Meet the Bettjemans

Bettjemans Kérastase Hair Spa is one of the most luxurious hair destinations in Auckland. The couple behind the brand are husband and wife team, Grant and Phif. Trudi Brewer discovers their career advice, living philosophy and the exquisite treasures that fill each room in their stunning family home.

The idea of creating a luxurious hair spa in the eastern suburbs of Auckland was always on Grant Bettjemans bucket list. Returning home with their family after working in Siena, Italy in a top luxury salon, Grant was obsessed with the glamour of European hair styling, He bought the gorgeous Italian blow wave technique back to Auckland and as they say, the rest is history. Here's a slice of his life, and the home he and his wife Phif have lovingly created.

How did you get started in the business?
Grant Bettjeman (GB): Bettjemans was an idea conceived while we lived in Italy. I loved the Italian's style and their obsession with beautiful hair and beautiful women. I wanted to bring that essence of glamour back to Auckland.

What’s a typical working day for you both?
Phif Bettjeman (PB): I get up early and go to pilates before work. And start in the salon at 8.30. I work three days on the floor until around 5.00pm. I spend another day working on administration and staff liaison. 
GB: I walk every morning before work. Once I am at work, I check in with everyone, have coffee and start my day.

What do you love most about the salon?
GB: The salon is an extension of our family, so the people I work with is what I love most about the salon. Also, the salon is where we make people feel beautiful - who wouldn’t love that?

How has your career influenced your style?
GB: At work, I feel like a rock I dress like one.

What’s your best career advice for others at the top of their game?
GB: Never think you are at the top of your game. You will always learn another skill or can take on a new idea. Stay humble and be kind.

How would your friends describe your home?

PB: Our home is known as the party house. The living layout with open fires at both ends of the living room and the outdoor courtyard makes it warm and friendly both inside and out.

Where do you look for inspiration when styling your home?
PB: The bits and pieces we have collected while travelling, inspired the interiors. We also needed wall space for our art. I love cooking, so the kitchen needed to be open while we entertained, that is important to me.

What do you think makes a great interior?
PB: Our art and furnishings are quite bold and colourful, so we chose a neutral grey, for the living spaces, and the bedrooms are more ornate, so there are accents of gold to give them a decadent feel.

What is your most treasured possession?
PB: The Indian wedding headdress (below), with its glittery diamonds, and two crowns which were carved by the Saints who wore them. These are antique pieces we collected from India and Mexico. 

What makes a house a home?
GB: It's the people and animals that live in the house that make it a home.

How do you find time for yourself and what helps you to relax?
: We recently bought a beach house at Piha. It's our slice of paradise,  once we drive over the Waitakere's toward our house, we notice we both visibly relax.

What is your wellness philosophy?
Whatever it takes to keep 'the show on the road'. Everything in moderation, keep fit, eat well and drink heaps of water.

You work and live together, how do you spend 'me' time?
: We have always worked well together because we have always had very separate roles in the business. Grant runs the creative side of Bettjemans, and I run everything else. So spending time out at Piha together is how we relax, truly unwind, and once we are out there we sleep like babies. 

You are great intrepid travellers, where do you love to visit?
: Anywhere and everywhere, as long as we can go trekking. We climbed Kilimanjaro in Tanzania a few years ago. We have trekked in Nepal and India. Our next trek is the Camino Way in Spain later this year.

How has travel influenced your home and personal style?
: We both have a love of religious artefacts we don’t care what religion they are. Whenever or wherever we travel we find something unique that we bring home and cherish, and it reminds us of that adventure together.

What trends are you most excited about right now?
PB: I’m very interested in grey hair now as I see it in the mirror every day. I’m very excited about some of the new techniques we are developing to make grey look funky, without requiring too much maintenance.

What has been the biggest changes in the hair industry you’ve witnessed over the years?
 when I started hairdressing in the 70’s it was all about the roller, hair was panel-beaten into shape. Next came Vidal Sassoon who made it all about precision cutting. In the 80’s it was about curl and perming, and the turn of the century has been about beautiful colour.                  
Today hairdressing is at a very high standard. It’s all about the experience. Successful stylists and salons understand that it's exceptional service that makes them stand out in the crowd.

What’s your best summer hair tip?
: I don’t go anywhere without Kérastase Chronologiste Bain Revitalisant and Crème de Regeneration. Then I style my hair with L'Orèal Professionnel Tecni.Art Volume Lift. Once my hair is dry, I apply Kérastase Densifique Homme into the thinning areas on the top to thicken the hair, and then lock it into place with Kérastase Laque Couture Micro-mist Fixer hair spray.
PB: Keep your hair hydrated with treatments such as Kérastase Nutritive Masque Magistral it's ideal for those who have dry, coarse hair. Kérastase Soleil Masque UV Défense Active for those with coloured hair and on all hair Kérastase Elixir Ultime.  

PhotographyMilana Radojcic
Makeup: MAC Cosmetics artist Lochie Stonehouse