In its fourth year, Brisbane’s Hair and Beauty culture has proved strong, with close to 7,000 salon professionals enlightened and engaged beneath the relaxed Brisbane vibe  the Brisbane Hair and Beauty Expo has become known for, writes Cameron Pine.

Underpinned by a strong army of local supporters as well as interstate guests, it’s this backyard spirit that continues to grow the Brisbane Hair and Beauty Expo year on year, and not just growth in numbers, but growth in collective industry spirit. Over an incredibly busy Sunday and a Monday on July 29 and 30, which gave attendees a little more room to soak up some one on one education for every type of salon, the event saw people come as far as regional Queensland, Northern NSW as well as interstate from major cities. Warmer than average weather and a general spirit of camaraderie left enthusiasm levels high for an event that celebrates all levels of the beauty and hair industries.

With more than 16 hours of concentrated education everywhere you looked, one of the most unique stands at the event was the lil’ off the top stand, an open plan style ‘look and learn’ floor that gave the entire expo access to a two day packed schedule of masterclasses and energetic learning like only lil’ off the top known how.

“We are brining education to the expo floor, by giving everyone at the show an insight into our Education classes. We want everyone to come together and have some fun, not behind closed doors,” said Kristian Tognini.

The other real drawcard was the significant amount of free stage education across several platforms – Centre Stage, Spotlight Stage, The Barbershop Stage, hair competitions, a nail and lash competition and business tips and education. There was something for everyone and a general approachability throughout the show giving guests the time and space to make true connections.

“The Brisbane show is great for us. My passion is showing my work and sharing models with guests and Brisbane allows me to showcase my products and skills in a free-thinking environment. People from everywhere come and touch and play with our creations and that’s what it’s all about,” Lorna Evans said.

Expo founder Jason Greenhalgh was actively engaging with exhibitors and guests all weekend, with continued enthusiasm about the event’s future potential and the relationship whereby brands want to be able to custom-build their expo experience.

“Once again, we are so appreciative of the industry support of the 2018 Brisbane Hair and Beauty Expo. They have voted with their feet as this industry event continues to go from strength to strength,” he said. “As Queensland’s premier hair and beauty event, we continue to look for new ways to take the event to the next level. We are already planning for 2019 and look forward to welcoming the industry once again with open arms.”

With significant growth in the River city there’s no reason Brisbane cannot play host to an exhibition that rivals some of our countries bigger cities, and with that as the end goal – the date is already set for the 2019 show over July 28 and 29. With the countries first W hotel property opening, an array of global leaders in hospitality, the sunshine and year round appeal of Brisbane continues to forge ahead.

Appreciative of the support and humbled by the community spirit in the industry, there was a true sense of selflessness throughout the education and at the stand level – thanks to some big names showing their support for the industry with an ego free platform. We even saw the often Redken supported stage leaders, Richard Kavanagh, Dimitri Papas and Justin Pace combine salon work, colour, styling, with high-end editorial for an invaluable trip through international trends.

With such a wide cross section of industry experts across a number of different causes from colour to classic hairdressing, it was hard to miss Lorna Evans, Rae Morris, Brad Ngata, Gay Wardle, Charlotte Ravet, Jules Tognini, Faye Murray and Nicole ‘Pinky’ Thompson. These illustrious names were all part of the Extended Education Program, which saw more than 500 people learn valuable techniques, skills and information across a variety of salon relevant topics from commercial to the creativity you’d expect to see at an international show. Providing an intimate up-close and personal style of learning where expo goers were able to truly interact with artists through every step of their presentations, feedback from guests was that they were thrilled to be able to ask questions and have proper dialogue with the stage talent.

The Expo’s expanded Sunshine Pro Series Competitions were once again a stunning feature on the Expo floor. Over 500 industry professionals competed in the Emendee Nail Competition, Pravana Hair Competition, Redken Brews Pro Barber Series Competition, LashJoy Lash Competition and the Crown Brush Makeup Competition. All these competitions provided industry peers the opportunity to test their skills and go head-to-head for great prizes and most importantly, the prestigious titles.

The inspiration and education continued across the Salon Cash Centre Stage, Timely Spotlight Stage and Horatio & Finn Barbershop Stage. Over 40 free presentations were incorporated into the all- inclusive entry ticket price and incentives for students meant Monday was all about the next generation of the industry.

If creative hairdressing wasn’t your crack, businesses was given a strong voice including up close conversations Oprah style with salon owners on the Timely Spotlight Stage, the Horatio and Finn Barbershop Stage and plenty of cause and passion to inspire a new style of business. Look Good Feel Better also took advantage of the highly engaged professionals with their incredible program of giving back to those less fortunate.

The Centre Stage provided immense talent in a range of different disciplines. This included showcases by local salons and artists Elysium Hair, Jack Horton Hair Boutique, Mia Connor, plus appearances by Avant Garde extraordinaire Shaun McGrath (presented by Unite) and an international master class by Sean Maloney MUA from the United Kingdom – bringing International talent to the Brisbane expo for the first time!

It’s safe to say the show had a strong element of balance, with donation based pamper treatments from Brisbane School of Hairdressing and Beauty and an easy to navigate floor plan. In total there were more than 88 companies on show from tanning to electricals, scissors, colour and styling. The event’s goal to reach 10,000 visitors by 2020 is firmly in sight.

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