Best in Australian Hair Announced at 4th Annual AHIA Creative Awards Gala

Best in Australian Hair Announced at 4th Annual AHIA Creative Awards Gala

Monday 1st July saw Australia’s leading creatives celebrating at The Star, Sydney for the annual Australian Hair Industry Awards Creative 2024 gala evening. After a record-breaking showing by Australia’s most inventive hair minds, Adelaide’s Sam James, of acclaimed salon SJ Establishment, was the recipient of the biggest award of the night- AHIA Australian Hairdresser of the Year 2023. Major winners included Andrew Cobeldick, Buoy Salon and Spa for AHIA New Zealand Hairdresser of the Year 2024Mark Leeson, Mark Leeson for AHIA International Hairdresser of the Year 2024 and Jamie Carroll honoured with the Dennis Langford Hall Of Fame Award.

Held on the final night of HAIR FESTIVAL, the evening was again MC’d by resident Mocha Group host, Will Fennell, with three incredible shows conceptualised and choreographed by the always surprising Adam Williams with more hair, fashion and entertainment moments than ever before. The 2024 Creative Couture opening performance by 2023 AHIA Australian Hairdresser of the Year Justin Pace and 2023 AHIA New Zealand Hairdresser of the Year, Danny Pato, assisted by the 2023 Hot Shots team turned the Avant-Garde theatrical thermos to full blast. Then, iconic salon group Oscar Oscar celebrated their milestone 35th anniversary in style with Jacky Chan creating stunning looks with partner REDKEN, before international darling Natalie Anne recalibrated the catwalk in a showcase filled with it-girl cool to close out the night. Guests then headed to the on-site after party hosted by Rogue Beauty until the small hours of the morning.

Launched in 2012 by respected industry pioneers Mocha Group, the AHIA’s are celebrating their 12th year as the trusted national award platform which provides a benchmark of excellence across both specialist and individual Educational and Business categories and the third year that the Creative categories have been given their own awards program. 

Within the comprehensive awards division from Mocha Group, the AHIA Creative Awards program highlights the creation and execution of trends focused photographic collection work representative of the exciting talent across the hair and barber industries. Entries this year were judged by international hair icons including Sally Brooks, Sam McKnight, Cos Sakkas, Hooker and Young, Candy Shaw and Vivienne MacKinder, not to mention influential figures from International Media including Charlotte Grant West from HJI, UK, Nicky Pope from Tribu.te Magazine, UK, and Veronica Boodhan from Salon Magazine, Canada.

The evening also saw the announcement of the much-anticipated 2024 HOT SHOTS team judged by local legends including Justin Pace, Jayne Wild, Scott Sloan, Benni Tognini and Mary Alamine. This unique initiative puts a spotlight on the industry’s most exciting next-gen talent and provides the chance for those 31 and under to take their career to a whole new level. The very first Medal of Honour recipients were also acknowledged, recognising their achievement of winning award categories three years in a row, with Stevie English for AHIA Master Colourist of the Year and Danny Pato for AHIA New Zealand Hairdresser of the Year.

Mocha Group Owner and Founder Linda Woodhead acknowledged that the future of the industry is in excellent hands;
With the sheer number of entries this year, every winner should be so proud of their achievement. The quality collections and exciting creativity that our industry has put forward is truly world-class and testament to the strength and sustainability of the industry. Congratulations to all of our deserving winners.” 
Special thanks goes to Major Sponsors Redken, Amazing Hair, Excellent Edges and NatalieAnne Haircare and Supporters Jadore Hair Supplies, Gamma+, Danger Jones, Matrix, Hair Festival, Dateline Imports, Heiniger, O&M, Expo4Barbers, Schwarzkopf, Rogue Beauty, Joico and EVY Professional.
Facebook:  mocha hair    Instagram:  @mochahairaustralia
#ahia2024 #hotshots2024


Hunter Kostrubiec, Tsiknaris Hair
Ella Stewart, Stevie English Hair
Paige Cameron, Cobelle Creative
Luke Munn, Havachat Barbershop
Danny Pato, D&M Hair Design
Breakthrough Team 
(Laura Szakaly, Tia Wright-Pihama, Liam Johnson, Delphine Kanuma)
Shae Tsiknaris, Tsiknaris Hair
Amber Bullock, Bond Hair Religion
Johnny Georgiou
Bond Hair Religion
Adam Harant, Wild Life SoGo
Domi Cherie, Tsiknaris Hair
Ella Stewart, Stevie English Hair
Victoria Shayler, Sir Fletcher

