INSTYLE sat down with industry leaders to connect with some of the many messages and achievements Hair Expo has cultivated over the years. Is there anything we don’t know already know and love about Expo? Plenty, as was discovered at the INSTYLE x Hair Expo Roundtable.

Hair Expo is an annual, three-day extravaganza that brings together the best brands and products from the hairdressing industry. Rounded off with world-class education and featuring the best local and international talent over the June long weekend, it’s an affair that is locked into the calendars well in advance for all serious hair lovers.

This year, it will be held at the International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC Sydney), starting on June 8. In anticipation to the lead-up of the jam-packed long weekend, INSTYLE and Hair Expo held a roundtable with some of the icons of our industry.

The general consensus was that Hair Expo always was, and continues to be, the number one source of networking and inspiration for apprentices and experts alike.

See what our participants had to say about how Hair Expo has helped shape their careers.


Sharon Blain – A warded long hair artist and Hair Expo Hall of Fame inductee

Sandy Chong – CEO and board director of the Australian Hairdressing Council

Emiliano Vitale – é Salon creative director

Gary Latham – Director and co-founder of Wild Life Hair

Jules Tognini – Togninis Global and Lil’ Off The Top creative director

Kristian Tognini  Director and co-founder of Joebloe & Josiebloe, Director of Togninis Global / liloffthetop, general manager Togninis

Mia De Vries, Owner The Fox & The Hair

Katy Reeve -National creative director and head of varder Toni & Guy Australia

Dennis Langford –   Managing director at Toni & Guy Australia

Richard Kavanagh – Co-CEO at piiq Digital

Kobi Bokshish  – Co-owner at Ecoheads and salon director at Intershape Hairstylists

Wendy Blair  – L and D manager and facilitator

Why Hair Expo is the must-visit event for everyone in the hair industry:

“What was great about today is just sitting around and talking with like-minded people. And talking about what’s inspired us about Hair Expo over the years, but also talking a little about where the future’s going, not forgetting about today and where we are now. And, that’s the key into that Hair Expo, and what I love about Hair Expo is the inspiration, the motivation, but also the education that we get. As a community coming together, and spending time together, and you walk away so inspired to just back into your business to make a better tomorrow, today. I think that’s what I love about Hair Expo the most, it really gives us the tools for today. And that’s the key that I love.” Emiliano Vitale

“What I love about Hair Expo is the fact that anyone and everybody can attend and have the most amazing time. Hair Expo covers everything that there is to cover, whether it’s hair dressing, whether it’s barbing, whether it’s styling, and whether it’s business. It covers all education, and it covers everything that you need to know or you’re looking for, as far as products, equipment, etc. Hair Expo is the place to be in a long weekend in June. I think what was really great about today’s discussion about Hair Expo was hearing what everybody really wants to see, and also what they want to experience, which Hair Expo actually do deliver really well already.” Sandy Chong

“The benefits of attending Hair Expo, obviously fantastic for your skills, you learn so much education wise, fantastic for your business, there’s so much business education happening, and the other thing is it’s awesome for networking. You can see your peers. You can see your heroes. You can see your idols, and you’re all together as one community.”  Kristian Tognini

“Today we got to meet with the minds of the education world, thanks to INSTYLE and Hair Expo. I’ve been at every Hair Expo since I was 12, and I believe it’s one of the greatest, greatest things of the year. I definitely look forward to it every year. It’s about hanging out with all my friends in the hair world. Pushing, you know, a lot of your egos and work aside, and really getting to hanging out with mates, and getting to jam as an industry that we are. Our industry is very unique in a sense that, you know we all do love each other. We all are very supportive of each other, but I think we need each other to help this industry grow.” Jules Tognini

“The advice I would give a young hairdresser entering the awards is to really take time to actually look at what the award’s all about. Particularly if you’re needing to fill out a submission, making sure you are able to fill out a submission out well. And I would also suggest contacting people that have won awards, and maybe picking their brain about a few things that would be useful  to them.” Sharon Blain

