Professional Beauty Awards 2018
On February 25, the winners of the Professional Beauty and World Spa & Wellness Awards 2018 were announced at a black-tie dinner at Grade I London venue Tobacco Dock. The evening was opened by Professional Beauty’s managing director Mark Moloney and editor Eve Oxberry, and hosted by comedian Stephen K Amos, who presented the awards to the deserving winners. Guests stayed to party the night away and celebrate the success of the winning businesses.
Turn the page to find out how the 11 Professional Beauty winners made it to the top, and for more on the World Spa & Wellness Awards winners, check out our sister site worldspawellness.com/awards
BOUTIQUE BEAUTY SALON OF THE YEAR
Zen Lifestyle – Bruntsfield, Edinburgh
With three treatment rooms, Bruntsfield is the smaller of the two Zen Lifestyle salons. Both offer clients a welcoming but stylish environment, catering for people who like salons that are trendy but high quality.
Opened in 1999, the business is known locally and nationally for high standards of treatments and training. Recently, Zen has upped its investment in the next generation of therapists, holding seminars at local colleges to help beauty graduates prepare for life in the working world.
For its managers and directors, Zen offers an extensive leadership development training programme with an external training company.
The salon’s “innovative treatments, loyal staff and impressive work in the local community” were among the things that made it stand out to the judges.
Kieran Fowley, director, Zen Lifestyle
LARGE BEAUTY SALON OF THE YEAR
Zen Lifestyle – Hanover Street, Edinburgh
Zen’s larger salon in Hanover Street wowed the judges with its welcoming atmosphere and impressive treatment delivery. Opened in 2011, the salon offers a huge range of treatments from brands including Murad, Medik8, CND, Elemis, Caci, Nouveau Lashes and many more.
Judges were impressed with the business’s strong branding, which features in every detail of the salon, from appointment cards to towels and chocolates. They also commented that Zen offers great value for money, delivering reliably good treatments from welcoming staff in a stylish environment.
Owners Fiona and Kieran Fowley were praised for their business know-how, with the group’s training programme, social media presence and thorough procedures for ensuring customer care and satisfaction all making Zen stand out as a winner.
DAY SPA OF THE YEAR
Pure Day Spa, Newtonards, Down
Pure scooped the top spot because of its luxurious customer journey, high-quality service and attention to detail. Led by director Elaine Murphy, the Northern Ireland countryside retreat aims to help clients escape the pressures of the world.
Judges were particularly impressed by the spa’s treatment menu, which is packed with rituals from all over the world, including Balinese philosophies and ancient Thai traditions, and several unexpected special touches such as complimentary champagne, personalised robes and Belgian chocolates. Another stand-out point was Pure’s commitment to client retention, with judges praising the business’s loyalty card system, which awards customers a complimentary treatment for every 10 stamps. All staff were noted as being “professional, courteous and welcoming”, which helped the spa receive top marks for the experience.
Elaine Murphy, director, Pure Day Spa
RESIDENTIAL SPA OF THE YEAR: 11 ROOMS OR MORE
The Spa at Pennyhill Park, Bagshott, Surrey
Five-star countryside resort Pennyhill Park is an impressive operation. Spanning 45,000sq ft and with facilities including 21 treatment rooms, three hydrotherapy pools, a sensory room, laconium, ice cave and swimming pool complete with underwater music, our judges agreed it truly had the wow factor.
Run by spa director Darren Dixon, Pennyhill Park’s team is committed to providing a luxurious stay with a personal touch. This really stood out to judges, from the warm and consistently welcoming feel throughout the client journey to the relaunch of its own product range The Spa, which is used in all treatments, giving a more bespoke touch.
Our mystery shopper awarded her treatment top marks, stating it was the “best facial I’ve ever had”, while our announced visitor was impressed with therapists’ technical knowledge. The spa’s goal to put the customer first has resulted in guest satisfaction for the past 12 months coming in at an amazing 94%.
Katie Pratt, spa therapy manager, The Spa at Pennyhill Park
RESIDENTIAL SPA OF THE YEAR: 10 ROOMS OR FEWER
Dormy House Hotel & Spa, Worcestershire
Judges were so impressed with the experience provided by Dormy House that one commented: “For the first time in a very long time I have found it extremely difficult to criticise and find any real negatives at all. They just did everything right.”
Particular areas of strength noted were customer service, effective marketing, food quality, accommodation and treatment tailoring. The spa prides itself on the quality of its massages, with therapists having been trained by Beata Alexandrowicz, founder of Pure Massage Spa Training Method.
Spa manager Zoe Douglas describes the spa as fun and unpretentious, and ultimately aims to make guests feel at home. The introduction of Natura Bissé in 2016 drove a 14% increase in revenue, while subsequent pop-up events, limitededition pacakges and wellness weekend initiatives have also helped the business grow.
