Celebrating 30 years in business – the FHA’s 2023 Inspire event

The Annual inspiration and education event INSPIRE was bigger and better than ever this year as the Freelance Hairdressers Association celebrates 30 years in business this year.

The weekend kicked off with a 30 years celebratory dinner and disco on the Saturday evening, followed by the day-long Inspire event. Held again at the Mercure Daventry Court Hotel and Spa and hosted by the one and only, founder Sheila Abrahams, this year over 150 members turned out to experience the star studded event and shopping village.

Welcoming everyone to the 2023 event and reflecting on the last 30 years Sheila said, “It’s been the most amazing journey, I’ve loved every minute of it. Together we have brought ourselves to this point, freelancing is now an accepted part of the industry and we’re going to take it further together. As a crowd and as friends. The more we get together, the more strength we have in the industry we love.”

The day promised to be a magical one and that was exactly how it started, with magician and ‘mystifier’ Josh Horus. A warm up act that left everyone gasping in utter disbelief as he tricked and wowed the crowd.

Then it was straight into the hair show. First up on stage was Fergal Doyle for Wella. Demonstrating a live colour application on 2 models to showcase the new Blondes collection and how to transform a colour in just 5 minutes! Fergal also gave his top tips for social media and how you can create 20 pieces of content with just 1 client.

Aaron Dorn from Go Salon was on next to talk about ‘SAAS’ – software as a service. Their goal at Go Salon is to make retail easy for you and your clients, demonstrating how you can earn more and save time. All must for all FHA members!

We then heard from a very special friend of the FHA – Patrick Cameron who sent his well wishes, saying “I have been an active member since the whole thing began. Our industry has changed so much over the years and the FHA is a very important organisation. One of the things I love the most about working with freelancers is your ability to absorb. Sheila, to you and your FHA family congratulations – 30 years! That’s time well spent! It’s been an honour and a pleasure to have been a part of it all.”

Artists, visionaries and trend setters, the next show we saw was by brother and sister duo Josh and Sophie Goldsworthy of Goldsworthy Hair for L’Oréal. They wanted to create a never been seen before show at Inspire and so created 6 hair looks on just 4 models, demonstrating Avant Garde styling using recycled hair pieces and material and 2 French style balayage bobs, which turned out to be wigs, revealing the base for a second look underneath working with recycled hair pieces to create more soft textures with curls and knots. “Bringing the meaning of Inspire to life” was their mission and they certainly succeeded.

Another video message was then streamed from long standing FHA friend – Andrew Barton, “To everybody at the FHA, from the bottom of my heart, Happy Birthday! 30 years supporting the freelance hairdresser – what an achievement.”

Next was a presentation about the new Shift Education built by Stephen McManus of Leaf Scissors. Shift Education believes nothing is more rewarding than educating someone which is why they have built a digital education platform, designed to bring the hairdressing community together.

Rounding off the incredible stage shows were Andy Smith and Abbey Jarrold for Indola. Sharing their hair styling, cutting and colouring tips and tricks, showcasing the variety of Indola’s product range, perfect for the freelance hairdresser, on 5 models with 5 very different looks. We saw flashes of bold Crea-Bold colour, an unbalanced balayage with shattered edges, rock and roll wolf cuts, angular, halo bobs with diamond colour sections, how to create the perfect editorial ponytail and a tortoise shell technique colour swirl.

To finish a jam-packed day was the Elite Hair Awards and a raffle raising £425 for the Hair and Beauty Charity. Congratulations to the 2023 Elite Hair Award category winners:

  • Style Creator Award – Jacqueline Hirst
  • Red Carpet/Bridal Hair Award – Kirsty Innes
  • Barber’s Chair Award – Maria Di Martino
  • Avant-garde Award – Laraine Rose

Commenting on the day FHA founder Sheila said “We couldn’t have done today without the amazing support from the sponsors – Wella, L’Oréal and Indola. Our fantastic brands in the exhibitors village – Kent Salon, Go Salon, Aston and Fincher, Spencer Scissors and Purcy Chair Co and Cancer Hair Care. I also want to thank the regional reps who have stood behind me for such a long time. Renee Riley for being the backbone for the Elite Awards and Julie Dowan for all the technical advice. We have let the industry know, that 30 years on we are here to stay! That’s it folks for another year!”