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About the APAA National Industry Awards
Eager entrants and a cross-section of the professional beauty industry from across Australia attended this year’s Gala Dinner event for the AWARDS OF EXCELLENCE in Queensland. Guests were greeted to the sounds of classical guitars and the warm glow of a candle-lit room. On the stage golden Oscars prepared the mood against a glitter of a star-studded backdrop.
Earlier that day saw the first day of FOCUS ON BEAUTY EXPO where the industry attended a comprehensive educational program as well as visited the expo to view new products and equipment as exhibiting companies showcased the latest and the best the industry had to offer. And so that evening was a perfect opportunity for further networking in an elegant yet warm and friendly environment. The dynamic musical group Encore, whose extensive repertoire ranged from contemporary musical theatre to the soaring notes of classical opera, provided wonderful entertainment to complement the evening’s activities. And finally, the awards were presented in an atmosphere of excitement and celebration as the winners were announced.
THE OBJECTIVES OF THE AWARDS
The APAA Awards of Excellence have now been established for nine years. Each year the Association of Professional Aestheticians invites salons and spas across Australia to apply for an award recognition for their achievements in professional and business excellence. This event is also co-sponsored by industry providers who support the ideals of the APAA and who choose to generously contribute to the awards program.
The objective of these awards is to allow individuals, salons and spas to benchmark the various activities within their establishment against industry standards to determine where they stand. This activity in itself is a valuable exercise, as it requires of the salon to undertake an objective analysis of what they have in place, what they are doing well, and what areas needs further fine-tuning for greater productivity and efficiency. This is possible because within the Entrant’s Kit one will find specific questions that relate to the judging criteria. Entrants can walk through every question and map it up against the various areas of their salon’s operations. In essence, a salon has the opportunity to objectively evaluate for themselves where they stand.
While going through the process of self-evaluation, many entrants discover areas that they have not addressed and realise that they need more time to get everything to the required level as outlined within the judging criteria. For this reason they may chose to defer their entry until the following year.
On the other hand, it also allows them to identify and measure how much they have grown and what progress and achievements they have made through their current efforts and activities, which they may not have previously evaluated. This activity has been very reassuring for many salons and it has given them the confidence and encouragement to move to the next level. Winners gain so much, not only from the award that gives them excellent marketing publicity, but also through the process. It is therefore not uncommon that in the event that they have not won the award they were aiming for, for them to continue to work through the next year and re-enter. In fact, several winners are multi-award winners who have used the process as leverage to propel them to greater levels of achievement.
From a publicity point of view these awards offer excellent rewards. Each winner is given a MEDIA PRESS RELEASE and photographs from the night to send to their local newspaper and magazines for publishing. Coverage of this nature creates valuable community awareness and confidence to access this salon or spa for their treatments. Of course, internally the salon can utilise this information through their newsletter and brochures to their full advantage. The framed awards positioned in a strategic place within the salon further continue to work as a silent, yet powerful advertiser. Statistics of winners has revealed that over 80 per cent of the winners have doubled their business within two years of their winning.
As much as these awards are about achievement, they are also about attitude and process. Many winners may not have reached their full potential, but they have demonstrated commitment and a spirit of excellence in the way they approach their work. The accolade of winning an award, not from a business organisation, but from their own industry’s peers, has an enormous impact in supporting their motivation to continue with a newfound zest for further progress
For this reason these awards recognise several categories across the board to encourage the raising of standards at several levels. The categories for the APAA AWARDS OF EXCELLENCE are:
BEST SOLE PRACTITIONER
This category allows the individual to demonstrate what systems and protocols they have in place and how they operate their practice so that it meets the requirements of professional conduct and results.
ESTABLISHMENT MOST DEDICATED TO EDUCATION
This award looks for dedication and commitment to educational excellence and the implementation of new knowledge into the salon’s practices.
MOST INNOVATIVE ESTABLISHMENT IN MARKETING
A business cannot grow and progress without effective and innovative marketing strategies. This award looks for effective procedures and planning for a successful business practice
Everything we do needs to meet the needs and approval of our clients above and beyond standard expectations. This award allows the clients to nominate their salon and tell the judges what the services of this salon means to them. Judging is on the quality and quantity of the answers as well as possible random calling.
BEST NEW ESTABLISHMENT (less than two years)
This award allows new businesses to profile their activities and professional approach to their work for review. If they are to succeed in the long-term they must demonstrate how they are intending to achieve this. They must show evidence of effective policies and procedures that will support and sustain continued growth.
STUDENT OF THE YEAR
Colleges can nominate a student they believe has potential to be a high achiever within the industry. The college principal submits a written report and finalists must also undergo an interview by the judges. The winner is usually guaranteed employment.
THESIS OF THE YEAR
Students have the opportunity to submit a thesis on a particular topic that they have engaged in personal research. This submission must be comprehensive and professionally presented.
SERVICES TO THE INDUSTRY
Within any industry there are those who give of themselves and their knowledge above and
beyond the call of duty, just because they love what they do and value the progress of others. This category is open to the industry to send submissions and a report on individuals that they would like to see acknowledged and recognised for making a difference to their career and their success.
BEST SPA ESTABLISHMENT
The responsibilities of a spa establishment in running efficiently are usually involved and
complex. Without appropriate quality control mechanisms and effective systems in place it is very difficult to survive as a spa. Staff development is very critical and an on-going pursuit in maintaining uniform standards and ensuring clients are offered that little extra on a consistent basis is something consumers have come to expect when visiting a spa. Maintaining quality treatment standards that are executed to perfection, an exceptional ambience as well as introducing innovative services that are unique and recognised as a signature to that establishment’s spa experience are also paramount to their success and survival. This is a huge undertaking and indeed one who has achieved it deserves the accolade and recognition of their peers.
SALON OF THE YEAR
Being one of the top awards, the judging criteria for this award is rigorous. It requires the evidence of competencies very much across the board of all the salon’s activities. The judges also look for an entrepreneurial spirit and a passion for excellence in high standards of practice. This award does not necessarily go to the largest salon, though it may do so, but to the one that can demonstrate exceptional high-quality work and a strong professional attitude that can lead to the makings of a high achiever.
EMPLOYEE OF THE YEAR
Due to the demand of recognising staff members’ performance, a new award category has been introduced – EMPLOYEE OF THE YEAR. This category allows salons owners to nominate their top achiever for a national award.