The Professional Beauty Awards 2020 crowned 17 deserving winners on December 8 during a glamourous live-streamed ceremony. Recognising the unwavering hard work and dedication of individuals and businesses, the ceremony was held virtually for the first time in its history, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Although we missed the usual party, the virtual event proved the next best way to bring the beauty and spa community together to network in chat rooms then watch the reactions of each winner on screen as we went live to their living rooms.
Introducing the event, Professional Beauty head of editorial Eve Oxberry said: “There’s no doubt that it has been a challenging year for the beauty and spa industry, but one silver lining among all of this has been the incredible community that has come together to support one another and to fight to get the industry the respect and recognition it deserves.
“This is also why the Professional Beauty Awards have never been more important. For more than 20 years, we’ve been raising the profile of the businesses and individuals that really set the standard in terms of treatment delivery, customer service, care and progression of their teams, and, of course, hygiene and safety, and it’s so vital that we celebrate these amazing achievements. A huge congratulations to all of our outstanding winners and finalists.”
The winners of this year’s awards excelled in business innovation as well as customer journey. Over the next few pages, we’ve profiled every winner to explore the secrets of their success…
NAIL SALON OF THE YEAR
WINNER Niche Nails & Beauty, Witney, Oxfordshire
This is not the first time Niche Nails & Beauty has won at the Professional Beauty Awards, and with its exceptional customer care, bespoke treatment menu and impressive standards of hygiene, it is easy to understand why.
The salon impressed across all categories, from the website and treatment offer, to the business strategy and in-house progression opportunities for the team. Judges also recognised the salon’s commitment to keeping up to date with new technologies and tools coming into the industry, including biodegradable detergents and disinfectants.
For owner Natasha Barker, the key to success is a well-educated team. Staff training is paramount and allows each team member to excel in their preferred treatment. Barker believes the small details make a big difference and has a strong focus on client care.
I’m amazed, so proud and so happy, especially after the year we’ve had. I’ve got my team to thank for this. We won last year so it’s amazing for us to keep the award this year, so thank you so much. Natasha Barker, owner
Diva Nails, West Lothian, Scotland
L.G Nails & Beauty, Radcliffe on Trent, Nottinghamshire
Mooeys, Horsham, Surrey
Tigerlilly Nails, Wimbourne, Dorest
SPA/SALON LEADER OF THE YEAR
WINNER Kay Pennington, Aqua Sana, Nottinghamshire
Kay Pennington oversees the strategic management of the six Aqua Sana Spas located across the UK and Ireland. Although the scale of her job is large, Pennington impressed judges with her hands-on approach.
Pennington has more than 20 years’ experience within the spa and beauty industry, as well as a thorough understanding of the importance of marketing and media relations, but is always keen to take further guidance from experts in these areas.
She has a deep understanding of the latest trends and the benefits of ingredients used within the beauty industry – a skill which has allowed her to develop a bespoke treatment with a local product house, designed exclusively for Aqua Sana Longleat Forest. As a spa brand that has previously relied on product houses for treatment protocols, this was a huge step forward in Aqua Sana’s journey towards creating its own range of treatments.
Thank you so much for this amazing award. It’s been an incredible journey over the past 24 years, I feel I have the industry in my blood. I absolutely adore my team, so this is for them, but this is also for my husband and children as they have allowed me to follow my dreams. Kay Pennington, Aqua Sana group manager
Amy Lewis, Mooeys, Bedford
Rachael Hyland, Radiant Living, Lancashire
Stefannie Larkman, The Little Retreat Day Spa, Nottingham
Tracie Giles, Tracie Giles London
SPA/SALON TEAM OF THE YEAR
WINNER The Secret Spa, Wrexham, Wales
The team at The Secret Spa pride themselves on a strong sense of mutual commitment, a synergy that generates performance and a passion for their work. They embrace team spirit, driving a culture of support through small acts that make a big difference. The team go out of their way to provide a brilliant service and experience for clients, including home visits, helping with transport to and from the salon, and extending opening hours when needed to meet clients’ needs. Weekly team meetings, monthly planning sessions, and masterclasses and coaching help the team stay cohesive and progressive. Staff are also rewarded with trips to different spas to both enjoy and be inspired by.
