Hair and beauty salon in Low Fell wins seven awards after difficult year of lockdowns

A hair and beauty salon in Low Fell has won seven awards at the British Hair & Beauty Awards despite a year of difficult setbacks.

Julie Barras opened Sparkle Beauty in January 2019, but due to Covid-19, and the national lockdowns, the salon was closed.

But more than a year later, they have bounced back stronger than ever and now have the awards to prove it.

Salon owner Julie says: “I’m so really proud we have managed to win these awards despite all of the setbacks we have faced.”

Chantelle Turnbull, 20, an apprentice, and Christine Lowther, 47, who runs her own business Body and Soul Therapy in the salon, were amongst the winners of the awards.

They include:

  • Entrepreneur of the Year- Bronze Julie Barras

  • Hair & Beauty Salon of the Year- Silver

  • Best Workplace Environment- Silver

  • Massage Therapist of the Year- Silver for Christine Lowther from Body & Soul Therapy who works within Sparkle Beauty

  • Best New Business of the Year-Gold for Christine Lowther from Body & Soul Therapy who works within Sparkle Beauty

  • Rising Star of the Year- Gold for apprentice Chantelle Turnbull

  • Apprentice of the Year- Gold for apprentice Chantelle Turnbull

Chantelle also won overall Apprentice of the Year for the whole country.

She said: “It feels like a dream it’s a very surreal feeling. I’m so honoured to have won this fantastic achievement.

“I keep having to remind myself it’s a national award and I’m so incredibly proud I’ve bought the gold award to our little area in the North East, Low Fell.”

Body and Soul Therapy business owner, Christine joined Julie when the salon was newly opened.

When she first started she had zero clients, but since the salon has re-opened in April 2021, she has been fully booked weeks in advance.

“I could easily have just shut myself away during the lockdowns but I didn’t,” Christine said.

“I made sure I kept in contact with my fabulous clients, maintained my presence on social media, updated my skills by doing new courses. I also offered virtual treatments to clients that wanted them and created new packages for my treatment menu.

“It’s amazing that I have been recognised for all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes to ensure my treatments are the very best they can be, every time.”

During the lockdown, Julie used the time to do lots of online courses to pivot the business.

“I kept in touch with clients through email and by sending them little cards and messages, I worked lots on social media and made up gift sets and pamper packs for clients too,” she added.

“I think every business has struggled in one way or another during the pandemic, but I chose to use the time wisely and work on things I didn’t have time to do before.

“This certainly paid off, and once we re-opened we had a full diary again.”

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About Dian Sastro

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