Kitomba, NZARH & HITO 2011 Apprentice and Business Awards: the champagne, the glamour….and passion everywhere

You know that something special is in the air when the country’s most prominent salon owners, stylists and industry leaders gather to recognise the talent, sweat and tears in the hair industry.

The 2011 Kitomba, NZARH & HITO Business Awards delivered, the talent was exceptional and the evening was a great success all around. I was thrilled with the opportunity offered to me to judge the awards entrants so my anticipation of the evening started to mount weeks in advance. When the seemingly endless debates over who were going to be announced the winner in the respective categories ceased, my fellow judges and I could breathe again satisfied in the knowledge that we had chosen the best.

With a well rehearsed speech in my pocket, I was ready for an evening of glamour, champagne and incredible talent.

The event was held at the Auckland Museum where the room was decorated in a light, clean sophisticated way and a stage that was visible from all tables (an achievement that many other rooms don’t seem to be able to achieve). The light airy feeling of the room was the perfect introduction to what was a very slick award and show ceremony. One could almost touch the excitement and anticipation of all who attended.

With an awards ceremony broken up by the very skilful talent of the Hip Hop dancers and a sumptuous dinner service the crowd was not left to ponder things for too long. Just enough time elapsed between award presentations and the speakers mostly respected that we were here to celebrate the winners so kept their speeches to a minimum.

The ever charismatic Mana Dave gave a commendable performance as MC although there were some notable hiccups along the way, which he handled with aplomb and kept the audience entertained well.

The overall winner on the night was the awards themselves and if this is any indication of the standard of salon owners in New Zealand then the industry is in strong stead for the future.

The awards kicked off with the annual HITO (Hairdressing Industry Training Organisation) awards which recognise the talent of the new hairdressers entering our colourful industry – the apprentices. Erica Cumming (CEO) and her team can be extremely proud of what they presented and who they represent. HITO perform an important role in the development of the New Zealand Hair industry through their work with apprentices and salons. The enthusiasm and passion that Erica’s team showed on the night was shining through. Congratulations to all the HITO and World Skills award winners, awesome job!

On to the business awards after some more hip hop and dinner. Finalists were read out and winners announced for each of the different categories and thrilled winners came to the stage to accept their awards, each having a few words to say about their achievement with most thanking their team, partners, mothers and fathers and all commenting on how proud they were to be in the company of other finalists salons and of course not expecting to win. It’s such a thrill to see what it means to winners and just how humble they are when accepting their prize.

One noteworthy mention must come from the overall winning salon, Reds Hairdressing. The owner, Diana Beaufort, graciously offered to open her entry to anyone that may be interested to see how she achieved her winning results. A clear example why she was such a worthy winner and congratulations must go to her for sharing the secrets to success with her industry peers. As quoted in Images Magazine, Diana says she has a fantastic team of people working with her. “They are all committed to going the extra mile consistently and I’m committed to providing them with the tools, knowledge, and life skills to be successful in their own right. These awards are a great opportunity to closely scrutinize not just your business strengths but also the areas to improve for next time.”

Of course I would be remiss not to highlight the two awards that Shock Consult sponsored (Boutique Salon and Classic Salon of the year) and congratulations go to the winners of these, Do.Hairstyling, Christchurch and So You Hairdressing in Wellington. Congratulations to Mihi and Holly for awards well deserved. I am excited to be able to work with them as part of their prize.

One part of the evening I was particularly looking forward to, was hearing artist Dane Rumble sing a few of his songs. I was surprised then, that he didn’t sing at all! He just played the DJ role… Perhaps that’s what’s in vogue these days and so my (only slightly!) older understanding of these things could be a little behind the times. The constant thump and bang of the music was a fitting time for me to exit gracefully and leave the bump and grind to the younger, more appreciative audience.

Each of the awards presented during the evening recognised the passion and hard work of people in our industry. It is this undying passion that makes me confident to say that our finalists had the courage to pursue their dreams. I left after an exciting, fun filled night of celebration and pride. It was a tremendous success and I felt that my vision is shared with industry professionals who continue working hard to reposition the hairdressing industry as a respected profession where talent is recognised, nurtured and rewarded. And this is the type of journey I would not want to miss; I’m looking forward to next year’s awards already.

Sponsors of the Evening were… Kitomba, NZARH, HITO, Telecom, Schwarzkopf, Salon Business Coach

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