In 2019, three of the team travelled to Carita in Paris, this trip both rewarded exceptional commitment to the business and gave staff the opportunity to improve The Secret Spa with new business ideas and initiatives learned on the trip.
My team make The Secret Spa what it is and they do everything – especially through these past 12 months. It has been the hardest time ever and this is such a great achievement. Rebecca Griffiths, owner
City Retreat, Newcastle
k:SPA, Whiteley, Hampshire
Polished Nail and Beauty Boutique, Marske by Sea, Cleveland
Sparx Beauty, Winchester
The Spa Hotel at Ribby Hall Village, Preston, Lancashire
THERAPIST OF THE YEAR
WINNER Katherine Flood, Katherine Skin & Beauty, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire
Katherine Flood is a force of nature in the industry. With 24 years’ experience as a skin and beauty therapist, she’s spent the past 20 years undertaking additional training. Flood believes this is vital, not only to stay professionally educated but to stay inspired and motivated.
She enjoys and excels in creating bespoke non-surgical facial treatments for clients by blending advanced equipment and ingredients with traditional, authentic and well-practiced methods. She also understands the importance of minor details to create the most relaxing environment for customers through opulent room lighting and essential oils. Additionally, she aims to go the extra mile with treatments.
For example, clients coming in for an eyelash tint enjoy a complementary head massage while the tint develops. Even with short treatments, Flood does everything possible to ensure her customers leave her business feeling relaxed, refreshed and revitalised.
Thank you so much! I want to thank some people – particularly Haringtons in Wendover and The Hair and Beauty Bar’s Suzanne Newman. Thank you so much. Katherine Flood
Diana Jenner, Orchids Retreat, Lymington, Hampshire
Helen Ward, Sirens Beauty Salon, Durham
Jaime Godfrey, Studio 8 Beauty, Portsmouth
Justyna Rostek, Guinot Earlsfield, London
Tania Burton, Complexions, Coventry
LARGE SALON OF THE YEAR
WINNER Amy Gordon Skin Clinic & Beauty Boutique, Colchester, Essex
Having the highest overall score among all the regional finalists with four or more treatment rooms, Amy Gordon Skin Clinic & Beauty Boutique scooped the national Large Salon title.
This beautifully presented salon scored top marks for its strong business philosophy and because of its passionate owner Amy Gordon. Judges commented on the success of the rebrand and the encouraging way the clinic has taken on difficult changes in its stride.
Gordon notes the philosophy of the skin clinic is to create an environment that envelops customers as they walk through the door. She ensures clients feel genuinely cared for by trusted, highly skilled and thoughtful professionals.
The team’s main aim is to listen to clients, as well as deliver effective high-class treatments. Gordon encourages staff to build relationships with customers, resulting in a personal experience. The clinic is also an environment for clients to unload, unwind and feel pampered, and the team expresses appreciation to loyal customers through unexpected gifts for an added personal touch.
To finish this year with this award is incredible; we are so pleased. Huge congratulations to all the other finalists as well. Amy Gordon, owner
EMPLOYER OF THE YEAR
WINNER Pure Perfection, Clitheroe, Lancashire
Pure Perfection was awarded high marks across all areas, with judges recognising the company’s clear commitment to empowering and developing its team.
Judges were highly impressed with Pure Perfection’s Advanced Apprentice Programme, which enables apprentices to develop additional skills to complement their college course, fast-tracking their education and allowing them to quickly build up a client base.
For salon owner Carla Chatburn, the training and development of her team is paramount. Not only is training regular and heavily invested in, but Chatburn also illustrates a commitment to the personal development of her team and herself, regularly working with a wellbeing practitioner and business coach to stay motivated and energised.
Wherever possible, the salon gets involved with community initiatives, as well as local and national charitable events to effectively raise both funds and awareness. Pure Perfection also collaborates with local organisations to offer VIP discount cards to businesses and employees.
It’s incredible to win, I’m so overwhelmed. I’m so grateful to be a part of such prestigious awards and in the finals with such fabulous businesses. My team will be overwhelmed with joy. Carla Chatburn, owner
Aqua Sana Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire
Chocolate Beauty Spa, Leeds
City Retreat Salon & Spa, Newcastle
The Pink Shed, Brantham, Suffolk
BOUTIQUE SALON OF THE YEAR
WINNER Simpsons City Centre Champagne Nail and Beauty Salon, Lincoln
With brands such as Elemis, OPI, Nouveau Lashes and HD Brows, Simpsons City Centre Champagne Nail and Beauty Salon has an impressive treatment menu and judges also praised the salon’s gorgeous interior.