“The benefit of attending Hair Expo as a hairdresser is being kept up to date with everything that’s happening, and keeping your finger on the pulse.” Mia De Vries

“Hair Expo is the home and the heart of Australian hairdressing.” Gary Latham

“I met everybody I know in the industry though Hair Expo. It’s the time to celebrate greatness and success – and even the hardships – we celebrate everything  over the course of the weekend.” Kobi Bokshish

The importance of awards:

“Winning a Hair Expo award has had actually quite remarkable impact on my career. Particularly from an education point of view, and an industry connection point of view. I mean, coming from New Zealand, and having the opportunity to win Australian Session Stylist of the Year, actually twice now, meant that I became recognised in the Australian industry as much as I was in New Zealand, and it really elevated my game for me. It was amazing actually.” Richard Kavanagh

“Winning a Hair Expo award has been remarkable for me. I guess it’s giving me that impetus to keep going after 54 years. I think the opportunity to be able to sort of benchmark yourself against the rest of the industry is quite remarkable, and Hair Expo offers that platform, which is absolutely amazing.” Sharon Blain

“The Hair Expo awards have been good to me. I’ve got seven of them, and I never really thought, I’m used to cleaning my father’s trophies as a young kid, when I first started my apprenticeship. And I never thought that day would come where I would ask him to clean mine. But honestly, actually it has put me on the stage to, kind of relay my message out through the hair dressing world as well. Definitely I wouldn’t say I could be where I am today without having won awards and put my name out there. I still continue to enter. I think it’s a really good way to earn exposure to our industry, but I don’t think I will, part of me gets told to stop every now and then. But it’s one of those things, which is, puts you in perspective and gives you a reality check every year. I think as long as it means a lot to me, I will keep on entering.”  Jules Tognini

Three words to describe Hair Expo:

“Three words to describe Hair Expo – outrageous community spirit.” Richard Kavanagh

“Hair Expo in three words – community, good times, and beverages. That’s not the right word to say, but it is a good time. I think that party aspect is definitely something that hairdressers all love, letting their hair down. Pardon the pun.” Jules Tognini

“Exciting, inspiring, and fun.” Mia De Vries

“My three words to explain a bit about Hair Expo is it’s super energetic, it’s absolutely inspirational, and it’s very, very much about collaboration.” Katy Reeve

“Hair Expo in three words. I’m going to say, enlightening, fun, and hungover.”  Kristian Tognini

“Hair Expo in three words. Friendship, fun, and great education.” Sharon Blain

Why education is key:

“What I’m looking forward to the most about expo this year is the collaboration. What I love is actually meeting all the other artists, getting to chat everything education, and just getting to have a little bit of fun with a few wines in our hands, the best thing that hairdressers do.” Katy Reeve

“I’m really looking forward to seeing Jen Atkin at Hair Expo. I can’t wait to see Jen Atkin at Hair Expo.” Mia De Vries

“Education is very dear to my heart, and I think education is at the forefront of everything we do. You stop learning and you’re dead.  As a ripe old man told me once, ‘I believe that keeping on pushing the education, and keeping on always learning is unbelievable.’ I have very many fond memories of Hair Expo. Most of them with my father from a young age. Hair Expo has been dead set amazing for me, and I still put at the forefront as one of the best things of the year. 2019 is gonna be, I think, better than ever, so make sure you’re all there.” Jules Tognini

“I’m most excited to see this year, once again, love the talks on the summit.  I think it’s, for a business owner I think it’s fabulous to go and see. I’m really looking forward to seeing the top ones coming out to educate, not only myself, but also my staff.”  Kristian Tognini

“What I love about Hair Expo is the excitement and buzz of the floor –  it’s the whole atmosphere over the weekend. It’s the education that you get from interacting with like-minded people. I love walking around and meeting people and talking to people.” Kobi Bokshish

“There are some incredible presenters at Hair Expo. The best ones are the ones that appreciate the opportunity and are humble to the audience – you have to have a true respect for the audience to be a great presenter.” Dennis Langford.