Winning an award or competition is a great way to show that your salon or barbershop is among the best in the business. Independent recognition from industry experts will help you raise your profile, boost staff morale and attract new clients.

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Why enter industry competitions?

Winning competitions or being picked as a finalist will help to ensure your stylists, barbers and therapists feel proud about where they work and will improve employee retention. Celebrating their success will make your salon or barbershop staff feel good and encourage everyone to pull together – especially if you involve the whole team in creating outstanding competition entries.

Happy employees who feel valued and appreciated will make for happy clients which should in turn help to grow your hair or beauty business. Highlight your employees’ success by congratulating them on your social media channels and website and featuring them in a press release for local news outlets and industry magazines.

Winning industry awards will also attract new high-calibre staff who will welcome the opportunity to be part of an award-winning business.

Find out how to reward your salon or barbershop team for long-term success.

                                                         Anne Veck

"Awards help you to benchmark yourself against the best in the industry and see your progression. We enter business awards only when we think we have a good story to tell/case to make with a realistic chance of finalising. Regarding creative hairdressing awards, I enter as many as I can, and I encourage my team members to enter too. It's highly motivating and an excellent way of improving the standard of hairdressing we offer in the salons."Anne Veck, NHBF 2018/2019 Hairdressing Ambassador, Anne Veck Hair, Oxford and Bicester

Nine top tips for competition success

Follow the steps below to make your competition entry stand out from the crowd.

1. Provide all the required information - This may seem obvious but many people get it wrong. They don’t read the questions properly and so miss things out. Read the entry form carefully and make sure you understand what you need to include. Carefully tailor your responses to maximise your chances of success.

2. Be clear - Judges will be reading hundreds of entries so a clearly written, compelling, and well-structured submission will really help yours stand out. A good rule of thumb is to describe your challenge, explain how you solved it and then describe the successful outcome.

3. Bring your entry to life – Include stories about real staff and clients. For example, how you went that extra mile to solve a client’s problem and how delighted they were as a result, or how your team works together to offer an outstanding client experience.

4. Provide evidence – You may have a brilliant story to tell but judges will want to see evidence to back up your claims. Simply stating ‘my salon delivers excellent customer service’ will not impress the judges. It may well be true, but why should they believe you? You’ll need to support your claims with concrete facts.

A good way to do this is to include client testimonials (see below), statistics, charts and graphs, relevant awards you may have won in the past and any media coverage highlighting your achievements.

BB17 Competition

5. Client testimonials – Ask your clients what makes your salon or barbershop special. What do they love about your business, service and team? Their testimonials are crucial evidence to back up the statements you include in your competition entry. But always make sure you have their permission to use their quotes and any photographs of them you want to submit as part of your entry.

6. Involve your team – Make the most of your team’s creative talent and encourage everyone to take part in the process of entering competitions. Ask for their ideas and input when putting your entry together. As well as entering competitions as a salon or barbershop, look out for opportunities to celebrate individual members of staff. For example, The NHBF Business Awards include categories such as ‘Best Apprentice’ and ‘Best Front of House’. Find out more about the NHBF Business Awards.

If you make it to the finals of a competition you may have to take part in a mystery shopper visit. Make sure your whole team is briefed and are aware this may happen. Explain that you don’t expect them to act any differently – they should just be their usual brilliant selves to show off your salon or barbershop at its best.

7. Be honest – Don’t embellish the truth or make claims in your competition entry that you can’t back up. This could lead to embarrassment and might even damage your reputation.

Hellen Ward

"If you're a brand trying to build itself, it can really help put you on the map."

Hellen Ward, NHBF 2018/2019 Beauty Ambassador, director and co-founder of Richard Ward Hair and Metrospa

8. Save a copy of your entry – Keep a copy of all your competition entries. Any successful ones will provide a basis for future competitions and those that weren’t can be adapted and improved as you find out what works well and what doesn’t. Don’t be discouraged – always learn from your mistakes.

9. Keep a competition calendar – You have to be in it to win it, so make a note of important dates and deadlines. Include closing dates for entries, finalist announcements, and the date of the awards event.

The NHBF runs a number of high-profile competitions throughout the year. Find out more.

Christian Wiles

"Entering awards helps us to develop as a business. Not only do awards strengthen your brand awareness on a local and national scale, they encourage us to study our successes, evaluate our decisions and then adopt new strategies that can become a blueprint for moving forward. To win awards, you have to be constantly evolving and always thinking outside the box - this mentality is critical to take the business to the next level." ~ Christian Wiles, NHBF 2018/2019 Barbering/Male Grooming Ambassador, Christian Wiles Hairdressing, Northampton

Shout about your success

Don’t wait to win! Being a finalist is good news in itself and can be used to promote your salon or barbershop’s success in the competition. Then if you go on to win, you can create a second round of publicity to further highlight your achievements.

Contact your local media as soon as you know you’re a finalist or have won. Issue a press release and include an eye-catching high-resolution photograph. Local media love an upbeat local news story so make sure they know about yours!

Share the story behind your win on your website and social media. Clients enjoy being associated with success and the publicity will help new clients discover your salon or barbershop.

Use the competition logo in all your online and offline publicity. You can add a strapline such as ‘finalist’ or ‘award-winning salon’.  

You can also display your award together with photos from the event in your salon or barbershop. This will highlight your award-winning creative skills to new and existing clients.

Find out how to use social media to boost your salon or barbershop business. 


Get consent to use quotes and images

Always get your client’s consent if you are going to use their quote or image in your competition entry. The same goes for your staff. Don’t forget that the competition organisers could share photographs and quotes on social media and in various publications, so you must have permission from your clients and staff before this goes ahead.  

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• Doing well in competitions will help raise your profile and boost your business.
• Involve staff to show you value and appreciate their input.
• Make your entry stand out from the crowd – but don’t exaggerate your achievements.
• Provide judges with evidence of your successes such as testimonials.
• Keep a competition calendar so you don’t miss deadlines.
• Publicise your successes on social media and in the local press.
• Always get consent from clients and staff to use quotes and images.