Having won the North East, Scotland and Northern Ireland Salon of the Year category, Simpsons also scored the highest across all regional finalist salons that have three treatment rooms or fewer, securing it the Boutique Salon of the Year title.
Managing director Terri-Jayne Taylor is proud to be the only salon in Lincoln licensed to sell alcohol and this formulated the salon’s USP. Customers can enjoy treatments with a with a glass of Champagne in-hand and escape from the hustle and bustle. The salon is set across five floors, with the lower levels being the space for Taylor’s lash, brow and nail studio.
Simpsons also offers express treatments for customers in a rush.
Although quicker, these treatments do not compromise on the quality of service, and work as an effective alternative to full-length treatments, allowing even the busiest customers to receive the pampering they need. A very deserving winner.
I feel so shocked and overwhelmed to win. Thank you so much, I’m so very proud. The team will be so pleased. Terri-Jayne Taylor, managing director
BOUTIQUE SPA OF THE YEAR
WINNER The Falls Spa at Lodore Falls Hotel, Keswick
Having scooped the Midlands and North West Spa of the Year title, The Falls Spa was also the highest scoring regional winner with 10 treatment rooms or fewer, meaning it also won the prestigious national Boutique Spa of the Year title. Judges described the spa as having a strong customer-focused business philosophy and creative website design.
The Falls Spa philosophy centres around taking care of guests from the time of booking right through to their farewell, encouraging customers to take a breath and slow down in its beautiful destination, which overlooks the Derwentwater and Catbells in the Lake District.
The team works to create a sense of calm and serenity for all clients, and to deliver a standard of service that guests expect within the luxurious surroundings. The atmosphere is professional, friendly and approachable. Spa manager Davina Hassel says that winning this award is a fantastic testament to the professionalism, commitment and hard work of the team.
I’m so shocked, thank you so much. Thanks to my fabulous team, directors and management, without them and their support, we wouldn’t have been able to do this. Everybody from the top to the bottom, this is for them. Davina Hassel, spa manager
LARGE SPA OF THE YEAR
WINNER Aqua Sana Longleat Forest, Warminster
Judges described Aqua Sana Longleat Forest as “very impressive commercially”, with a creative design and clear guest focus.
Although the newest of Aqua Sana’s Forest Spas, Longlest delivers nothing short of excellence. Having scored the highest across all regional spa finalists with 11 treatment rooms or more, Aqua Sana Longleat Forest was the deserving winner of this national title.
Focusing on the natural setting of the site and the benefits it can bring, the forest sets the tone for the look and feel of the spa. Aqua Sana Longleat is located in the heart of nature, making it the perfect setting for guests to let go of the stress of daily life and embrace forest bathing. The team is passionate about the benefits of the spa and strive to make people feel at ease throughout their visit.
I’m over the moon. It’s been so great to finish this year with two awards and I can’t wait to share it with my team. Kadey English, manager
SOUTH EAST SPA OF THE YEAR
WINNER Aqua Sana Woburn Forest, Ampthill, Bedfordshire
Aqua Sana Woburn Forest is the home of two unique experiences: the sensory experience, which transports guests through the seasons via sounds, temperatures and projections, and a mineral room where salts are applied to the body, gently recharging and restoring clients physically and emotionally.
With more than 25 other spa experiences across six zones, Aqua Sana strives to deliver the highest standards possible, and views its therapy team as critical to the success of the luxury spa operation.
The team are encouraged to “surprise and delight” guests wherever they feel appropriate, without needing to seek management approval. They are also equipped with the skills required to offer an exceptional customer journey for clients through the bespoke training programme, “Delivering Excellent Service”. The programme is designed to empower everyone to consistently achieve the highest possible standards of guest care.
