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Who doesn’t dream of winning a national hairdressing award?

Close your eyes.

There you are, centre stage, proudly receiving the winner’s trophy from a celeb, delivering your gracious acceptance speech and beaming at the standing ovation.

It could be you…

Just one small snag.

The budget.

Your salon marketing piggy-bank is empty. Zilch funds.


Enter your salon for a hair industry award

Entering a celebrated national hairdressing award or salon competition, like HJ’s British Hairdressing Awards (BHA) or Creative Head’s Most Wanted, is an expensive marketing pastime.

You need time and money (not to mention exceptional talent, of course) to hire professional models, photographers, stylists and make-up artists to shoot your award entry portfolio. Plus help to write and design your award-winning entry.

Don’t despair. Yes, entering many top notch hair industry awards can cost an arm and a leg. However, not all national hairdressing awards break the bank as I show you.

In this blog post I look at:

  • Nine national hair competitions for those on a super-tight budget
  • Why entering awards is so good for marketing your salon


9 big hairdressing awards for tiny marketing budgets

Here are nine cool hair industry competitions that won’t break the salon piggy-bank. You don’t need a professional model or photographer to enter. Just oodles of talent, flair and panache.

Go on. What have you got to lose?


4 free-to-enter Hairdressers Journal industry awards

HJ – Hairdressers Journal – is again holding the finals of its four highly successful awards at this year’s Salon International exhibition at London’s Excel Exhibition Centre in October.

There’s something for every stylist, salon or barber:


1. Enter HJ’s Best Bridal Hairdresser award

Brilliant at wedding hair? Then this one’s definitely for you.

It’s open to all UK stylists (trained to NVQ level 2 or above) with a minimum of five years’ experience.

What’s more, it’s easy and free to enter. So no excuses if your marketing budget is zilch. Just go online and upload your entry – a photo of your ‘best bridal hair’ along with 50 words on why you love it.

Finalists will recreate their bridal look at the prestigious Salon International live final in front of a huge crowd on Sunday October 11th – so be prepared.

Deadline for entries is 5pm on September 5th 2015, so you’ve all summer to perfect your bridal entry.

If you’re keen to attract more wedding and bridal work into your salon then check out this post.


2. Could you win the 2015 Barber of the Year?

Calling all barbers…

This HJ event attracted record-breaking entries last year so you’ll need your best snippers, razors and trimmers at the ready for this one.

Again, just upload a photo of your on-trend look online for free. If you’re chosen as a finalist you will recreate it live on the show floor at Salon International on Sunday 11th October.

Deadline for entries is 5pm on September 4th 2015, so look sharp!


3. Are you a Rising Star in the hairdressing world?

Get your hairdressing career off to a fantastic flying start.

This free-to-enter industry award is open to talented young hairdressing students working towards their NVQ level 1 or 2 or equivalent. Simply create a look inspired by a celebrity of your choice.

Again, entry is free. Just upload your photo online.

You could find yourself on the HJ stage on Monday 12th October at Salon International with the crème de la crème of the UK hair industry, collecting that shiny trophy. Flashbulbs popping.

Deadline for entries is 5pm on September 1st 2015.


4. Could you be this year’s best Afro Stylist?

Now in its second year this award category was launched by HJ to recognise and reward the wealth of talent within the afro hairdressing market.

You’ll need a minimum of five years’ experience, or be trained to NVQ level 2 or above.

Again it’s easy and free to enter, all uploaded online by 5pm September 4th 2015.

Finalists will perform their afro style live at Salon International on Saturday 10th October 2015, before a panel of renowned judges.

Entry details for these 4 Hairdressers Journal awards can be found here.


5 inexpensive National Hairdressers’ Federation competitions

Whether you’re new to hairdressing or have years of experience there’s an award category to suit you in this new competition event run by the National Hairdressers Federation (NHF).

Entry costs start at a very affordable £10. The most expensive competition entry fee is £30 – probably less than you’d spend on a Saturday night out.

All finalists will be invited to attend the NHF’s Britain’s Best event on Sunday 15th November 2015 at the Heritage Motor Centre, Warwickshire.

There are 4 hairdressing award categories:

  • Male and female fashion look
  • A fashion collection
  • An Afro-Caribbean fashion look
  • Male and female fashion look (students working towards level 3)

If you’ve never been brave enough to attempt a hairdressing competition before this is the perfect place to start – and it can all be done easily online.

NHF hairdressing competition closing date

Entries close noon on 18th September 2015, so you’ve plenty of time to get creative. All finalists will be invited to NHF’s Britain’s Best event in November.

So go on… there really is no excuse… and you might even win. Entry details and rules here, plus useful tips on how to put together your award entry on a low budget.


Show off your award-winning hairdressing skills live

For stylists and hairdressers keen to showcase their skills against the clock, the NHF runs its popular Britain’s Best 2015 on Sunday 15th November.

Again entry fees range from just £10 for categories such as:

  • Beard of the Day
  • Colour of the Day
  • Male and Female Fashion Look
  • Fantasy Total Look
  • Hair Up and Blow-Dry

There are categories for students and trainees, and open competitions where anyone can enter.

This exciting all-day event takes place at the Heritage Motor Centre in Warwickshire. If you’re not feeling bold enough to enter why not pop along and watch (£10 admission fee) and find some inspiration for your entry next year?


Entering hair industry awards brings big business benefits

Everyone tends to focus on winning. Yet you don’t have to win outright to reap the business rewards of being an award-winning salon or hairdresser.

Being shortlisted is enough.


So why enter a hairdressing award?

There are powerful salon marketing reasons for entering your business or stylists into hairdressing awards – whether a county, regional or national competition.

Here are our top nine business reasons:

  1. Salon reputation: Being shortlisted for an industry award shows clients (and potential clients) that your salon has excellent professional standards and creative, talented stylists.
  2. Salon morale: Simply entering an industry award demonstrates to your team that you value, respect and rate their creative skills.
  3. Salon team: Retaining good stylists can be an issue. If you’ve an award to your name it establishes you as a business that appreciates and nurtures its employees. Who doesn’t want to work for an award-winning salon, and one that values the talents of its team?
  4. New clients: Stand out from your local competitors. Being an award-winning salon attracts new clients and entices lapsed ones back. It gives professional kudos, and reassurance that you are a salon with its finger on the hairdressing pulse.
  5. Improve profitability: According to new research by BABTAC, salons that win awards see an average increase in turnover of £680 per month. It’s the same in the hair industry. Just being shortlisted can help increase your business turnover and profitability.
  6. Successful salon marketing: Use a shortlisted entry or award win to run successful marketing and PR campaigns to boost business and build and expand your salon brand.
  7. Attract top hairdressing talent: The most creative and talented hairdressers want to work for salons at the top of their game. Being an award-winning salon will help attract first-class staff to your business – everyone loves working for the best.
  8. Independent endorsement: Being singled out for an award by an industry expert proves to the world you are a hair salon to be reckoned with. What better praise or endorsement is there than being chosen by a respected competition judge?
  9. Career development: Stylists and colourists whether senior or junior, all benefit hugely from entering hair industry competitions and awards. The experience is invaluable. Making it to the final is both inspiring and motivating, and helps them take their careers to the next level. On a personal level it can provide just the encouragement and motivation they need to broaden their talents and have faith in their creativity in what is a very competitive industry.


More dash than cash

Standing on stage, being applauded by your peers and clutching that precious trophy doesn’t have to remain a dream.

Spend some time in the next few days deciding which of these inexpensive (or free) hairdressing awards are right for you, speak to your team and just do it.

You won’t regret it.

Good luck!

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