MEJ Masthead

Pony and Pins: cutting new ground in Phillip

Alison Senti

According to the latest Sensis Business Index survey, 41 percent of small and medium business owners are feeling positive about their prospects in the coming year. After a difficult time for local business owners in Canberra in 2014 this is good news – and is evident in the growth of new businesses moving into traditionally industrial areas like Braddon, Fyshwick, Mitchell and now Phillip, in Canberra’s south.

Pony and Pins Hair Salon, along with newcomers to the Phillip food and coffee scene, Wheat and Oats and suburban coffee pioneers, Lava, are part of the new breed of business owners infiltrating ‘the new Braddon’ to offer Canberrans another alternative to the mall-dominated local retail scene.


My oldest memories of Phillip are not pleasant: I remember hot summers in non-air conditioned cars, tearfully being dragged around Phillip by my father on Saturdays for one endless Dad-like chore after another (think car gaskets, nails, that specific piece of wood, silicone putty) while my brother and I whined to go home.

How things have changed – now, you can grab a great coffee, do some specialty shopping (think spice stores, camping equipment, vintage clothing and running gear), squeeze in a spot of pole dancing and pick up a new car, all in one location. With so many established suburbs and a thriving apartment culture surrounding Phillip, this retail revival is a welcome addition to the Woden precinct.

Peter Magro and wife Emily are the team behind Pony and Pins Hair Salon at the top of Townshend Street (another memory for me: in this exact shop front I ruled the aisles as the ‘customer service officer’ of Video 2000 in the early nineties. Who ever thought we would actually reach the year 2000? The brand name was as doomed as the video industry itself).


The Salon opened in July 2014 and has evolved into a salon-cum-art gallery. But what makes this salon just that little bit unique is that after having worked together for many years previously, hair stylist Carolina and Peter have once again joined forces at Pony and Pins. This follows Peter’s efforts to steal Carolina back from the public service – something that is virtually unheard of.

Peter is an award-winning stylist with years of experience working in some of Canberra’s most well known salons. But his hands aren’t just good with scissors.

Peter has made the tables and shop counter himself using recycled wooden pallets. The salon also doubles as an art space and showcases local artists, providing free wall space to display their works.

“On trips to Melbourne I loved how many cafes and restaurants doubled as galleries,” explains Peter. “I was inspired by that concept and thought why not use it in a salon?”


The salon look is an industrial feel – perhaps a nod to the roots of Phillip – but is unashamedly functional and friendly, with some seriously cool prints on the wall to soften the look. Peter’s currently displaying work by local artist and family friend, Kerry Shepherdson, whose work is also on display at the M16 Artspace in Griffith. The effect is a light-filled airy upcycled salon with lots of room for the stylists to get creative with your hair and that is in keeping with the new Phillip vibe.

Peter’s journey to opening his own salon was by process of elimination. He’d worked for two salons for long periods of time, all the while storing away information on what he would do if he owned his own business.

“I’ve explored partnership options with established salons but at the end of the day I wanted a particular kind of salon in a busy area without the hassles of parking problems or inner-city prices.”

And he’s right. Location, location, location (ok, and parking!). An attractive feature of Phillip is you can still park for free and there are plenty of spaces. I had no problem parking out the front of the salon and avoided having to endlessly circling the block for a park – first world problems, I know, but I want my haircut to be a serene experience!

My "before" look...

My “before” look…

But let’s get down to business.

For my cut, I’m looking to freshen up my style a bit – perhaps the ever on-trend bob (no pressure Peter but make me look like a brunette Lara Bingle please) – but not too short – I’m a runner and want to be able to pull my hair back when I’m out pounding the pavement. For my colour, I’m keen to experiment with some warmer tones as we transition from autumn to winter.

Check out my before and after pictures, but I’m delighted by the cut, colour and whole experience at Pony and Pins.

My new look...

My new look…

Don’t just take my word for it – come and see Phillip for yourself before everyone jumps on this bandwagon.

The essentials

The place: Pony and Pins Hair Salon
When: 10am-5pm Tuesday; 10am-7pm Wednesday; 10am-8pm Thursday; 10am-6pm Friday; and 8.30am-3pm Saturday.
Where: 66-72 Townshend Street, Phillip.
How much: Cut and blowdry $80, cut and colour from $150. Call Peter for a quote.
Web: Find Pony and Pins on Facebook.

This is a sponsored post but opinions are the author’s own. It complies with the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission’s guidelines on Online ReviewsRead our Sponsored Post Policy if you would like more information.

The author received her treatments free of charge from Pony and Pins Hair Salon.


Alison Senti

Alison Senti is a child-rearing, part-time working, globe-travelling, gourmet-gutsing, marathon-running, shoe 'collecting' second generation Canberran who likes to take life by the scruff of the neck and give it a good shake. Most of her stories on Her Canberra are selfishly of interest to her personally! More about the Author

CC Home Stories Leaderboard