amongst Covid-19 lockdowns. Photo / Supplied
Kate says Loxy’s Commercial Bay salon was a massive undertaking, one that left them grappling with debt in amongst Covid-19 lockdowns. Photo / Supplied

But this is not a sob story, nor is it the end of the story at all, Kate assures me. Our interview was ill-timed to say the least — in the middle of the school holidays at home with her three children, the youngest of which was grappling with a case of hand, foot and mouth, and Kate herself with tonsilitis.

Not that you could tell, of course. Kate speaks with the same calm, even-toned voice I’ve heard many times before — whether speaking with staff or welcoming clients. It’s a quality that no doubt put her in good stead for navigating the tumultuous (dare I say it, unprecedented) times Covid-19 brought with it.

Reflecting on her years in business, Kate says she never set out for world domination when she first started Loxy’s in a portacom on her front lawn.

Kate’s interest in hair extensions piqued after getting some herself. While she loved the look, she hated the method, and set out to discover a new micro-weft technique which wouldn’t damage natural hair. She underwent hair extensions training after hearing a radio ad and began working for free on the weekends on wiling friends and family members.

What started as a hobby quickly grew, and Kate left her job in the corporate world to pursue her dream full-time. From there, Loxy’s rise was meteoric — Kate built her team, went from a portacom to a commercial space in Greenlane, then Ponsonby Road, and later Commercial Bay.

“We were fully booked constantly, and we had to keep growing at a rapid pace to keep up with the demand,” she says. “The whole journey has just been one crazy, amazing opportunity after the other.”

Sadly, it wasn’t to last. Kate says her decision to close both salons had been a long time coming, and multiple factors played a part in the reasons why.

Loxy’s Commercial Bay salon was one of Kate’s biggest undertakings (and investments) which opened after the first 2020 lockdown. “We went into Covid already stretched,” Kate says. Then the August 2021 lockdown hit — 100 days of no income, with overheads still to pay and Kate’s third baby on the way.

“We had been fighting our way back since then, thankfully for the most part fully booked and turning over, but carrying a lot of Covid debt and cashflow struggles,” she says. “The fact we stayed open for as long as we did is such a testament to the team and the loyalty of our clients. They never would’ve known how far in the hole we were.”

Loxy’s Ponsonby location featured pink-painted brickwork and gilt mirrors at every work station. Photo / Supplied
Loxy’s Ponsonby location featured pink-painted brickwork and gilt mirrors at every work station. Photo / Supplied

Kate says she’d spent weeks knowing a hard decision was coming, and had explored all her options including closing a location and consolidating into one salon.

Her partner Justin was the first person she told after she made the call, and she took a week to mourn the business and the beauty it created before sharing the news with her team.

“It was one of the most gut-wrenching, challenging days of my life. We had a team meeting and I had written a letter to explain the reasons why we were closing. We sat and we talked and we cried,” she says.

Together with her team, a plan was made to close the business in two weeks’ time.

“The business was beautiful, but we were put in a position through situations out of our control. It really hurt. Whether or not we could have gotten out of the hole was one thing, but whether or not I wanted to keep going was another,” she says.

Whilst the decision was one of the hardest Kate says she’s ever had to make, it was also really liberating. “It was about being brave enough to choose a new path,” Kate says.

Full of emotion on her final day of opening, Kate says she never felt more proud of something she’d created. “I went out with dignity and integrity. I was so enveloped by love and support. Every step of the way I felt really grateful for the way I was able to handle it with my team,” she says.

The Loxy’s legacy lives on in the form of Hair By Loxy’s, ethically sourced, premium quality weft and clip-in hair extensions, sold both wholesale and online at

“I’m really excited for new beginnings, to take all my learnings from the last 10 years and put that into something new,” she says, adding her business has already gained traction locally.

Kate says the hair extensions arm of her former salon business was her bread and butter in her early days of operation, but it took years to source hair that was high quality enough to rely on.

“We were dealing with suppliers that were giving me bad batches of hair and I was working for free replacing bad hair extensions for clients. It was an absolute nightmare. But it sent me on a journey to find the best hair in the world, which I did 10 years ago. I’ve been using it ever since,” she says.

This journey saw Kate fly to China to learn more about the behind-the-scenes practices of sourcing hair, adding there are no worldwide standards for the ethical sourcing of hair extensions.

“There’s a lot of education that needs to be done about how hair is sourced. It’s standard practice for a lot of manufacturers to source hair from young children. Hair extension crime is also an issue in places like Russia, where a woman will have her ponytail cut off without consent,” she says.

“It’s really important to me to be working with a manufacturer that’s sourcing hair from adults who are old enough to decide what they would like to do with their hair and are paid well for it,” Kate says, explaining that the Chinese manufacturer she met and now is proud to work with collects hair from people in Mongolia, aged 19 to 40. “You cannot trust what you’re buying unless you’ve been there, you’ve seen it and delved very deep into their practices,” she says.

Kate calls Hair By Loxy’s her “new old brand” and is delighted to be able to help salon owners in both New Zealand and Australia who faced the same problem she did a decade ago.

Unlike other hair extension ranges which included up to 40 different colours, the Hair By Loxy’s range encompasses two products in 10 different colours.

“With 10 colours, salon owners will find that these extensions will work for around 90 per cent of clients. But with clients that need a super vibrant colour or balyage, they can customise the extensions to be the perfect match for the client. For 10 years there wasn’t a client that we needed to turn away because of the colour range,” she says. “I’m all about simplicity and the range reflects that.”

It’s been two months since Loxy’s closed its doors for the final time, and Kate says one of the most confronting things she’s been asked lately is what she does for work. “We’ve been to a few social events lately and I’ve struggled to work out what to say when people ask: “What do you do?” Loxy’s has been such a massive part of my identity for so long.”

So, who is Kate now? “Kate is brave, excited and tired!” Kate laughs. “I’m an open book. I’m open-minded, and open to exploring whatever life has to throw at me next.”

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