How are the Professional Beauty Regional Awards judged?
Long-term judge Susan Routledge explains why you can rest assured that the judging process is as fair and unbiased as can be
After I posted a blog on my own website, titled the benefits of entering the Professional Beauty Regional Awards, I was thrilled with the number of responses I got. Amongst all the excitement though, there were one or two comments expressing concerns such as, "Would I be I giving away my business secrets to competitors and judges?" and "Isn’t the process rigged anyway?"
Both are valid questions but, after nearly a decade as a judge, I want you to know just how hardworking and deserving the winners are year after year. So, with the blessing of Eve Oxberry, Professional Beauty’s head of editorial, I’m here to lift the lid on the judging process and dispel any doubts about underhand activities…
Across all the awards categories, there are about 60 judges, each handpicked by Professional Beauty. It’s completely voluntary and totally unpaid. Judges don’t get rich this way. They’re all passionate experts in the field, often with award-winning backgrounds. Crucially, every judge signs a confidentially agreement, keeping everything they read on an entry form top secret.
Professional Beauty gets the final word on who judges what, with around six experts per panel. No judge can assess any business they have a vested interest in, nor can they judge in their own region.
You, the salon or spa owner, submit the best entry form possible, with the help of my free ebook, of course. All entries are then distributed to the relevant judges, who get a fixed time to review and electronically score out of 10 each contender against 10 criteria. There’s no conferring and, let me tell you, it can be a very solitary, weekend-killing task.
As you’d expect, the finalists are those salons and spas that rack up the most points from the collected, confidential scores. What you may not realise is that the judges find out the shortlist exactly the same way as everybody else – by eagerly waiting for the Professional Beauty website announcement. It’s a great achievement to get this far, and Professional Beauty staff contact each salon to offer congratulations and explain what comes next.
Coming to visit
For many people, what does come next is the scariest part of the process: a judge visiting your salon or spa. The announced judges, all industry experts, tell you at the time of booking who they are and arrange a time to visit as a client to sample a treatment and learn a bit more about the business. You don’t have mystery shoppers at this stage, but should you go on to win the Regional Awards, and reach the finals of PB's national awards then you'd be mystery shopped too at that stage.
For the Regionals, the announced judge files a separate report on everything from pre- to post-visit care, but their real job is to check that your initial entry form is a fair reflection of day-to-day reality.
When the regional judging panel get together for final deliberation, usually by conference call, the announced judge feeds back all the info from the visits and the panel ask their own questions. Each judge separately re-scores the finalists across the criteria, in all ten critical areas, and submits their new scores electronically, ready for the big awards event in Manchester.
And the winner is…
It’s not just the nominees who get an adrenalin rush, it’s us judges too. We’ve all formed personal attachments to outstanding businesses and we’re willing them to succeed. But, just like you, we don’t know the winner until that envelope opens:
“And the winner is…” I get goosebumps just thinking about it!
So please, trust that your entry is well looked after by people who care with no hidden agendas. There’s still time to rush in a last-minute entry by clicking here. Don’t forget to also download my ebook, How to Successfully Enter and Win Business Awards, here. Be quick – there’s nothing to lose and everything to gain.