Ruth Robalino really loves hair. She spent two decades as a hairdresser, enjoying her work primarily as a form of creative expression both for herself and for her clients. When said clients began confiding in her about how upset they were by hair loss and hair thinning (concepts that many women still don’t feel comfortable talking about), she wanted to help them with more than just how their hair looked. Working with her sister-in-law Stephanie Robalino, the two develop Aéde, a range of supplements designed to support hair health. Ruth spoke with us about what it has taken to develop a new business while also running her salon and raising a family, her best tips for staying organised, and how she has learned that no matter how well-intentioned you are to get it all done, sometimes you have to know when to let go.

“Hair has always been my passion.

I love it as an art form, but even more important to me is that, as you transform a client’s hair, in doing so you can transform the way they feel about themselves. It’s wonderful to witness. Over the years, I saw clients suffer with hair loss, thinning and shedding over the years, and so Aéde was born from this same desire to help people with their confidence and sense of self.

I realised we needed a new solution that addressed hair health from the inside, so quality, purity and efficacy were paramount for us when creating our formulations. Our supplements are Australian-made and contain a high amount of active ingredients, each backed by scientific research. I feel absolutely blessed to have created products that I am proud of and as we grow the range I am so excited to be able to share what we have been working on with our community. I love merging these two worlds, of traditional hairdressing and wellness, which allows for a completely holistic experience when it comes to haircare.

When I became a mum, my whole world changed.

I had to learn to look for balance, and also learn that sometimes it’s ok to surrender when the day doesn’t go as planned (not an easy lesson for a control freak!).

my business and my kids are what matter the most to me, and I try to have separate time devoted to each of them so I can be fully present with what I am doing, rather than multitask and constantly feel a bit distracted. While of course there are days that these priorities pull me in a million different directions, and it is hard, I know my children are what drive me, and they are my biggest fans.

My own parents were fairly relaxed with us and not as strict as some, but there were certain elements of our lives that were non-negotiable – work hard, show respect, try your best and never give up.

From when I was young my dad would take me with him to work, and I absolutely loved seeing him in business mode. He experienced some big ups and downs in his career, but both my parents were always open with us about all aspects of life; the pros and the cons. I learned that things aren’t necessarily how they appear on the outside, and that sometimes it’s the speed bumps that actually make you fight harder and come out stronger.

Founding a brand involves so many different aspects, but the biggest for me was putting in the research before we got it off the ground.

from that point onwards that things developed naturally, but really doing the research at the beginning to make sure Aéde’s foundation was more than just ‘a vision’ was key. Countless hours were spent at my dining room table before any of the big ideas remotely came to fruition. As I still had a salon to run and two babies at home, this process was fairly slow. While there were moments when that was frustrating, looking back now, I believe the stability I had with my existing career and my family meant the dream of the brand could come to life without time pressure.

I admire anyone who has the courage to take the leap into creating a brand. It takes grit, hard work and courage, and I admire so many people in different industries, with so much talent, who have gone before me. Brands that resonate the most with me are the ones that are built from the founder’s passion, brought to success and still manage to maintain the brand’s soul.

The biggest lesson I have learned during this whole process is to trust your gut.

It’s easier said than done – there have definitely been times where I have listened to the wrong advice, trusted too easily or gut stuck overanalysing. It’s good to remember that, at the end of the day, if something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.

Like most of us, I didn’t get any handouts in life, so what I have created has come from lots of hard work, and both highs and lows. I still have so much more that I want to do, but I am super proud of how far I have come and excited for the future. I have an incredible husband who is supportive, loving and proud, two beautiful, healthy, happy children and I have built a wonderful company. I absolutely love turning up to work every day.

In the past, there were many times where I’d look back on a certain choice I’d made and wonder what possessed me to think that was a good idea. Then, when I was enduring the repercussions of those sorts of choices, I did wish I could turn back the clock and do things differently. I don’t see it like that anymore, though.

I recently turned 40, and while I had originally thought this milestone might scare me and throw me into a state, it actually helped me to see how far I have come, professionally and personally. Although I have made mistakes, each one of those mistakes led me to where I am now. I can appreciate them in that, without the mistakes, I wouldn’t have learned the same lessons or be the person I am today.

I am always on the go and find it difficult to switch off. My mind can run a million miles an hour and this can often cloud my head and drain my creativity.

About five years ago, after many, many years of watching my husband practice daily meditation, I began to embrace the practice myself. It has truly transformed the way I function. This practice is a gift to myself; it is a few moments to give my mind some care, regain clarity and allow me to access my creative inspiration.

I also definitely draw inspiration from the people I am surrounded by. Being a hairdresser has given me the opportunity to meet so many amazing people, some of whom have been clients of mine for decades and become great friends. I believe that being open to conversations and different views and experiences can really re-shape the way you look at things, and help you along in your own journey. To me, that’s the best source of inspiration.

When it comes to organisation, I’m old school. I love a good notebook!

For me, putting pen to paper brings things to life and helps me visualise what I want and need.

As far as apps go, I can’t live without my Google Calendar. It sounds so simple, but without it, everything falls apart. I have reminders and alerts for everything. Like most working mothers I need routine and a well-organised schedule if I want to maintain any sense of calm and balance.

My mornings are sacred and really set me up for the day ahead.

I am an early riser and wake up well before the rest of the house. I always start my morning with meditation to clear my mind. Then I have a session with my personal trainer, who I have fun with and absolutely kicks my butt. I never used to prioritise exercise, as when I used to be in the salon I rarely had energy for it but, as I have gotten older I have found that starting my day by moving my body gives me an energy and vibrancy that is invaluable.

When it comes to my skincare I like to keep things really simple. I believe that less is more and selecting high quality, results driven products with powerful ingredients that work for your skin is key. Some of my favourite products are Medik8 Ultimate Recovery Bio Cellulose Mask, I use this whenever my skin is feeling dry and in need of some nourishment. I love the Hyaluronic Serum by Dr. Barbara Sturm and Augustinus Bader The Cream has really made a significant difference to my skin. Lastly, I never go without sunscreen, and use Queen Screen Luminising Sun Serum SPF 50+ by Ultra Violette.

To me, the best way to boost your physical beauty is by focusing on what is going on inside your body. Applying good products externally is great, but ensuring your nutrition and hydration are on point is just as important.”

Story by Zoe Briggs. Imagery supplied by Aéde.

This article was produced in partnership with Aéde

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