Have you been to a hair or beauty trade show this year?

Perhaps you see them as “an excuse for a day out” or even “a complete waste of time.” In either case read on, and I’ll show you:

  • How they can help your salon, spa or clinic grow
  • Where to get free and discounted show tickets (skip to this)
  • How to get the most out of your visit
  • Calendar: major hair, beauty & aesthetic shows (UK and Ireland) (skip to this)

Like most things in life, the more you put into trade show visits, the more you’ll get out. A day spent away from your business costs you money, especially if you take some of your team. Yes, it can be a fun day, but it is still business and some thought and planning will repay dividends.


1. Save money on tickets for beauty and hair trade shows by pre-registering

Let me start with a no-brainer.

Save money by pre-registering. Most UK hair or beauty trade shows charge between £10 and £20 per visitor on the day. So if you’re taking some of your team costs soon start to mount up.

Happily, most of the industry shows allow you to pre-register online for free or discounted tickets.

Scroll down for a full calendar of UK hair, beauty and aesthetics’ trade shows plus links to their free or reduced ticket registration pages.

Pre-registering also means you receive the exhibition’s e-newsletters with the latest show offers, discounts and news, plus information and invites (often free) to educational show events, seminars and workshops.

As these educational sessions are very popular and work on a first-come first-served basis, you’ll miss out if you don’t know about them in advance. So I always tick the box to be on their mailing list. You can always unsubscribe later.

Pre-registering also means you skip the long queues on the day. And queuing can be time-consuming. I wasted 30 minutes at Salon International last year due to a last minute ticket bungle (my fault not theirs).


2. Arrange meetings with trade exhibitors well ahead

It’s great to mingle and browse, but if you’re serious about buying some pricey kit for your salon or clinic then I prefer to book a meeting in advance. It saves time hanging around and ensures the supplier has allocated a time slot and can spend quality time with you.

Make sure you swap mobile numbers pre-show, so if there is a problem on the day you can get hold of each other. Sounds obvious, but there are a throngs of people at these shows.

With competitors gathered in one place, I find it the ideal chance to assess and compare the latest hair and beauty equipment and technology. It also means you can take advantage of any show offers and, with their competitors on a nearby stand, you’re in a powerful negotiating position.


3. Hair & beauty education opportunities galore

All the major UK hair, beauty and wellbeing exhibitions run a packed programme of business and creative educational events featuring the industry’s crème de la crème.

Even better, many of these educational workshops, panels and seminars are free.

Places are limited and highly popular. Book early. Or you’ll miss out.


4. Let your salon or spa shine at show competitions

The bigger trade shows run competitions at the event, for example Hairdressers’ Journal’s Afro Stylist of the Year and Barber of the Year, and the North Nail Championship at Professional Beauty North.

Entering and winning competitions is always a huge boost for salon business.

A recent study by BABTAC found salons that won an award saw an average increase in turnover of £680 per month. While mobile/freelance therapists award winners said their monthly revenue grew by an average £250.

The buzz of competing at a big trade show in front of your hair and beauty peers is a great motivator for your team. As the cost of entering these trade show competitions is usually low they are brilliant value, as well as great fun.

Tie a competition entry in with a trip around the show, catch an educational workshop and you’ve got yourself an inspiring team day out.


5. Trade show bargain bonanza

Who doesn’t love some serious retail therapy?

Shopping is one of the delights of trade shows with bags of freebies, discounts and savings up for grabs.

If you’ve an eye on a big-ticket item then I think it’s always worth asking about a show deal – even if they’re not advertising one. Exhibitors love to be seen signing you up on their stand on the day, so always ask. What have you got to lose?


6. Salon networking opportunities

I always take plenty of business cards and network. With so many hair and beauty professionals in one place it’s easy to forge new business relationships. Meeting suppliers face-to-face makes for better relations when you’re back in your salon business and is time well spent as this post explains.

All the major shows post exhibitor lists online, so do your homework before you go. You’ll have a more productive day and your feet will thank you.


7. Discover the latest professional hair and beauty innovations

Stay one step ahead of your high street competition. Attending trade exhibitions and shows ensure you keep abreast of the latest industry equipment, treatments and business innovations. Watch demonstrations, test new kit and ask all the (awkward) questions you want.

Again, it’s worth checking the exhibitors list before you go and doing some online research on features and prices.

On the day, I like to check out the smaller stands as they often are new companies with innovative products, services and ideas.


8. After the trade show

So you’ve staggered home with bags bulging with leaflets, samples and magazines. Don’t just dump them in the corner of your office. Instead, share them with your salon team and make the most of your visit.

And finally, cement those business relationships you made at the show with a quick email of thanks. Most show visitors won’t bother, so you’ll stand out from the crowd. You never know when your new found acquaintance will come in useful.


Hair and beauty trade show calendar 2016

Our at-a-glance calendar of all the main hair and beauty business trade shows and events the UK and Ireland in 2016. Note: this calendar will be updated as free and discounted ticket sales go live.

Free hair & beauty trade show tickets

Where free tickets or ticket discounts are available for these professional hair and beauty shows we’ve given you the link so you can save money.


Professional Hairdresser Live: 24/25 April 2016 Olympia, London. Free tickets here.

Scottish Hair & Beauty: 24/25 April 2016 Royal Highland Centre, Edinburgh. Free tickets here.

Holistic Health: 22/23 May 2016 National Exhibition Centre (NEC) in Birmingham. Free Tickets here.

BeautyUK: 22/23 May 2016 National Exhibition Centre (NEC) in Birmingham. Free Tickets here.

NailsUK: 22/23 May 2016 National Exhibition Centre (NEC) in Birmingham. Free Tickets here.

HairUK: 22/23 May 2016 National Exhibition Centre (NEC) in Birmingham. Free tickets here.

BarberUK: 22/23 May 2016 National Exhibition Centre (NEC) in Birmingham. Free tickets here.

Professional Beauty Belfast: 12 June 2016 Belfast. Free tickets here.

Barber Connect: 26 – 27 June 2016 at the Celtic Manor Resort Newport UK Tickets £20. Free tickets don’t seem to be available for this trade show. Tickets here.

Professional Beauty North: 18/19 September 2016 at Manchester Central. Free tickets here.

Olympia Beauty: 2/3 October 2016 Olympia London. Free Tickets here.

The Advanced Beauty Conference: 2/3 October 2016 Olympia London. Free Tickets here.

Salon International:  15-17 October 2016  ExCel London. Booking not yet open.

Professional Beauty Ireland: 25/26 October 2016 Dublin. Booking not yet open.

The Professional Spa & Wellness Convention: 26/27 February 2017 ExCeL London. Booking not yet open.

Professional Hairdresser Live: 26/27 February 2017 Manchester Central. Booking not yet open.

Professional Beauty London: 26/27 February 2017. Booking not yet open.