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Here’s why Salons and Stylists seriously need to enter competitions (2019)

Attracting new clients isn’t the only reason to aim to win awards.

Marilyn & David Vendittelli
Updated May 9, 2019

“Putting ourselves out there helped us grow like crazy”

It’s easy as a stylist to become “robotic” behind the chair. As much as we love to create fashion in front of our mirrors …sometimes it just feels repetitive. We’re going through the motions client after client.

Being able to see magic behind the lens makes your heart skip a beat every time.

Putting yourself out there and entering stylist competitions (whether live or editorial) will make you grow immensely.  It makes you look at your creations and see all aspects of your work.

You appreciate how the make up, lighting and clothing really can affect your total image.

Steve Henschel/Metroland


“The experience from competition outside of the salon will make you a better stylist behind the chair.” 

Creating a competitive portfolio is amazing for not only yourself but for your clients that come to see you every 5 weeks.  They want to know what you’re up to and have confirmation that they are sitting in the right chair! It’s what makes you different!  It helps them validate your worth.

Showcasing your work online and in your salon for the world to see is very impressive.  You can say that you created these images and you’re creating your own brand.

Now with social media and online competitions, it’s even easier than travelling to events.  You can enter from your living room and don’t have to leave your home.

Hair competitions at all levels whether big or small, local or international is great! Competition is great! Start small and get your feet wet.  But always put 100% into it. Have the mentality that this is a competition and your name is on your work. Plan, work together with your team and have a vision  (wardrobe, photographer, MUA etc!).


My (Marilyn) first competition was a failure

My first real competition entry shoot was a men’s collection.  I had a great local photographer, no MUA and my vision was to create just cool pictures.  And I did! But looking back I didn’t plan enough…..I didn’t even know what a storyboard was.  My pics were cool and I thought for sure I had a winning collection! Well was I wrong. I was very disappointed and heartbroken!  I couldn’t understand why the judges didn’t see what I saw?


Winning with a vision

A year later after being mentored by the right people….I understood how important it is to really plan.  Have the right team and the right vision. Make a storyboard of the look you want and get everyone on the same page.

One year later I walked away with 2 Canadian Hairstylist Of The Year Awards (Contessas).  Because of that competition experience my knowledge of editorial work is so much more clear!  I still have so much to learn but it’s now so clear that the right team and the right planning is so important!  

Award-winning color by David Vendittelli


Finding Models

We all want the 5ft9” models with flawless skin, an amazing head of hair and are willing to allow you to colour their hair neon tones and cut it……good luck finding them!

Modelling agencies are expensive and typically won’t allow you to change their looks much!  So now what? You find them anywhere! In the local mall….coffee shops or your local beauty school!   Go everywhere and don’t be afraid to approach anyone!

One of our fav models I saw walking down town in our city while I was driving my girls to school!  I saw her for about a week straight! After stalking her , I saw her head to the local beauty school and it was a sign!  I called them and told them I saw one of their students downtown and that I was interested in her for modeling jobs! They knew exactly who I was talking about, and she has been our go-to model and published more than any other we’ve worked with.

Although our models won’t make a living working for us lol, we take good care of them!  Their hair gets looked after by us at no charge, but they also know we have control of what we want to do!  It’s a great arrangement!

Do your homework and be willing to pay for what you get.  Your work can be outstanding but if you don’t have the right photographer that specializes in editorial work….you won’t capture your vision. The photographer’s hands can be just as important as yours.

The right MUA that does editorial work will know how lighting can affect how the make up looks infront the camera! Work together but let the makeup artist do their thing!


Becoming award winning has really changed our lives

Aside from attracting new clients, becoming award winning has really changed our lives.  Not only has it given us the confidence to know that we have some skill and talent and also gave us the push to open our salon, INdustry Hair and Esthetics.

It has also opened so many doors for us!  A long time dream to become national educators for our colour company Goldwell finally came true.

People believed in us and saw what we can do and all our dedication and hard work has paid off and set us aside from other salons and stylists.  But we remember where we came from and know all the sleepless nights and long days we put into everything we do.

If you have goals and aspirations to be more than just a “stylist on the floor”, step outside your box. We’re proud and humbled by the outcome and you will be too.


Marilyn & David Vendittelli

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