In a period of time when we're inundated with what feels like consistent bad news, we wanted to put some emphasis on the positive. This is the another instalment in "Collective Conversations," a weekly series focusing on a woman we think is awesome + what she's all about. This week we're talking to Agata Saka, our friend and the girl boss behind the amazing Saka Hair Studio. After years of dreaming of owning her own salon, Agata founded Saka Hair Studio here in Melbourne and is dedicated to educating herself + those around her about black hair care. We talked to her about her traditions and connecting with her intuition.
1. Describe yourself in three words?
Gifted, Motivated and Optimistic.
2. What does heritage and tradition mean to you?
My heritage and traditions largely shape my identity as a South Sudanese woman growing up in Australia. One aspect of my culture that fills me with a great sense of pride is our hospitality to those who visit us. We always treat visitors as our family and it’s something I have incorporated in the business - treating and caring for our clients like our family. Heritage for me is forever - it is hard to replace and will shape my identity and my children’s one day. Traditions are easier to change and I have found that certain traditions have been modified in my family since we moved to Australia.
3. Something that you’re passionate about?
I am passionate about good haircare for all women - especially for women of color who can’t just visit any salon. I remember growing up and seeing how hard it was to find salons that had great products, quality customer service, and hair services. After working in a few salons and learning to really appreciate the different techniques involved in styling and manipulating hair, I decided to open Saka Hair Studio. My aim is to continue educating myself about hair (especially black hair) so one day I will educate other hairdressers.
4. Who do you most admire?
The person I admire the most is my mum. I have so much admiration for her strength, courage, and fearlessness. She managed to raise eight children during the war in Sudan, walk to Uganda, and from there move to Kenya where we were granted Humanitarian Visas by the Australian Government - all by herself! She is my hero and continues to inspire me to this day!
5. What is a weekly/monthly/fortnightly ritual or tradition you do for yourself?
These days there's really much you can do but to find yourself on the couch eating and having a glass of wine (which I have been doing a lot lately lol). Before the lockdown, my girlfriends and I would get together on a Friday or Saturday night and cook our traditional foods, make cocktails and stay up all night dancing and talking about why men even breathe hahaha. Don’t get me wrong, some of us are in beautiful relationships but that doesn’t mean we can’t just wonder why... Something I have been trying to do is to get facials done every month. I’ve always had nice skin but the added stress of managing a business has really challenged my skin.
6. What is something you're proud of?
I’m most proud of bringing Saka Hair Studio to life. It has been a dream of mine since I was a young girl and finally to know I have a business of my own is unreal.
The people I get to work with on projects and meet are all amazing. I am proud to know I help them and play my part in whatever it is they aim to achieve - whether is them coming to the salon for an appointment or collaborating with them on their project. I love being involved and seeing all the amazing things they are accomplishing makes me proud!
7. What is something you do to be kind to yourself?
I have learned it’s okay to take breaks and not work constantly. Things can be done and there is always help :)
8. What are some traditions that you’ve adopted from somewhere or someone else?
I have been inspired by the traditions of so many people in my life and have adopted a lot of different things. Australia is such a multicultural country and I grew up with people who came from many different countries. Particularly, my friends from Western Africa (Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal) who have shown and shared with me their recipes for different occasions and their lifestyle.
9. How do you align and connect with your intuition?
I am spiritual and a firm believer that all things will work out the way it’s intended if I leave it to god. When I’m going through a difficult situation, I will pray and seek guidance from God and this has served me well so far!
10. What is an assumption others make about you?
Some people assume I am unapproachable when they first meet me. However, I am naturally just an observant person so I might be quiet and will read the room. However, that doesn’t usually last too long as I always love to have a good laugh and share stories with others!
11. Is there an item you would like to see from Collective Closets in the future?
Love, love everything you ladies have released! I look forward to seeing what you bring out next.