THIS IS THE NEW STANDARD FOR SUSTAINABLE HAIR EXTENSIONS

THIS IS THE NEW STANDARD FOR SUSTAINABLE HAIR EXTENSIONS

THIS IS THE NEW STANDARD FOR SUSTAINABLE HAIR EXTENSIONS

Promotion – Great Lengths

As an industry it’s paramount that we work towards more sustainable practices. Bringing a new approach to hair extensions, Great Lengths has achieved B-Corp certification.

Great Lengths models

When it comes to sustainability, it goes beyond Earth Month. As an industry, it’s vital we all do our bit, all year round, to work towards a more sustainable future for everyone. Very few brands and businesses are awarded B Corp certification, and Great Lengths is the first of its kind in the hair extensions market.  

Following years of consistent, sustainable practices across the brand, Great Lengths has become the first extensions brand to have been awarded B Corp certification across the globe. This Earth Month, the Italian brand is shining light on its continued consideration for environmental and social responsibilities that have been part of its agenda for some time, with measures put in place more than 10 years ago which focus on care for both people and the planet by working towards a circular economy.

The B Corp certification recognises the efforts Great Lengths has made to be more inclusive at all levels, from the welfare of its employees and the trust of its consumers to working towards reducing the beauty footprint of the entire production chain. As one of the world’s leading names in human hair extensions, Great Lengths strives to use its influence for good and encourage others to consider the differences they can make.  

“Working with B Corp brands such as Great Lengths is incredibly important to us,” says Susan Collins, owner of, B Corp certified salon Home of Hair, in County Wicklow in Ireland. “We actively seek out suppliers that are committed to the wellbeing of people and the planet, as we know those that have achieved B Corp status have exceptionally high standards of practise.”

Great Lengths

‘Perception’ by Great Lengths

Great Lengths

She adds: “Being a certified B Corp is confirmation that a company is fully transparent and has made ethical choices. This is a very easy sell to a client – if they’re sitting in your chair, they have already decided to spend that little bit extra, but they also know that there are no shady or grey areas in the product they’re investing in. Working with B Corp certified suppliers means that you don’t have to deep dive into everything to make sure they align with your company ethos and practices.” 

Great Lengths offers a circular, transparent chain with its hair. Ethical sourcing of hair is fundamental to the brand philosophy, and it prides itself on the strict processes and measures that ensure both the quality and ethicality of the hair. All hair is sourced from Indian temples, where it is voluntarily donated during a ritual known as ‘tonsuring’. Each strand is given willingly and with full consent, and revenue generated is fed back into the local community. 

In its continued effort to strive for sustainable practices, Great Lengths also has a global partnership with The Little Princess Trust and offers a donation scheme in more than 1,500 salons in the UK and Ireland and more than 60 countries worldwide. The scheme gives clients who use extensions the opportunity to change lives. When their extensions are removed, clients can choose to donate them to the charity to make into real hair wigs, which are provided free to children and young people who have lost their own hair through cancer treatment or other conditions. It costs nothing to be involved and is an impactful way for a salon to give back and reduce waste. Shorter hair extensions which are unsuitable for donation to the Little Princess Trust partnership are recycled in the same way as natural hair clippings.  

To find out more about Great Lengths and its efforts towards sustainability, head to greatlengths.com. 

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FIVE TIPS FOR MASTERING YOUR MOST WANTED AND IT LIST ENTRIES

FIVE TIPS FOR MASTERING YOUR MOST WANTED AND IT LIST ENTRIES

FIVE TIPS FOR MASTERING YOUR MOST WANTED AND IT LIST ENTRIES

Some handy hints to support your bid for success in this year’s Most Wanted and It List Awards. 

MWIT Judge 23

Tommy Cunliffe, 2023 judge

We know you’ve got this, but we also know it takes a lot of time, energy and focus to compile an awards entry, so a bit of guidance to keep you on track can only help, right? The following five tips have been gathered from years of experience running the competitions, together with feedback from our judges, so we reckon they’re worth a look. Now, go forth – and go get those Most Wanted and It List trophies!

1. Get to grips with what’s needed first 

Once you’ve chosen the category or categories you’re entering, really take time to understand what the criteria is asking for. Not only is it vital to hit all the asks to be eligible for the next phase, but our judges refer to the criteria while they’re evaluating each submission, deciding who has met the brief brilliantly. They can be a great guiding tool in setting out a clear framework for your submission. 

2. Pack in personality 

Think about what sets you apart from your peers. How can you give the judges a sense of who you really are? What is the unique story you want to tell? Inject tonnes of personality into your entry – including within the language you use, the imagery you include, and the stories you’re sharing. This will all help to ensure what you put forward is as authentic to you as possible.

3. Share learnings as well as successes 

The Most Wanted and It List awards are about your journey, not just a small snapshot in time. It’s as important to include how you got to where you are now, as it is to talk about your present situation and future focuses. Don’t be afraid to include learnings alongside successes, judges love to hear how you overcame obstacles and used the experience to fuel your fire! 

