Stories of Small Business New Zealand

The Story of Jo & FMK Pukekohe

The Story of Jo & FMK Pukekohe

Let’s start with who you are?  Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m Jo. I come from Whanganui and I moved to Auckland as a 17-year-old.   I’m a fairly happy go lucky kind of individual; I like to take risks and set goals and challenges for myself to live by.  I’m strict on myself to achieve things but I do like to live an easy and calm life. I wasn’t too sure on how to describe myself, so I sent out a snap asking everyone to describe me in one word. Here is what came back: 

 Charismatic, easy going, solid, driven, good brows, fiercely independent, ambitious, strange, beautifully determined, tenacious & addictively funny.

And what is FMK Pukekohe? Tell us more!

FMK is a hair salon that specializes in keratin straightening. Keratin straightening is a conditioning treatment for people that have crazy & unruly hair and need a treatment that does not damage their hair or cost the earth. Our price, service & results is what makes us.

We are a family of 4 consisting of myself, Amber, Renee & Hollie. We offer all services however our bread & butter is keratin. We are located in the heart of Pukekohe. FMK Is a part of a franchise, there are two more salons in Auckland. I’ve been in business now for 4 years and have never looked back.

What encouraged you to start your business?

All my life I had curly and unruly hair. Going through a bottle of hair gel almost monthly growing up I used to slick my hair down because If I didn’t, I would have this intense lions mane that was out of control. A family friend of mine said she tried out this thing called keratin straightening and I thought; worst case scenario it won’t work, and I’m destined to have hair like this forever.

But once I got the keratin and washed it out, I was taken back by the results. Never in my life had I been able to wash my hair and then blow dry it without it looking like I had been electrocuted. It was soft, silky & most importantly STRAIGHT. It was life changing. After that I did some research and a few business meetings later I took the leap I decided to get amongst the FMK brand.

What did you do before creating your business?  Tell us your journey from here to there.

A former banker turned hairdresser from the mighty Whanganui. Moved up here as a young 17-year-old and have never looked back. Straight out of school I honestly had no idea what I wanted to do but I knew it would be something great. I was lucky enough to score a teller’s position with BNZ and from there I built up basic fundamental financial skills that led me into the start of my business journey.

I spent 8 years with BNZ. From a teller to a personal banker to a small business manager and eventually a mobile mortgage manager in the franklin district of Auckland. I had two mentors that inspired me to challenge myself and to take risks, I would soon learn that taking risks was not just within banking but to broaden my horizons to different avenues!

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Knowing what you know now. What would be one piece of advice would you give your 21-year-old self?

Stay true to the ones that always have your back, they will nurture you & help you grow.

What are some of the highs and lows of running your business?

Highs: I still get such a kick from every review on Facebook and google. They have made an impact on us and I still do a little dance each time one comes in.

Introducing uniforms into the business and a 5th workstation in the salon.

Lows: I have been let down on a number of occasions with former staff but that has taught me a valuable lesson on future staff and who to hire.

It is always scary to have quiet patches in the business and I always wonder at that time what I need to do to gain more clients.

What the biggest lesson you have learnt in your small business?

When it comes to hiring new staff, you can teach anyone skill but you cannot teach personality, so my biggest lesson is to take my time when allowing some people into your business. They are the face and brand of the business when I am not around.

What is one piece of advice you would share with someone starting out?

Be patient. There’s a reason why people tell you the first two years are the hardest because it is. There will be testing times and it’s how you choose to use your time. You have to do the mahi and do the hard yards for a while before you expect to see results. Also don’t panic. If you don’t make money one day, you have to trust the process and trust the reason WHY you got into it in the first place.

What do you love most about your business?

Would have to be my staff. I’ve always been someone that loved working with people, and they bring a smile to my face each day. If it wasn’t for them, I’m not sure what I would do.  

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Share 5 things that bring you joy?

My pet dog Leif.

My friends.

Good tunes

Seeing hard work pay off

A really really cold beer on a super hot day

What do you do for some time out or when you need a break from your biz?  What resets that light inside you?

Playing squash or any sporting activity. I’m competitive so I like to rise to a challenge, whether its setting a goal for myself or within a team. Usually if I need a break from work then I fling myself into squash to give me something other than work to strive for.

Coffee or Tea?


What one quote are you always drawn to?

"The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity, the optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty"

What can we expect from your biz in the future?

FMK is going to be everywhere. Its going to be a challenge but I’m dedicating myself to opening another FMK in Hamilton and slowly making my way down the north island and I’m so excited!!


Get in touch with the beautiful Jo via Instagram

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