It’s an honour to collect this award on behalf of the team at Aqua Sana Woburn. It’s been a challenging year, but what an amazing way to finish 2020. I want to say thank you to the team for your hard work and customer service every day; we couldn’t have done it without you. Laura Freeman, manager
Brandshatch Place Hotel and Spa, Fawkham, Kent
Bulgari Spa London
Poppinghole Farm Spa, Robertsbridge, Sussex
Sequoia Spa at The Grove, Hertfordshire
NORTH EAST, SCOTLAND AND NORTHERN IRELAND SPA OF THE YEAR
WINNER The Spa at Galgorm, Ballymena
The Spa at Galgorm impressed judges across the board. In particular, its clear customer focus, skilled team and mission stood out. With the brand promise, “delighting every time”, Galgorm prides itself on attention to detail and excellent customer service at each touch point, from the initial phone call to aftercare and feedback from guests.
The spa illustrates its commitment to growing and nurturing the next generation of hospitality professionals through its one-year Spa Therapy Apprenticeship, where students earn as they learn, develop new skills and acquire knowledge with practical hands-on experience. All apprentices are offered a job within the spa upon successful completion, meaning that the Galgorm customer service philosophy and guest journey is ingrained from the beginning of the team’s journey.
The Spa at Galgorm aims to create a “sincere service” throughout. To inspire this in staff, the property ensures they feel happy and fulfilled in their roles, and are trained to be knowledgeable in their ability to fulfil the brand promise.
As you know, we are currently closed due to restrictions in Northern Ireland so it’s a little bitter-sweet that we are winning an award when our premises are shut. It’s been a tough year, but we are absolutely delighted. Tara Moore, head of spa operations
Rockliffe Hall, Darlington
Rudding Park, Harrogate
Serenity Spa at Seaham Hall, Seaham, Country Durham
Spa at Blythswood Square, Glasgow
MIDLANDS AND NORTH WEST SPA OF THE YEAR
With a heated outdoor infinity-edgy vitality pool, aroma steam room, herbal sauna and ice fountain, judges were blown away with The Falls Spa’s array of facilities and incredible location. The website and interactive map also impressed, with judges saying that it brilliantly gave the feeling of space and was easy to navigate.
The Falls Spa prides itself on providing a five-star service at every step of the spa journey, from the moment of booking to the day of the visit, ensuring that all guests enjoy a memorable experience. Each booking is handled by one member of the team, who calls the customer to talk them through the schedule of the day and discuss the choice of treatment. On arrival, guests sit down with a therapist to discuss their spa day and treatments and receive a full tour of the facilities before enjoying the experience to the full.
This means so much to me and my team in these very strange times. I speak for everybody when I say that we are a very strong industry, we’ve been great and we’ve been supporting each other, and that is what it is all about. Davina Hassel, spa manager
Aqua Sana Sherwood Forest, Newark, Nottinghamshire
Hoar Cross Hall, Burton on Trent, Staffordshire
Rena Spa at The Midland
The Spa at Armathwaite Hall, Keswick
SOUTH WEST AND WALES SPA OF THE YEAR
With an ice cave, sensory showers and Scandinavian snug, Aqua Sana Longleat has a huge range of facilities. The spa had a major makeover in January 2020, which saw all existing areas of the spa reworked, plus expansion to an upper floor and the addition of five extra heat and water experiences, bringing the total to 25.
Focusing its energy on ensuring everyone feels good in their body, Aqua Sana Longleat’s business philosophy is to create a comfortable and encouraging environment for guests to enjoy.
The spa’s retail strategy inspires guest to continue their treatment experience at home through expert and personal advice on products and treatment techniques. Retail areas are inviting, and guests are encouraged to sample products. Complimentary toners and cleansers are also offered at the spa entrance, which guests can trial throughout their stay and then purchase in the retail area. Aqua Sana also conducts daily seminars highlighting key products, and retail assistants are on hand to provide advice and tips.
It’s certainly been a challenging year, but it’s lovely to be back open again. I’m very proud of my team, so well done to them. Thank you for our award. Kadey English, manager
Buff Urban Day Spa, Taunton
Parc Spa, Llanelli
St Michaels Spa, Falmouth, Cornwall
The Spa at The Randolph, Oxford
SOUTH EAST SALON OF THE YEAR
With a rebrand in 2019, Amy Gordon Skin Clinic & Beauty Boutique has made great strides this past year. The rebrand saw the property move from a beauty salon to a skin clinic, resulting in an increase in customers taking advantage of advanced treatments.
