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Even in the face of adversity this year, Berkhamsted-based Alchemy & I has not only weathered the storm but has been recognised as a finalist in no less than four categories in HJ’s British Hairdressing Business Awards 2020.

The salon, which is spearheaded by owner Haylee Benton, has secured a finalist place in the following categories:

  • Customer Service Award
  • Independent – Business Newcomer of the Year
  • Manager of the Year
  • Salon Design Award

Salon manager Sean Butt is in the running to win the Manager of the Year award, sponsored by Kao Salon Division. The category celebrates the top six UK salon managers who lead, inspire and motivate a single salon. Sean impressed a host of industry judges with his outstanding management skills, ability to make a team feel valued and inspired, all flavoured with a unique leadership style.

The Independent Salon Business – Newcomer of the Year award, recognises the top six British hairdressing entrepreneurs who have made their business dream a reality and launched a successful salon. The category is open to owners of newly established independent salons which are less than two years old.

The Customer Service award, sponsored by Schwarzkopf Professional, recognises salons that create an outstanding customer journey. Alchemy & I earned this top industry badge of honour thanks to its brilliant way of meeting client needs, evaluating working methods and crafting an amazing customer experience prior to and during lockdown.

The salon has also been recognised for its excellent interior design and is one of just eight UK hair businesses in the running to win the Salon Design award, sponsored by Takara Belmont UK, a category celebrating a redesigned or new salon that has been trading for less than six months by the end of June 2020.

HJ’s British Hairdressing Business Awards, now in its 22nd year, promote professionalism, innovation and excellence, while recognising those individuals and teams who work tirelessly to raise the profile of the hairdressing industry and make it attractive to new entrants while keeping it at the forefront of the mind of the consumer.

Commenting on the announcement, Jayne Lewis-Orr, executive director of HJ’s British Hairdressing Business Awards said; “This year has required hair salon owners to adapt, think creatively and showcase tremendous amounts of resilience. I can only imagine how nerve wrecking the last few months have been, but to be named as a finalist in multiple categories, shows just how exceptional Alchemy & I is. We wish them the best of luck.”

On hearing of their success, manager Sean Butt says: “This year has certainly tested the hair industry to its limits and my business has faced challenges I never imagined I’d see. As a salon manager, I’ve become used to adapting, taking risks, seeing what works and re-evaluating for the benefit of my business, and these skills have certainly helped me to weather the storm in the last few months.  To be named as a finalist feels wonderful. These awards prove to me that hairdressers are strong and resilient. We are survivors.

“I wouldn’t have been able to achieve this recognition without the support of my brilliant team who have stood beside me with incredible enthusiasm and commitment.”

Alchemy & I will find out if it has achieved the top spot at an awards evening on Monday 25th January at the London Hilton on Park Lane.

Currently there are now more than 43,000 hair and beauty businesses in the UK, following a 45% increase over the past five years. It is reported that hair and beauty businesses also have higher survival rates after five years than many other sectors. It’s easy to see why the appointment books of UK salons are now full for the next few months following the nationwide lockdown and it is clear that the value of a professional service is held in high regard.