Entering industry awards and the benefits it has on your brand
Written by Nikki Atkins
Owner of EssexLash
Have you ever entered yourself or your business into an industry award category? If not, have a read of the following reasons why you should.
Why should you enter Awards?
Entering awards for the first time is an exciting opportunity for you and your business which can bring a range of advantages regardless of whether you actually win. Putting yourself forward for your first entry is a huge deal for some people. It can be full of emotion and it is only natural to start doubting why you are entering such a scary, daunting process. What you must remember though, is that every business had to start small before they could grow and whether your business is just starting out or firmly established, you can benefit from entering the right award.
Firstly, the PR opportunities that come with making an awards shortlist, or a win, means that your business will be in the spotlight for all the right reasons. As I experienced last year, being successful in beauty awards generated significant publicity and a constant source of traffic to my social media pages. In turn, that then opened doors to new contracts, opportunities and breaking into new markets such as my own branded lashes.
Reflecting and Evaluating
With an award, the application comes nerves, self-doubt, vulnerability and ultimately, the fear of not winning. However, it can make you look at your business from a different perspective and ensure that you stand out from the competition through innovation, growth, talent and customer service. The experience can actually be more valuable than winning the award itself as it makes you consider what you could do better and how to do it.
Attending the awards is not only a chance to network with like-minded people, but it is an opportunity to discuss business ideas with leaders in the industry. It is an excellent way to forge new relationships and potential partnerships for the future. Successful businesses like to work with other successful businesses. By demonstrating your credentials in a public awards ceremony, other awards entrants will look at you more favourably.
The awards will also allow you to benchmark yourself against other similar businesses and reflect on what makes your customers pick you over other businesses in your industry. Use it as a way to position yourself against the competition and ask yourself, ‘Who are your audience more likely to use if you’re THE award-winning business in your sector?'
Morale & Recognition
In 2018, I was fortunate enough to be awarded 'Regional Winner' as well as 'Overall Winner' for 'Lash Specialist of the Year' at the Official Make-Up Awards. Not only was this an extremely proud moment for myself, but it was recognition for the whole team at Essex Lash. There was a boost to staff morale, and knowing that they had all contributed to winning the award was a great motivator for the team to continue to perform. A couple of months later, I had the confidence to enter The British Beauty Awards where I was awarded third place for 'Lash Specialist of the Year'. For me, it was not only about publicly reinforcing the expertise and skill that EssexLash brings to the beauty industry, but it was the recognition of our hard work and continued innovation.
There are multiple lash competition events held all over the world so keep an eye out on social media and the internet. Always read the criteria before entering to ensure that you are competing at your own skill level. Remember, you can enter more than one category to keep your chances high. Be brave, be confident in your abilities, put your business in front of a judging panel and show off your work because the best person at flying your flag is YOU. I’ve seen the benefit of being shortlisted and winning awards, so I’d love to encourage you to take the step if you are thinking about it. Raising your profile whilst enhancing customer retention and loyalty is what should be at the forefront of your mind. Trust me, entering awards can be good for business!
The importance of training and continuing your professional development
From an early age, my motto has always been, 'Knowledge is the key that unlocks all doors', and I honestly believe that I should never stop learning, especially when it comes down to my craft and my business. No matter how far you have come, no matter how much your business has grown or the number of awards you have won, there is always more to learn. In an industry that is ever-changing, there is no room for complacency even if you're happy with where you are. Clients will always be looking for the next best thing and the newest celebrity craze. By investing in training, you are investing in the continued success of your lash business.
Initially, this begins with you. Keeping up to date with lash industry knowledge, new treatments and best practice is vital for you as an artist. Achieving qualifications, attending industry events or manufacturers’ training are all good ways for you to develop your skills and propel your business forward. However, don't lose sight of the bigger picture. Training should be an ongoing priority for everyone in your lash salon.
Your staff needs the skills, knowledge, and experience gained through continued learning and development activities also. Not only will your employees feel valued, but it will reduce employee turnover and create a pool of employees ready for more senior roles. In turn, it will give your employees a wider understanding of your lash business and can also help to tackle workplace issues, such as a member of your team who is struggling with a particular skill or task.
Essentially, it is imperative to keep up to date with the latest skills, techniques, developments, products, and technology in order to deliver a professional and unique service to your clients. If you want to encourage job satisfaction amongst staff and higher performance in your lash work, then try opening up to new possibilities, new initiatives and most importantly, new knowledge. You'll be surprised at how inspiring and fun a training course can actually be! The passion and motivation that you will instantly feel when learning a new technique or exploring lashing from a different perspective, is key to your growth as an artist. I am a firm believer in lifelong learning so remember, 'if you stay interested then you'll stay interesting'.
Thank you, Nikki, for this insightful blog. We hope it inspires others to enter into a lash industry awards category.