Stevie English
Danny Pato

Jenni Tarrant, Bond Hair Religion
Benjamin Martin, Salon XVI
Krystle Tokunai, Tokunai Hair
Jude McEwen, Toni&Guy Perth
Lisa Robertson, Parlour Glenelg
Ella Thompson, Dharma
For Jenni Tarrant, Bond Hair Religion NSW/ACT Collection
COLOURIST – Amber Bullock
MAKE UP ARTIST – Kylie O’Toole
STYLIST – Catherine V
Jamie Carrol
Mark Leeson, Mark Leeson
Andrew Cobeldick, Buoy Salon and Spa
Sam James, SJ Establishment

Time Well Spent

Time Well Spent

In the November issue of HAIRBIZ we explored the importance of an in-salon mentor to the success and development of apprentices. Working hand in glove with a dedicated mentor is the critical role that creating the space, time, and a disciplined approach to in-salon training has on the individual and the team.

Hairdressing apprenticeships are the foundational stepping stone for individuals to engage with and embrace a career in Hairdressing.

A fundamental component that profoundly shapes an apprentice’s journey toward having the skills and confidence to thrive in the industry is the provision of dedicated in-salon training time.

As an RTO we see best practice in this area and witness first-hand the significant impact of dedicated training time. We also see the most effective strategies used to implement structured training time in a busy commercial salon environment.

There are 4 significant impacts of dedicated insalon training time.

Practical Application of Knowledge: Formal learning and theoretical knowledge forms the solid foundation of an apprentice’s learning. However, its practical application within a real salon setting that is indispensable.

Dedicated in-salon training time bridges the gap between theory and practice, enabling apprentices to translate their classroom learning into tangible skills. This hands-on experience is crucial for comprehending the nuances of various technical skills, product applications, and salon processes.

Guidance: Direct mentorship from seasoned professionals during in-salon training is invaluable. Apprentices benefit immensely from the wisdom, guidance, and constructive feedback provided by experienced stylists.

Working alongside senior stylists fosters a supportive learning environment, enabling apprentices to hone their skills and gain insights that go beyond what textbooks can offer.

Client Interaction and Professionalism: By dedicating time to training it allows interaction with salon clients in a controlled and supervised way. This is a pivotal aspect of every apprentice’s growth. Through this interaction, apprentices develop essential interpersonal and customer service skills.

They learn to communicate effectively, understand client needs, and deliver satisfactory results. This practical exposure enhances not just their technical abilities but also their professionalism and puts the client at the centre of everything they do.

Exposure to Salon Dynamics: Training within the salon environment provides context for all of the formal training they have been undertaking Training within the salon environment exposes apprentices to the intricacies of salon operations. Not only do they learn the skills of the trade, but they gain first-hand experience in managing time, handling multiple tasks, and collaborating within a team. Understanding the dynamics of a salon prepares them for the fast-paced and demanding nature of the industry.

Understanding the significant benefits that comes from dedicated training time is one thing, but it is another thing entirely to then implement that effectively in a busy fast paced salon.

Some of the best approaches to creating dedicated training time we have seen include:

Structured Training Programs: Salons should design structured training programs that allocate dedicated hours specifically for apprentices. These programs must outline a comprehensive skills-based timeline that covers a range of skills, from basic to advanced techniques. Structured learning objectives and in-salon assessments should be incorporated to track an apprentice’s progress effectively.

A multi skilled approach: Giving apprentices early exposure across all aspects of hairdressing by rotating through all parts of salon life at an early stage of training —such as cutting, colouring, styling, and client consultation—provides a holistic understanding what is involved in the life of a hairdressers. It serves to inspire, engage and fosters respect for the journey they have embarked on.

Hands-On Practice Sessions: Allocating designated hours for hands-on practice, preferably during quieter periods, allows apprentices to refine their skills without interrupting the salon’s regular workflow. These practice sessions are crucial for mastering techniques and building confidence.

Personalised Mentorship: Assigning a senior stylist to each apprentice ensures personalised guidance and support. These mentors offer constructive feedback, share industry insights, and tailor learning experiences to suit individual strengths and areas requiring improvement.

Continuous Assessment and Development: Regular assessments and feedback sessions enable a systematic evaluation of an apprentice’s progress. Identifying strengths and areas needing improvement allows for targeted training and skill enhancement.

