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Salon Only Stylist Award winner

The Salon Only Stylist Awards has unearthed Australia’s top stylist as voted by a panel of judges, clients and the community, with Mary Alamein triumphing over thousands of entries in the 2009 competition.

The Salon Only Stylist Awards encouraged stylists from across the country to create an online portfolio of their work ‘as it happened’ in the salon for their chance to be voted Australia’s leading Stylist.

From February 1 to May 3, Salon Only provided the platform for stylists to upload their profile picture and present their best ‘real hairdressing’ styles for the public and judging panel to vote. Every vote increased the entrant’s chance to win – aided by the judging panel’s expertise. The panel included SO Salon Owner Luke Boffa, INSTYLE magazine Editor Cameron Pine, Polkadot PR Publicist Dionne Taylor and Beauty Editor Katrina Lawrence.

Mary is the owner and head stylist at Castle Hill’s Royal Hairdressing and was selected as the winner, after becoming one of 12 finalists.

As the winner of the coveted, SO Stylist of the Year title, Mary received a travel voucher to the value of $2,500, press coverage in INSTYLE magazine and also a spot in the SO Stylist of the Year 2010 calendar. She will also receive promotional merchandise and a large poster of her professional photoshoot to display in her salon.

Mary has been hairdressing for almost 9 years, beginning at a very young age Mary has “always loved hairdressing, I started so young I remember cutting my dad’s hair when I was a kid,” she said.

Mary first set foot in a professional salon when she began working for her sister at ‘Hair By Nivine’ in Bondi Junction, gaining experience at a younger age than a first year apprentice.

“I have always enjoyed shopping centre salons because of the traffic and the exposure you get and your salon can never look dated – you have to keep up. I have never been worried that there are a lot of salons in the area. You just need to focus on what you are doing with your clients and have a point of difference. At Royals hairdressing we have really high standards and constantly aim for more,” Mary said.

“I also had a few of my staff enter the competition – I always encourage them to enter competitions where possible and aim for the top. I’m really passionate about hair and want that passion to come out in my work and for my staff to share it too,” she said.

Mary’s model involved lots of colour correction – taking her from a brunette to a blonde with lots of foils and highlights to create the variation in colour. “My model was a regular client in the salon and she just had the right look for what I wanted to achieve. I knew she’d look great with big hair,” she said.

Mary has always been a fan of waves, curls and big voluminous hair, “I was inspired by the current fashion trend for big hair and wanted to create something that was big and had a wow factor. I love having the opportunity to get really creative with editorial competitions where a different side of hairdressing comes out. With editorial work you can go all out but still create something that is appealing to your clients,” Mary said.

Mary also says the response from her clients since she has won the award has been exceptional, “Clients are really happy coming to a salon that is recognised for its efforts. We were also a finalist in the Salon Only Stylist Awards for 2008, won the Reader’s Choice True Local Business Awards in 2008 and also received the ‘Best Service’ Award in our shopping centre – Castle Towers,” she said.

To be up against so many other business in the local area, the team’s commitment to further exceed is evident and they love the sustainable approach Salon Only brings to the business.

“I love that Salon Only is refillable and this environmentally friendly aspect is a good point of difference in the centre for us – it helps us to promote the product when there’s a good story behind it. Especially now in the current financial climate clients are understanding that they can save a bit of money while still receiving a high-quality product – Salon Only leaves the hair feeling and looking great.”

The minimum requirement was to submit two photographs including one model with two looks, which were then scrutinised by the Australian public. Mary Alamein puts her money where her mouth it it seems – impressing clients, the local community and now Salon Only and the judging panel. Congratulations to Mary for becoming one of Australia’s Top Stylists!

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