As part of the rebrand, owner Amy Gordon expanded offerings in the clinic to include Dermalux Light Therapy/ Comcit Elite and Sterex advanced blemish removal. Gordon also adapted the brand’s marketing budget to encourage traffic to the skin clinic aspect of the company and created her own lash brand, which is now used exclusively in the boutique. Gordon is committed to helping her staff gain further qualifications, and recently took three of her therapists, as well as herself, through their Level 4 qualifications in anatomy and physiology, as well as microneedling.
Therapists are also taken to exhibitions and conferences to increase their business knowledge as well as practical skills.
Thanks so much; I cannot believe it. It’s been such a strange year for everyone. I’m so happy for my team because without them, nothing is possible. Amy Gordon, owner
Idyllic Beauty and Day Spa, Cranleigh, Surrey
Mimosa Beauty, Chelmsford, Essex
The Nail & Body Boutique, Reigate, Surrey
NORTH EAST, SCOTLAND AND NORTHERN IRELAND SALON OF THE YEAR
Beautifully designed in a Victorian building spanning five floors, Simpsons City Centre Champagne Nail and Beauty Salon lets clients escape from the busyness of Lincoln city centre. The salon aims to create a peaceful sanctuary for customers and impressed judges with its gorgeous interior and flower arrangements.
However, it’s not a case of style over substance and managing director Terri-Jayne Taylor ensures her team have the skills and knowledge to meet every possible customer need. Taylor has created the “WOW Factor Customer Journey” – a bespoke training programme taken by every new staff members during their induction to ensure they are confident in delivering exceptional service.
Taylor is aware of the business opportunities of online retail and has built an e-commerce shop accessible via the salon website. This allows customers to shop products conveniently even if they are not local or too busy to get to the salon.
This award means a lot after such a tough year and we are really proud. We’ve just opened a third location and it’s been difficult to get that off the ground this year, but the team has worked so hard and we couldn’t have done it without them. Terri-Jayne Taylor, managing director
All About You – Urban Beauty Retreat, Newcastle
The Gin Spa, Glasgow
MIDLANDS AND NORTH WEST SALON OF THE YEAR
WINNER VL Aesthetics, Carlisle
VL Aesthetics’s business philosophy is based around focusing on the customer’s needs, taking the time to ensure all the best options for them are explored. Before a treatment, all new customers receive a consultation with the residential skin expert, who uses a Visia machine to analyse skin in order to treat clients in the best possible way.
Research, data and feedback are incredibly important and VL Aesthetics uses them effectively to learn what the customer wants. As a result, the company moved away from being a beauty business and more towards an aestheticsled approach to meet demand.
Judges recognised VL Aesthetics’s customer care focus, commenting that the salon clearly prides itself on the full customer experience, from a complimentary skincare drink on arrival to inviting its most loyal customers to a launch party with an open bar and goodies. This hard work has helped to achieve growth at the company.
Thank you, I am so thankful to the other finalists as well. It’s not been an easy year for any of us, so even just to make it to this point says so much. Let’s keep going; 2021 will be a better year for all of us. Vanessa Brown, owner
Andrea Simpson – Facialist, Melbourne, Derbyshire
Hampton Clinic, Solihull
Renaissance Skincare & Beauty, Prescot, Merseyside
The Little Retreat Day Spa, Nottingham
SOUTH WEST AND WALES SALON OF THE YEAR
WINNER Utopia Beauty Salon, Abingdon
As a small team, Utopia Beauty Salon ensures every client has 100% personal attention during treatment. The salon aims to provide an unforgettable customer journey with heated Hydrotherm cushions on couches, memory foam pillows and blankets for relaxation.
All therapists are trained in oncology and pregnancy massage and are Masced accredited, meaning they can spot early signs of skin cancer. The salon continues to go out of its way to treat clients. In the past, the company temporarily amended insurance cover to treat clients at home who were terminally ill, and unable to continue to visit the premises. Utopia Beauty Salon also provides open evenings and educational events for clients all throughout the year.
Last year, Utopia concentrated on marketing videos to showcase treatments, as well as before-andafter pictures of therapists’ work. This proved popular and resulted in more bookings for these treatments, as well as a greater awareness of the salon.
I’m speechless; thank you to everyone. We’ve had our ups and downs but since coming back from the second lockdown, we are really busy. The team have all worked so hard, we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them, so thank you to the team. Nicola Atkins, owner
The Garden Room, Taunton
The Treatment Loft, Exeter
The Water’s Edge Retreat, Hayle