Encouraging Continuous Learning: Supporting apprentices to seek external learning opportunities, such as education with product company partners, including: workshops, seminars, or online courses. All of this fosters a culture of continuous learning. It supports and validates the in-salon training the apprentice is receiving. This proactive approach keeps them abreast of industry trends and innovations.

The provision of dedicated in-salon training time yields many benefits. Hands-on practice within a salon setting facilitates the mastery of various hairstyling techniques, leading to a higher level of skill proficiency.

Practical experience gained during training instils confidence in apprentices, shaping them into poised and professional individuals capable of handling salon responsibilities effectively.

Equipped with practical skills and a thorough understanding of salon operations, apprentices seamlessly transition into the role of a senior hairdresser, ready to contribute meaningfully within the salon environment.

But above all salons that invest in comprehensive training programs often retain skilled apprentices who feel valued and loyal. This retention of talent significantly contributes to the salon’s success and reputation. Dedicated in-salon training time is an indispensable aspect of an apprentice’s journey toward becoming a proficient stylist.

By prioritising hands-on training, mentorship, and structured learning, salons not only nurture capable stylists but also invest in the future of the industry. This investment ensures we are growing the talent pool of capable and confident Hairdressers.

Anthony Gray is a Director of MIG Training. MIG is the trusted apprenticeship education partner for many of the leading salons and barbershops in QLD. Anthony is the Education and Training Director for the Australian Hairdressing Council (AHC).


HAIR BIZ is the only magazine of its kind which offers a comprehensive look at both the business and image side of the hair industry. It provides salon owners with tools and information to be more successful and knowledgeable when it comes to business skills as well as keeping them informed with trend forecasts, interviews, profiles, news, reviews and product info.

Hairbiz Year 18 Issue 1 Out Now

Hairbiz Year 18 Issue 1 Out Now

Check out this month’s HairBiz Magazine. Great article by our very own Anthony Gray “Time Well Spent: The Crucial Role of Dedicated In-Salon Training for Hairdressing Apprentices” on page 54.

HAIR BIZ is the only magazine of its kind which offers a comprehensive look at both the business and image side of the hair industry. It provides salon owners with tools and information to be more successful and knowledgeable when it comes to business skills as well as keeping them informed with trend forecasts, interviews, profiles, news, reviews and product info.

The Crucial Role of In-Salon Mentors for Hairdressing Apprentices

The Crucial Role of In-Salon Mentors for Hairdressing Apprentices

Whether it is the salon owner, manager or a senior stylist who is the key person, an insalon mentor serves as the guiding force in an apprentice’s journey towards becoming a skilled and accomplished hairdresser.

They bring a wealth of practical experience, expertise, and a profound understanding of the highs and lows that can’t be learned from formal education or online.

The in-salon mentor has a critical role to play in 3 key ways:

1. Skills Development

The apprentice skills development does not happen without a mentor. Skills are grown by:

Skill Transfer: An experienced mentor is like a living encyclopaedia of hairdressing. They share their insights into cutting, colouring, styling, and all the skills accumulated over years in the trade. This practical knowledge is priceless for apprentices as they embark on their learning journey.

Real-World Wisdom: Beyond technical know-how, mentors provide essential realworld insights. They teach apprentices about the etiquette and conduct expected in a salon, effective time management, and how to navigate the challenges and triumphs of the industry. This wisdom is crucial for a successful and sustainable career.

Instant Feedback: One of the most significant advantages of an in-salon mentor is the ability to offer instant feedback. They can spot errors or areas that need improvement and provide immediate guidance, helping apprentices grow rapidly and effectively in a way that is supported.

Building Confidence: Learning the craft can be a daunting experience, but with the support and encouragement of a mentor, apprentices can build their confidence. The mentor’s approval and trust serve as powerful motivators on the path to confidence and enjoyment.

Client Interaction: Successful hairdressing is not only about cutting and colour application; it’s also about effective client interaction. Working with and shadowing an in-salon mentor imparts essential communication skills, helping apprentices understand and fulfil clients’ unique needs and expectations.

Networking Opportunities: The mentor serves as a gateway to the wonderful world of hairdressing. Apprentices get to interact with other professionals in the industry, opening doors for future collaborations, job opportunities, and personal growth.

2. Relationship Building

The mentor-apprentice relationship in a salon is akin to the passing of a torch. It’s a partnership based on trust, respect, and mutual growth. Here’s why this relationship is invaluable:

One-on-One Guidance : A mentor dedicates their time and attention to the apprentice. This one-on-one guidance accelerates the learning process, allowing apprentices to ask questions, seek clarification, and receive tailored instruction.

