It’s been three years since the hair industry gathered for a dedicated weekend of hair and, judging by the energy in the room over two full days of Hair Festival, the excitement of that reunion and celebration was palpable. 4300 industry members walked through the doors of Carriageworks to check out the first ever Hair Festival and – only about 24 hours out from the event – we already can’t wait to do it all again.
Through June 12 and 13 – over the Queen’s Birthday long weekend as is the legacy of hair-focused weekends – it was two days all about the salon industry. The MarketPlace floor was more than the proverbial candy shop promised, it was a packed haven of every hair innovation. Attendees grabbed a hot drink at the Festival Hub, had their business questions answered at the Business Hub and checked out AREA Academy and their inspiring collaborations at the Barber Hub. Beyond that, a vast assortment of stands showcased everything from the latest in hair tools, products, extensions, supplements, uniforms, sustainability, education, media and so much more. Attendees left with handfuls of bags of the best and latest the hair market has to offer. Thank you to AMR for supplying portable basins, stools and barber chairs for the MarketPlace and Education Sessions.
“Hair Festival has truly positioned itself as the seminal event on the Hair Industry calendar and I’m so proud of our team who have worked tirelessly to create an experience to meet the needs of the community," shared Bethanie Tobin, Events & Operations Manager for the Intermedia Group. "Faced with the uncertainty of organising a significant event during a pandemic, there’s been an unbelievable amount of flexibility – we’re all very good at pivoting and thinking outside of the box in order to deliver a memorable event and the results speak for themselves."
"We welcomed over 4300 hairdressers, barbers and business owners to explore over 80 leading brands in the MarketPlace, three networking hubs, and multiple dedicated education rooms with a curated program from leading brands, energetic competitions, and a full-day business forum. The event was crowned by 1000 guests at a spectacular party overlooking the city’s skyline at the Australian National Maritime Museum," she continued. "An event of this size takes a full-year of planning and we’re already underway for 2023. Without revealing too much, we can certainly say that we’re raising the bar, again.”
Sunday was a day particularly dedicated to business elevation, as salon owners and managers learned from the REALTalk Business summit from morning until evening. Five panel presentations from industry leaders as well as keynote speaker presentations from MC Terry Hawkins, Phill Nosworthy and Australian Hairdressing Council CEO Sandy Chong delved into the state of the industry, leadership, customer service and a continuous thread and focus on sustainability. The worthwhile day had a multitude of key insights and takeaways to inspire salon leaders in their innovation, eco footprint, services and more.
The education didn’t stop there, taking over the rooms of Carriageworks on Sunday and especially Monday with 15 dedicated Festival Education Sessions, educating to full rooms of hundreds of hairdressers eager to learn and be inspired. From major brands to leading educators, artistic inspiration was front and centre, while business tips and industry knowledge were also in full force. Turning the stage into both a runway and salon with live hair cutting, styling and colour and true artistic creations, brands such as Piloroo, ANTI Collective, Showpony Professional, ghd, Dyson, Pivot Point, Excellent Edges, De Lorenzo, TONI&GUY, Piiq, Seamless1 and Area Academy inspired the crowd, and business sessions from Caitlyn Menzel Coaching, Elite Hair Education and The Sales Catalyst left them with important insights.
Wonderland was an unmissable event on Sunday night, becoming the unofficial overdue reunion of the hair industry as complemented by an open bar and boxtails, food trucks and installations, dance troupes, a live DJ and band, a 360 degree photobooth, photo wall and so many other festivities. We couldn’t have had more fun – check out more details here.
The competitions closed out the event, with an energetic showdown in four categories of editorial, men's hair, salon teams and colour on Monday afternoon, keeping the tradition of live hair competitions alive and well and highlighting the immense talent not just on the stages but on the floor.
“It was a true celebration of the hair industry and a great opportunity to bring all facets of the industry together for the long weekend," said Craig Hawtin-Butcher, publisher of INSTYLE and Styleicons. "The MarketPlace was bursting at the seams with energised visitors – across both days - while our REALtalk business forum day and the Education Sessions breakout rooms were such a great way to connect audiences with speakers to build new knowledge and connections. The atmosphere was electric at our showpiece Wonderland party, guests were still raving about it the next day.”
“We’ve had a real awareness how much the industry wanted this event to happen, readers and makers and do-ers have supported the occasion by coming, and we’re already well underway with planning for next year’s return of Hair Festival. Somehow we’ll have to be back even bigger and better than this year, but we’ll do it, I’m so excited about the possibilities for next year.”
INSTYLE and Styleicons were there all weekend, with our own stand showing off our new developments and the latest magazine – with the official Hair Festival guide inside – taking over the venue. We were also at Wonderland, REALTalk, in every Festival Education Session, the competitions and all around the MarketPlace, so look out for much more coverage in the coming days and weeks with everything we learned and loved over two huge and unforgettable days.
Hair Festival 2022 was worth the wait, a 48 hour beacon of all things hairdressing that reconnected the community as anchored by every facet of salon values – education, innovation, competition and connection. The long weekend of hair is officially back and we couldn’t be happier.
For more information visit www.hairfestival.com.au
Photography credit: Natalie Page - Oneill Photographics