Zoe Douglas, spa manager, The Spa at Dormy House
Highly Commended: The Spa at The Midland, Manchester
This category was particularly closely fought, and The Spa at The Midland’s high standard of therapists, dedication to monitoring and acting on guest feedback, and “totally delicious food” inspired judges to award it Highly Commended.
THERAPIST OF THE YEAR
Rebecca Griffiths, The Secret Spa, Chester
As the owner of successful salon The Secret Spa, and with 20 years’ industry experience under her belt, Griffiths has been making waves in the industry as a facial specialist – and it’s paid off. At the awards practical judging day, judges were blown away by her personable consultation style and her use and understanding of different massage techniques.
The judges were also impressed with Griffiths’ ability to tailor her methods to suit clients’ needs and her development of bespoke treatment addons in salon, which resulted in a business growth of 5% last year and an increase in client spend.
In the last 12 months, Griffiths has worked hard to build on her reputation in the industry, working with Parisian skincare brand Darphin to develop signature facials, undergoing advanced training with Caci and Crystal Clear, and teaming up with local charities.
NAIL PROFESSIONAL OF THE YEAR
Katie Barnes, Katie Barnes Training Academy, Warwickshire
Having reached the finals in this category several times, Barnes’s dedication to educating the next generation of techs and becoming an ambassador for the industry finally scooped her the trophy for 2018.
Barnes was awarded high points for her digital approach to learning, using her YouTube channel Katie B Nails to share techniques with peers, as well as launch her reputation on a global scale – Barnes is the only UK semi-finalist in this year’s Nails Next Top Artist competition. On the awards practical judging day, judges gave top marks for her nail art designs, cuticle work and explanation of the treatment to the client.
Barnes’s story of expanding her training academy twice in the past seven years to offer more training spaces and provide more job and apprenticeship opportunities to budding techs also impressed.
Beauty Lounge, Doncaster
The Nail Boutique, Brentwood
Matisse Hair Studio, Bradford
NAIL SALON OF THE YEAR
Coco Nail Bar, London
Located on London’s Portobello Road, Coco Nail Bar aims to offer a level of service to match the area’s upmarket vibe. Judges were wowed by “above and beyond factors” such as the choice of more than 600 polishes, on-site cocktail and coffee bars, sushi to order and Apple TV to watch with wireless Sennheiser headphones during treatments.
Open seven days a week and until 10pm, the salon aims to keep clients as happy as possible, which is why owner Tima Reshad and her team switched to a management software that offers both online and app bookings.
In April last year, Coco added two extra treatment rooms to accommodate services other than nails, and enlisted the guidance of consultant Liz McKeon to further improve on the business. The salon also recently created its own cuticle oil to use in treatments and retail to clients.
Tima Reshad, owner, Coco Nail Bar
EMPLOYER OF THE YEAR
Spa Experience by Better
Spa group Spa Experience rebranded from the name Spa London in 2016. It runs spas within Better leisure centres across London and further afield in locations including Taunton, Somerset.
The group aims to offer all staff long-term career development via clear career paths. Each employee has an ongoing training plan and also has the opportunity to further their development with the support of GLL through course sponsorship.
The company runs monthly awards that give incentives for a broad range of achievement areas, including highest retail sales, highest number of rebooks, and most customer comments, allowing all therapists a chance to succeed.
Employees are encouraged to develop their skills and contribute their ideas to the business through monthly team meetings.
Melissa Evans, national spa manager, Spa Experience by Better
MEDICAL AESTHETIC CLINIC OF THE YEAR
EF Medispa, Kensington, London
EF Medispa founder Esther Fieldgrass’s interest in technology and innovation is infused into the clinic’s machines, protocols and products, supporting its ultimate aim of giving clients impressive results.
Judges said the clinic’s staff go above and beyond for customer care, something it achieves through its structured, bespoke approach to treating every client. Each is assigned a treatment coordinator to see them through their treatment plan, and EF Medispa encourages thorough and continual client feedback on every area of the treatment journey in order to keep improving.
The medispa’s clinical yet relaxed ambiance made judges feel at ease, while the “sophisticated, attractive” space was clean and well maintained in all areas. The clinic has recently upped its focus on training and has already seen an increase in staff motivation and retention.
Rudi Fieldgrass, director, EF Medispa
MAKE-UP SPECIALIST OF THE YEAR
Rachael Divers, Barnsley
Rachael Divers’s passion for opposite ends of the make-up spectrum – bridal and SFX – gives her a broad range of technical skills and creative ideas, judges noted on the practical judging day. In particular, her interaction with her model, gentle techniques and choice of shades to enhance the eye colour were commended.
Divers’s enthusiasm shines through in her continued training, having attended classes in advanced eye make-up artistry skills and Asian bridal make-up, business development and entrepreneurship workshops, a VTCT Level 3 Media Makeup course and the Mastered Val Garland School of Make-up course. Divers has built on her business’s success and attracted new clients by regularly updating her blog, something she says has helped solidify a positive reputation in the industry. She has recently started a YouTube channel and plans to soon start creating tutorial videos.