Customised Learning: Every apprentice is unique, and a skilled mentor can customize the learning experience to suit the apprentice’s strengths and weaknesses. This adaptability ensures that the apprentice gets the most out of their education and training.

Professional Bond: The mentor-apprentice relationship goes beyond just skill transfer. It’s a professional bond where the mentor imparts not only technical expertise but also the ethics, values, and the essence of being a hairdresser.

Inspiration and Motivation: Mentors are often a source of inspiration for apprentices. Their journey, achievements, and passion for the craft can be a motivating force that drives apprentices to excel and see a life for themselves in Hair.

3. Career Impact

The mentor-apprentice dynamic profoundly influences an apprentice’s career. Here’s how:

Uptake of Skills: With the continuous guidance and mentorship, apprentices have the opportunity to master the art of hairdressing more rapidly and comprehensively. They learn not just what works but also the subtleties that make a haircut or colour truly exceptional.

Industry Relevance: A mentor’s real-world experience ensures that apprentices are well prepared to enter the competitive hairdressing industry. They learn the latest techniques, trends, and industry standards, making them relevant and sought-after professionals.

Self-Assurance: As apprentices gain proficiency under the mentor’s watchful eye, their self-assurance grows. This newfound confidence is essential for success in the salon and in building a loyal clientele.

Opportunities: The mentor introduces apprentices to a network of industry professionals, opening up opportunities for collaboration and career advancement. These connections can prove invaluable in the long run.

In the world of hairdressing, an in-salon mentor is not just a supervisor; they are the architects of a career. The mentor-apprentice relationship is the heart and soul of the apprenticeship journey. With their wealth of knowledge, real-world wisdom, and nurturing guidance, mentors pave the way for apprentices to master the art of hairdressing, develop their unique style, and thrive.

As an RTO assisting salons with the formal qualification and skills training, we see it daily and can hands down say that the significance of an in-salon mentor cannot be overstated; they are the key to unlocking an apprentice’s potential, instilling the skills and confidence needed to not only cut, colour, and style hair but to also create a truly transformative experience for clients.

In a busy salon, committing the time to mentor and grow your salon team can be difficult but hairdressing has a wonderful enduring tradition of care and mentoring the next generation that continues to shape the future of hairdressing.

Anthony Gray is a Director of MIG Training. MIG is the trusted apprenticeship education partner for many of the leading salons and barbershops in QLD. Anthony is the Education and Training Director for the Australian Hairdressing Council (AHC).


HAIR BIZ is the only magazine of its kind which offers a comprehensive look at both the business and image side of the hair industry. It provides salon owners with tools and information to be more successful and knowledgeable when it comes to business skills as well as keeping them informed with trend forecasts, interviews, profiles, news, reviews and product info.

Hairbiz Year 17 Issue 6 Out Now

Hairbiz Year 17 Issue 6 Out Now

Check out this month’s HairBiz Magazine. Great articles by our very own Anthony Gray include “David Murry Salon – A Santuary for Creativity” on page 46 and “The Crucial Role of In-Salon Mentors for Hairdressing Apprentices” on page 78.

HAIR BIZ is the only magazine of its kind which offers a comprehensive look at both the business and image side of the hair industry. It provides salon owners with tools and information to be more successful and knowledgeable when it comes to business skills as well as keeping them informed with trend forecasts, interviews, profiles, news, reviews and product info.

David Murry Salon – A SANCTUARY FOR Creativity

David Murry Salon – A SANCTUARY FOR Creativity

Located in the heart of South Brisbane, David Murry Salon is a sanctuary for creativity. David and his team have built a reputation of excellence that spans 13 years and he generously agreed to give us an insight into the DMS journey.

David, tell us a little about your salon. What made you take the plunge?

Taking the plunge into salon ownership was a natural progression, having been raised in a family of small business owners.

The conversations around the challenges of running a small business amongst my large family of 6 had an impact. I didn’t realise until later in life how impactful those conversations would be.

Purchasing a salon was a goal I wanted to achieve by age 30, and of course like many other people I was naive to the reality of how much hard work goes into running a business. I thought I could do it better.

Little did I know what it would involve, and I found myself having to learn very quickly. Fortunately, asking for help was something I was comfortable with, and I sought the advice of many influential people in my life, including many clients and of course my partner Lloyd.