4. Show variety
Demonstrate the breadth of your brilliance! If you’re entering a creative category, have you shown a wealth of different work and skills at play, for example a variety of styles/techniques on a diverse range of people. If it’s a business category, have you shared a good balance of what you offer and achieve? Absolutely shout about your key strengths but consider the full scope of what you offer within your craft too. 

5. Leave time for reflection 

You may feel time is on your side right now, but don’t be fooled! You’ve got a lot of awesomeness to sift through and assemble, so make sure you build in enough time to review your entry, make any revisions, and get it uploaded in time for the deadline.

That’s it! Five handy hints to help you on your way, may it be fun and fruitful, good luck! 

It’s free to enter the Most Wanted and the It List 2024. Entries must be submitted no later than 9pm on Monday 20 May. For category lists and entry instructions, click here for Most Wanted and here for the It List. 

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YOU’VE GOT YOUR APPRENTICE – THIS WILL HELP YOU KEEP THEM

YOU’VE GOT YOUR APPRENTICE – THIS WILL HELP YOU KEEP THEM

YOU'VE GOT YOUR APPRENTICE – THIS WILL HELP YOU KEEP THEM

Three salon employers share what you need to ensure that once you have an apprentice, they’ll stay and they’ll flourish.

F&M Hairdressing team Glasgow

Brian MacMillan and the F&M Hairdressing team

Getting them in the door is hard enough, but keeping apprentices is a tough challenge too… and you might need to take a new approach. As part of National Careers Week and Scottish Apprenticeship Week, we’ve teamed up with The Industry – the CIC showcasing the brilliant opportunities for a life in hairdressing – to see what essentials tips this selection of Scottish salon employers are sharing. 

Make them feel supported and part of the (salon) family 

“There is a massive focus on mental health these days, and ensuring your team members are in the right head space and not riddled with anxiety over exams,” explains Philip Bell, creative director at Ishoka, Aberdeen. Philip meets with apprentices individually every Tuesday to discuss how they are doing in their work life, personal life and training programme. A personalised plan is then created for each apprentice that aims to resolve any personal or professional issues that may have been raised. He adds: “Team days out are also a great way to make them feel like part of the family. We love letting apprentices take part in any activities such as photoshoots or stage work at industry events and attending awards ceremonies – this gives your apprentices a great insight into what the future may hold for them.” 

At F&M Hairdressing, co-founder Brian MacMillan makes sure that EVERYONE on the team spends time with the newbies to make them feel at home. “I am a firm believer that apprenticeships are more than just education; it’s about working together to achieve their goals,” he explains. “They are introduced to the wider team and will spend time with each of our senior team members in order to begin to build a relationship and feel settled in.” 

Phillip Bell Ishoka

Phillip Bell mentoring at Ishoka, Aberdeen

Jason and Josh Miller with trainees

Jason and Josh Miller with Charlie Miller graduates

Show them what you have planned… and keep in touch 

Managing continuous communication through briefings, mentorships, and regular meetings is essential to their personal and professional growth and stability, says Jason Miller, managing director at Charlie Miller salons in Edinburgh. “Each trainee follows our ‘Learning Timeline’ which begins in their first week and follows them throughout their career; this gives them and their manager clarity on their progress, sets expectations and ultimately, helps them develop their emotional intelligence.” 

When an apprentice joins F&M Hairdressing, co-founder Brian MacMillan sits down with them to create an individual plan. “This allows us to work at a pace they are comfortable with and ensure they meet their goals in a timely but high standard manner,” he explains. “Once their programme has begun, we check in weekly then hold a quarterly session where we review the journey planner. Communication is vital, and monitoring progress at every opportunity is key.” 

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APPRENTICES ARE A RARE BREED – THIS IS HOW YOU FIND THEM

APPRENTICES ARE A RARE BREED – THIS IS HOW YOU FIND THEM

APPRENTICES ARE A RARE BREED – THIS IS HOW YOU FIND THEM

You want to train tomorrow’s talent, but new blood is hard to find. Salon owners making it work for them share their seven secrets.

Brian MacMillan, Justin Mackland, Josh Miller

Brian MacMillan, F&M Hairdressing, Glasgow. Justin Mackland, Ishoka, Aberdeen. Josh Miller, Charlie Miller, Edinburgh

If you’re a salon employer, you know just how tough it is to entice apprentices into hairdressing and barbering, with apprenticeship starts at a scary low. So, just how can you attract the next generation? With National Careers Week and Scottish Apprenticeship Week hitting this week, we’ve teamed up with The Industry – the CIC showcasing the brilliant opportunities that careers in hairdressing can bring – to help you find those talents of tomorrow.  

 

Speak to them where they live – on social media 

“Before applying for an apprenticeship, Gen Z’s will likely scope a hairdressing business out first on. social media, so it’s more important than ever to be active and current and on as many platforms as possible,” explains Josh Miller, managing director at Charlie Miller salons in Edinburgh. “Social media is the shop window to reach young people and helps them immediately see who we are as a company, what we believe in and what career opportunities are available. We try to make it easy for someone who is interested to get in touch.” 

 

Show off how much fun you’re having! 

