It all began in the early 1970s when my mother, Mariana Abunar, started training to become a hairdresser in Slovenia. She later passed on her legacy of creativity to my father, Franc Abunar, and I owe my inspiration to both of my incredibly talented parents. We are a family of hairdressers – passionate about hair artistry.

Dani Abunar

The change

My first steps as a hairdresser were shaky at best. I didn’t find it natural to touch, style or even cut hair. I didn’t understand the fundamental principles about different hair types and styling techniques. My biggest nightmare was to style and dress long hair. I was the worst student in my class, by far!

But then it all started to make sense…

About six months after I initiated my training, I began to really understand hair, angles, and shapes at a deeper level. I started to create hairstyles that students couldn’t even do in their third year of study. By the time I graduated, I had the highest marks of any student in Sweden over the past 15 years.

Competitions

In my second year of studies, I became the Swedish School Champion in men’s hairdressing and was invited to compete on the Swedish National Team during each of the next seven years that followed. It was an exciting time and it gave me the opportunity to travel the world attending competitions in USA, Europe, Asia and Scandinavia. I was also highly successful, winning all major titles in men’s hairdressing (some of them several times) like Swedish Champion and European Champion.

Precision was the key to success at these competitions. Typically, we did three different looks including cut, color and styling in a set amount of time. Then, the judge from each country represented awarded a score based on such factors as perfection in shapes, cutting and advanced color techniques. Everything had to be perfect.

In 1996, I competed in the Hairdressing World Championship in Washington D.C., where there were around 100 competitors from 33 different countries. It was an amazing experience and our team won a gold medal in the category for Men’s Hairdressing, which was a first for Sweden. Because of that, the Swedish Hairdressers’ Association honored us with the prestigious Golden Comb Award. I’d come a long way in just four years, when I was the worst hairdressing student in my class!

During the time when I was competing with the national team, we met a lot of inspiring people in this industry, along with celebrities and leaders, including Hilary Clinton and the President of Iceland, Ólafur Ragnar Grimsson.

Although it was exhilarating, I still dreamed of achieving more…

Salon of the year

2011 me and my wife Marlene were ready to take a bold new step by buying our first salon, Salon Victor, located in Gothenburg, Sweden. It opened back in 1971, so it was well established, with a good reputation.

Working from that solid platform, Marlene and I pooled our creative talents and energy to completely revamp the concept. With the support and commitment of our staff, we started participating in competitions, modernized our marketing strategies and fully remodeled the interior to give our clients the experience they deserve from the minute they walk through the door. Our efforts have paid off, with a 50 percent increase in revenue in just 2.5 years. We also won the title, Salon of The Year in Sweden in 2013.

I’ve never felt more energized or creative, so you can be sure that my story won’t end here…