Mikele Simone & Richi Grisillo of Academie Salon

We sat down with our favourite beauty duo- the power couple behind Annandale's Académie Salon- who we are lucky enough to call our friends. They share their best tricks for dewy winter skin and flawless hair, the Aussie travel destination on their wishlist, and their most loved Jim & Jane purchases.

What do each of you do at Académie

Mikele: I oversee the logistics of the business like stock, staff, and all the other behind the scenes fun stuff that keeps our business running and ensures that a wonderful customer experience is always up to standard.

Richi: I have a select clientele that I look after, as well as organising ongoing training and education for our team. I also ensure the technical side of things is always up to standard.

M: We always cross check most things to make sure we are both across everything and help each other make sure the decisions and work loads are shared to also ensure we don’t miss out on anything 

How do you navigate being partners in both your professional and personal lives? Are there challenges associated with this or do you find that the two enrich one another?

R: We are both passionate about our careers and it’s good to have someone you trust as a business partner- it makes it a lot easier. We have had to learn to separate home life and work life, so we don’t ever mix the two together but we live and breathe what we do.

M: Sometimes we can disagree of course, but it’s never personal so we quickly resolve anything, and the biggest part that works is we both look up to each other and believe we both add equal value both at home and work 

Every shoot is exciting and fun for us because it’s always so different and you have the ability to create images that inspire and tell a story. We love showing our clients what we create and they love to see it because now they know us so well they can see the picture we are trying to paint.

At Jim & Jane, these past few months have taught us to be more creative as we find new ways to innovate in retail. What have you learned from COVID19? 

M: Honestly we have learnt so much. Firstly, being a small business like yourselves is really tough already, but we saw the amazing support and understanding from our team and clients during lockdown and when we were ready to re-open everyone was so grateful and that meant so much to us as it made us feel so valued in the community. Customer experience has always been a top priority at Academie Salon so we ensured to lift that level of standard to a higher level during this difficult time.

We loved your work on a recent editorial for Elle Vietnam. What’s been the most exciting shoot you’ve worked on? Do you have any upcoming creative ventures you can share with us?

R: Every shoot is exciting and fun for us because it’s always so different and you have the ability to create images that inspire and tell a story. We love showing our clients what we create and they love to see it because now they know us so well they can see the picture we are trying to paint. In terms of creative ventures… you honestly never know until a few days out, so you just have to keep your eyes peeled haha.

Photographer Tane Coffin for Elle Vietnam. Hair by Richi Grisillo

It’s important that we change our skincare routines as the seasons change. What are your tips for winter skincare?

M: Hydration!!! Making sure you use a good hydrating mask with a wine once week. And ensure you use a good hydrating face oil and serum! If you work somewhere with heating also make sure you wear a good moisturiser, dry air loves taking the moisture out  of our skin and that can really age us.  And I know this Is always talked about, but drinking lots of water is crucial. 

What’s one thing you do each day for self-care?

M: Besides my extensive skincare routine (haha) I always have a good cuddle with my dog and cat before I go to work. It makes me feel relaxed and reminds me of what I have to look forward to when I get home. Also I try to step outside the salon in the middle of the day and admire our lavender and take a deep breath to recalibrate my brain 

R: I take time a listen to some of my fave albums before work while I work on some Inspiration for any future projects, it gets me in the zone ready for the day! My morning coffee is definitely part of my ritual

Do you have a go to meal you’ll make after a long day at work?

R: Everyday is a long day at work so we tend to have weekend meals after a big week. I really enjoy cooking so I love to make a good roast on Sundays and bake something sweet for after like an almond tart. I have also been experimenting with beef brisket which is a good one all year round. 

Tips for zhuzzing up our hair and makeup when working from home and still need to look fresh for zoom calls?

R: Nobody feels comfortable having a zoom chat as is, so if you are having a bad hair day, I’m a big believer in less is best to create something fresh. Keep your maintenance to three steps to avoid over complicating your hair. Softly pinning hair back with bobby pins is a a good quick way to create a simple look in order to avoid the harshness of a tight pony or a messy bun. 

Using a wet product like Wella’s Ocean Spritz instead of a hairspray (great for short hair too) to tame down flyaways and give a little texture. 

Favourite hair or beauty product?

M: I have so many favourite beauty products (of course) but I'm loving anything with Hyaluronic Acid to keep my skin glowing and moisturised. You can get hyaluronic acid in many products like serums and masks and It’s great for all skin types.

Salt by Hendrix's Crystal Waters Hyaluronic Mask

What kind of music would we find playing at home?

R: You can’t go wrong with a little bit of Stevie Nicks/Fleetwood Mack on the weekend with a little cocktail relaxing in the courtyard.

What inspires you? Personally? Professionally?

M: Our parents always. Both our parents have always worked hard and are extremely supportive of our careers so we continue to strive to make them proud. Also our team at the salon inspire us, we see how hard they work and how committed they are to being the best, and we want to continue to help them build a strong career for themselves. Creatively, we draw inspiration from everything, like history, nature and even simply just colour and texture.

Do you have any beauty heroes?

R: My go-to must have for all my clients is a good hair oil. Something you can use both wet or dry, and it must be an all rounder: leave in treatment, heat protectant, smoothing, and shine.  

For many of us, our earliest beauty memories come from watching mothers and older sisters get dressed up. Do you have any treasured beauty memories you’d like to share? What sparked your passion for hair and beauty?

R: Funnily enough, I started hairdressing while I was at school during my HSC in order to avoid handing in my geography assignment. Little did I know I found my true passion in making people feel good and being able to have an amazing creative outlet that has sent me around the world, able to work with some amazing and talented people, and build my own brand. My grandmother was a hairdresser so it was in my veins, and it naturally just blossomed and my parents were so supportive. 

M: I used to love going shopping with my mum especially when we lived in Italy, so I was always drawn to the fashion world and I ended up falling into the world of makeup and I just love it. I love the colours and textures and being able to paint people’s faces is like art. I can’t think of anything else I would rather do. I love seeing how people do their own makeup too because there is really no right or wrong- just have fun! 

Hair by Richi & Makeup by Mikele via Instagram

Supporting local is so important at the moment. What’s your favourite Australian travel destination and do you have any plans for travel in the near future?

M: We love to have a little adventure with our holidays so anywhere we can go snorkelling or do something unique. We love nature so it always has to be outdoorsy. Our ultimate get away was definitely staying at The One & Only in Wolgan Valley- I know we both would love to go back one day. No real plans for the future but I really hope to be able to see my family in Perth this Christmas, so I have all my fingers crossed. 

What, in your opinion, defines good style?

R: When your clothes, hair and makeup aren’t wearing you, and your style is appears effortless. Not to be confused with not putting in effort haha. 

M: I love uniqueness and self expression so I feel like having a signature thing that is yours is so cool. Like lots of prints or a unique hair colour. 

Favourite cocktail?

R: Nothing beats a good Negroni 

M: Tequila anything and everything haha 

What 3 items at Jim & Jane do you have already and love or currently have on your wishlist?

M: Well I love everything and really I think the whole store is on the wishlist at the moment, but my most recent goodies that I love a lot are my gold plated agate platters- I have one in my bathroom that I use as my hand soap/ hand lotion plate, and we also have one on our front desk in the salon which we receive compliments on everyday.

My newest purchase was my three little mirrors (Set of Three Black Painted Mirrors) I’m so glad I got them. My miyuki bead and pearl bracelets are also the perfect complement to any outfit.

Shop Mikele's full edit here