“We live in a world where everyone is on their phones, so by creating fun, effective content you will attract the up-and-coming into your salon,” says Justin Mackland, stylist at Ishoka in Aberdeen. “An industry that is not familiar is daunting, so ensure you really grab the essence of how amazing your team are and how fantastic the salon is.” 

 

Get in with your local schools… and be approachable 

“We’re aware that being a luxury salon can be intimidating to teens; getting out into schools and becoming familiar figures in the community can really help to bridge that. Making connections early on and being open and honest about what to expect has garnered lots of interest,” says Josh Miller. “We are building a strong presence in local schools, and currently have a relationship with DYW (Developing the Young Workforce) in Edinburgh & The Lothians. This enables us to talk directly to interested pupils about pathways into the industry.”  

Phillip Bell, Ishoka, Aberdeen

Phillip Bell, Ishoka, Aberdeen

Jenni Gibb, Charlie Miller, Edinburgh

Jenni Gibb, Charlie Miller, Edinburgh

Share the success stories – so potential recruits can see what’s possible 

“We ensure that we shout about the success stories we pride ourselves on,” says Brian MacMillan of F&M Hairdressing in Glasgow. “It’s important for us to continue to showcase our offerings, the industry opportunities and the different paths available to attract a new generation of apprentices.” 

 

Know what makes them tick… and support their journey 

“As a mentor, ensuring your apprentices are up to date with where they are at with their training is essential,” says Philip Bell, creative director at Ishoka. “Spend time with your apprentices and find out what makes them tick in hairdressing.” 

 

The next gen wants to know who they’re working for – be transparent 

“These days, potential employees want to know about your values, who you are as a company, and what you stand for,” says Jenni Gibb, wellbeing & development manager at Charlie Miller salons. “They’re asking things like: “Is there a mental health policy? What is being done to reduce the carbon footprint? What’s the workplace wellbeing like?” 

 

Not everyone learns the same – show you’re cool with that! 

“We are currently training our management on neurodivergence awareness, to give as much support to our neurodivergent staff as possible,” says Jenni Gibb. “The emphasis is on ‘differences’ not ‘difficulties’. It may mean we need to change our approach when teaching, or that our employee may use out-of-the-box thinking when they learn. Coupled with this, we have an in-house mental health support team, who are available to all staff.” 

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TRAUMA-DUMPING IS REAL AND HERE’S HOW TO COPE

TRAUMA-DUMPING IS REAL AND HERE’S HOW TO COPE

LEARN TO THINK DIFFERENTLY

Feeling overwhelmed? A new book will help you reconnect with life – and it’s been written with neurodiversity in mind.

How to love and be loved book cover
‘How to Love and Be Loved – Tiny steps to connecting with love and life’ book cover
How to love and be loved book illustration
Ink drawing illustrations of Indigo Violet by Mikyla Limpkin
When it comes to offloading emotional distress, hairdressers are out there on the frontline, listening to the stories, dispatching compassion, sharing love and all for the price of a cut and blow-dry. Customer conversations can be emotionally exhausting and sometimes so painful that they leave you lost for words in the moment and stuck with sadness long after the customer has left your chair. Where do you park this pain? How do you stay afloat? Who nurtures your needs?  

A new book, ‘How to Love and Be Loved’ is a step by step guide to re-connecting with life and rediscovering a love for life. “I have met so many people struggling with feelings of overwhelm and isolation,” says its author Mikyla Limpkin.” I want to help make their lives better. My lived experience led me to research so much that could help people, that I had to find a way to share the knowledge.”  

‘How to Love and Be Loved’ was designed with neurodiversity in mind and follows guidelines from the British Dyslexia Association in its layout, font and page colour. Short chapters and sub-chapters make reading easier for anyone with concentration issues, whether as a result of ADHD, stress or depression, and the key messages are illustrated to help visual learners alongside lots of opportunities for hands-on learning. With an estimated 55 per cent of hairdressers having either been diagnosed with, or related to, a neurodiversity such as dyslexia, autism or ADHD, ‘How to Love and Be Loved’ is particularly relevant within our industry. 

“I designed a book that is easy to read and could be scribbled in, where you could join a voyage of wellbeing, see the science behind various techniques, test them yourself and record what works for you,” says Mikyla.

Mikyla was determined to make the book beautiful and uplifting, which is where Indigo Violet came in. “She’s a character I drew in ink, who turned out to be quite cheeky and fun to be around.”

Every chapter begins with a drawing to illustrate the topic, often with a splash of humour. “Drawing Indigo Violet is quite entertaining for me – she’s a character who likes to live life to the full. If I’m ever feeling down, I think ‘now what would Indigo do?’ And I see her in my mind’s eye, leaping for joy, or getting some sky on her head, or getting into her body. I follow her lead and feel much better.” 
‘How to Love and Be Loved – Tiny steps to connecting with love and life’ is published by The Company of Smiles Ltd, RRP £12.99. Available from all good bookshops and online at Amazon.

How to love and be loved book illustration

Ink drawing illustrations of Indigo Violet by Mikyla Limpkin

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