Sunday 15th September saw BABTAC open the doors to its first ever conference.

Attracting brands such as Dermalogica, Lash Perfect and HD brows as well as spas, salons and mobile therapists, it was a day of education for members and non-members wanting to get the inside track on the latest developments in the industry.

This year’s award winners included Suman Jalaf as Brow Specialist, Katherine Tonkinson as Holistic Therapist, Leighton Denny as Entrepreneur of the Year and Zen Lifestyle in Edinburgh as Salon of the Year. However it was Jennifer Glen who hit the hat-trick. As well as being part of the team at Zen Lifestyle, she won both Beauty Therapist 2019 and the prestigious Gold Award that recognises members that goes above and beyond what is expected of them.

From new skincare ingredients to treating clients with cancer to how to build a social media following, speakers included permanent make-up Pro Karen Betts, Dermalogica’s education curriculum manager Candice Gardner, beauty business expert Liz McKeon and beauty blogger, Caroline Hirons, amongst others. Opened by QVC presenter and all-round industry expert, Alison Young  – it was a day of information, education and inspiration.

Young commented: “The UK beauty industry is worth billions and is currently being heavily invested in by bankers and hedge funds. Along with the food industry it’s one of the only businesses that has repeat purchases and with the growth in wellness and self-care, there’s a need more than ever for qualified therapists. BABTAC is the backbone of professionalism and it’s our job to de-confuse the customer and keep ahead of the game.”

As well as flagging up opportunities in the industry, it was beauty blogger and BABTAC member, Caroline Hirons, who stole the show with her talk: How to Build your Social Media Following. Drawing in the crowds, members left with tips that included everything from when to post, what to post and how to deal with competition and negativity. Already an advocate of BABTAC’s #qualifiedverifiedandinsured hashtag, she also aired her frustration that one day courses do not count as a qualification.

Aiming to raise awareness and the profile of the industry, the conference was followed by an awards ceremony that recognised the best in the business, and not just in the UK with members flying in from Australia, Dubai, Latvia and Indonesia.

Lesley Blair, chair of BABTAC, concluded: “We have been overwhelmed by the great response to our conference at the weekend. It was just as inspiring and informative as we hoped it would be for therapists and industry leaders, but it also reflected the strength of the industry as it stands today – there was a really positive, upbeat atmosphere and feeling of mutual support and encouragement.”