Besides the World Masters Award, Rob Peetoom is also a two time winner of the Global Salon Business Award and many other international awards. He has also been a jury panelist many times and was artistic director at Intercoffure Mondial. His creative team arranges hair for high fashion shows and photo shoots. In 2009, he also received a royal badge of honour and was dubbed a knight in the order of Oranje-Nassau.
S.B. You’re on.
R.P. Rob Peetoom, born in nineteen forty five, from Highland, Holland, twice married; first marriage two sons, forty and forty-three; second marriage two girls, twenty-two and twenty-one.
S.B. So how did we get here?
R.P. When I was at school my mathematics was very good, so I decided I should study and become an architectural engineer. I always liked to draw, and paint and such. The nice thing about drawing was you could change people by adding a moustache, long hair; short hair, and that interested me, so I thought it would be a nice business to go into. The hairdressing business.
S.B. This was when?
R.P. In 1962. I took an apprenticeship but I didn’t like it at all. It was a lot of perms, hair spray, nets, and you would have to undercut and wash all that hair. It was dirty. After a year I decided I didn’t like it, I already had skills in cutting so I then decided to hitchhike to Stockholm and played around for a year. When I came home to Holland, I didn’t know what to do? My former boss called me to come back to work with him again. This was in the sixties, and Vidal Sassoon had changed hairdressing into sculptured haircuts, and that was interesting. So I went to London to see what he did and I liked it. My system at that time was different. So I went to the academy in London and when I came back I opened my own salon. Right from the start I was quite busy, that was in 1969. After that first year a magazine asked me if I could do something for them. I said okay and I did some hair for them. They liked it, and from there I became a freelance hairdresser for magazines and I traveled almost the whole world. I was in Paris and Bruno Pitini was on stage and he did twelve models in one-and-half-hours; that’s seven minutes per haircut. That was interesting because it took me 45 minutes per head. I went to Paris for two weeks training and I changed my whole philosophy from Sassoon and mixed my own style. During that time I became a member of Onfercoiffel World Wide Organization of Hair Dressers. I started doing shows everywhere; Tokyo, Rio, New York and eventually back to Holland where I went to the main square and opened up a salon with 27 staff. From that I started doing television shows and started becoming more famous. I had opened up shops all over Holland, fifteen in all. Now your next question is why am I in Bali?
S.B. You got me. Yes indeed that was the one.
R.P. I have fifty people working for me in Holland and they all have an opportunity to go though the same paces as myself. So the idea came to me to open up outside of Holland and I went to Sydney, because my in-laws live there. I spied a nice spot in King’s Cross but it was sold. So, six years ago I came to Bali. I liked it and came back with my family and bought a house. I thought if I’m going to live here I have to build a business.
S.B. So you’re traveling back and forth?
R.P. Yes, two months here, two months there. It’s hard, just this morning I said to my wife, next year I will stay for one year.
S.B. When did you open here and what’s the Paris Hilton connection?
R.P. November 2011. I have a niece, who you can see on the billboard entrance [of his salon in Petitenget]. She works in Los Angeles and New York and is friendly with Paris Hilton. I met Paris in Los Angeles with my niece over lunch, that was five years ago. I also had a book launch in Amsterdam at that time and I asked Paris to come and be a part of that. It was a big hit; you can’t imagine how many reporters came. Of course Paris was responsible. She’s a nice girl and smart, she plays her role very well. She might come back with her sister because I would like to photograph Nicky. I have my own magazine and it’s distributed in Holland and all my 50,000 clients get one. Here in Bali it’s distributed to resorts and hotels.
S.B. Do you have any future plans for Asia?
R.P. That depends. The W Hotel in Bangkok asked me if I could open a hair spa. We negotiated a deal, that was three weeks ago and I’m waiting for a response.
S.B. What’s your philosophy?
R.B. In my life I can say I never worked, because I like what I do and enjoy my family. Even my first wife is a partner in one of my salons. I enjoy life, it’s going fast as you know, I like to play golf, I like to play tennis and do sport. I love life.
S.B. Words to your fans out there?
R.P. Hair is not about what your hairdresser can do for you, it’s also your whole body and feelings, so stay healthy, take care of yourself and do a lot of sport and eat wisely and you will have healthy hair.
Wise words from a wise man. Chow mein, Salvador Bali.