My late father was very black and white and the best advice he gave me was “as long as you have more money coming in than going out, you’ll be able to pay people to do the things you do not know how to do”. It’s a simple statement but often forgotten.

The salon opened on the 30 June 2013. The salon was created because at that time there were many large super salons trying to deliver a bougie boutique experience in pumping spaces and I wanted to cinch that into a smaller more personal environment. The remaining history of DMS is still being written.

What is the make up of your team?

Our team has expanded and contracted numerous times over the past 13 years, but we generally have 3 seniors and 3 assistants. A couple of years ago I transitioned my role into reception and administration for the salon.

The running of the business was something I enjoyed, and it required more of my attention, and I found trying to juggle both roles very challenging. Business coach and industry legend Antony Whitaker once said to me at a seminar, “the definition of a successful small business is to make oneself redundant”.

I have never forgotten this and was so proud to have grown my business to a level where this was a possibility for me. Stepping off the floor was a huge risk, but it worked. Moving into this role also created opportunities for my team to step up into salon management and education roles which they did with commitment.

We have found 3 seniors and 3 assistants to be the sweet spot not only from a financial point of view but also from a client experience point of view. Recently we’ve decided to go back to a full team four-day work week from Wednesday through to Saturday.

Staff have opted for this kind of roster to have three consecutive days off a week, allowing them to really rest so they can pump it out in four consecutive days.

What is the DMS Philosophy?

The philosophy of DMS is very simple and it is our statement of belief:

Create an experience where guests spend with a heart, not their head. Create a connection and be memorable in a positive way.

We truly believe that if a client is happy with their experience, you will create loyal longterm client. It’s not just about being happy with their hair.

When you have a hairdresser in your team that gives only good hair, they won’t create a loyal long-term client. When you have a hairdresser in your team that makes a client happy with their hair but also with their experience, you’ve got the winning combination.

How do you attract and retain great people?

Like everyone now, recruitment is really challenging at the moment. I have a group of employees that are long-term and a group of employees that come and go. The long-term staff, one of which we’ve purchased a second salon with, have had good communication with me.

We’ve had conversations over the years that have been difficult and have required us both to reflect on our behaviour and actions and we’ve respectfully worked our way through differences.

A growing trend amongst employees is to leave when they come up against a challenge in the workplace but the art of working through problems within a workplace will benefit you greatly and turn into far more than you realise.

My focus is to provide a safe, respectful and nurturing workspace with opportunities for staff to achieve attractive financial remuneration for their efforts and of course have fun together.”

The role education plays and how important is it to your business?

Well, we wouldn’t have a business without education. In January every year, we have a huge focus on planning the education for the year ahead.

How you train and educate your team?

From July 2023 onwards, we are trying something very different with education. We are facilitating one paid professional development day a month for our assistants, and this will either be with one of our senior staff or a guest artist.

This dedicated day will not only strengthen the skill set of our assistants but help them to grow closer as a unit. Of course, throughout the week, we will take advantage of every opportunity when we are not with a client.

When an apprentice has a training session a senior is marked out to be with them, no one goes it alone.

What is your education approach to apprentices?

Assistants and emerging stylists are the secret sauce of our business. Without them the recipe would be underwhelming. The biggest thing we do for our apprentices is implement a commission structure.

They, like seniors, need to feel like they’re working toward something. They need to feel like at the end of the week when they’ve busted their arse to help make the salon deliver a great experience, they have a little bit of cream at the end of the week.

The hardest thing for me as a salon owner is allowing an apprentice to do a service that I know is a stretch. They must be given the opportunity to mess it up and to then have a conversation as a result of that experience which leaves them feeling empowered, not deflated.

Who are your education partners and how do those partnerships work for you?

Obviously working with a training organisation like “MIG Training” has been hugely helpful., especially last year, where we fully embraced every form of education, e.g., being at the college, in the salon, via Zoom and the one day workshop education program. This filled almost 3/4 of our education plans for 2023.

Over the last couple of years, we’ve really tapped into the incredible talents of Belinda Keely and have welcomed her on numerous occasions and have utilised her in salon Zoom education.

I love everything about Belinda‘s brand and her style of teaching. We also rely on the incredibly talented senior staff which we have in salon.



HAIR BIZ is the only magazine of its kind which offers a comprehensive look at both the business and image side of the hair industry. It provides salon owners with tools and information to be more successful and knowledgeable when it comes to business skills as well as keeping them informed with trend forecasts, interviews, profiles, news, reviews and product info.