It’s the season of awards entries and many salons, techs and therapists will be looking to enter the ever-increasing award systems available to us.  How do you work out which to enter and what categories?  Over the years I’ve learnt that all entries are worth while whether it be a local or national, as a salon or individual, for skill or business acumen.  The most important thing is ENTER! Why is this?  Because every time you reflect on your position you have an opportunity to grow and develop!  Many of us get so wrapped up in servicing our clients and keeping the bills paid that we forget we need to recognise our own achievements, be it in the world of business or in the world of skill development.  Stand up and be recognised!

My advice is to enter them all.  However, be aware that some awards have more to offer than others.  Be realistic in your expectations of what you will gain.  Check how much coverage the organiser will give you as a finalist and as a winner.  Award schemes at their core are a marketing opportunity for the organisers and for all that enter, so use the benefits you will receive wisely.

Award schemes will ask questions that make you consider how you work, how you service your clients and where your customer service levels stand, so make sure you are prepared to scrutinise yourself and your business.  Scratch Stars, for example, will have hundreds of entries and you need to make sure you stand out.  Where are your strengths and where can you improve?  Think it through and check out previous winners: What did they do?  What is their website like?  Do they have great social media?  If you want to compete with the highest-level salons or techs nationally you may need to review your business.

The start of you winning your ultimate award is entering!!  I get asked regularly for advice on how to get to the finals and the answer is always ENTER!! Check your dates too – are you available for all required? Read the entry form fully, decide on your categories, read the questions and be honest, thorough and play to your strengths.  What have you done to be proud of?  What have you overcome?  Have you improved yourself, your team, your business?  Entering creates a buzz with clients, get them involved – ask them for testimonials for you to use whether a requirement or not.  This reinforces for them why they use your salon and that they’ve made the best choice by coming to you and gives you a different perspective of your business to use in your entry.

If you are entering skill categories, make sure you’re ahead of the game.  You know the awards are coming, start building a portfolio of nail images as there’s nothing worse than not being able to enter because you don’t have the right nail client that week.  If you have a client with nail model hands start early on doing a few designs, practice your polish framing, photo angles.  Practice, practice, practice!!

Sue Davies: The English Hair & Beauty Awards 2017

Being a finalist is a massive achievement and an opportunity to promote your success to clients, the local press and social media.  This marketing window is open briefly and is, for me, one of the biggest promotion opportunities you get. 

Having been on both sides of the awards I have learnt a few important things, but probably the most important is keep your answers to the point (for those that know me they know I find this bit tough lol) because from the other side, as a judge, with limited time to read the finalists’ entries what is needed is a clear, concise entry.  The judges are the ones that make or break your dream.  What would you want to read?

Whether you win or not, if you can receive feedback on your entry, take it.  It will offer insight on where you can update, improve or review.

Entering is only the beginning, then the wait begins.  On the day of finalist announcements there’s a lot of email refreshing and checking phones aren’t on silent going on amongst all the entrants.  This wait is not as long as the wait for the awards night and then finally, the 2 minutes you have to wait, when the announcements for your award begin, which is THE longest ever.  Hold your breath!

We can’t all take home the award so get your Oscars smile ready and take being one of the Top 5 in the UK as the win it is.

But if, when that long-awaited moment comes, and it’s your name that’s announced your whole world will stop, for just a moment, as you realise you have done it!!  YOU HAVE WON!!!

Sue Davies: Services to the Nail Industry 2017 Scratch Stars

Sue Davies

Sue Davies has been an active member of the nail and beauty industry for over 16 years. She has worked widely in the industry in the fields of salon management and ownership, international nail competitions, as an education provider (both independently and for industry brands), and managed nail industry trade bodies. Sue is highly respected within her field, has received industry recognition and awards and been a regular columnist and contributor in trade press.