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With the New Year just days away, this is the week we generally spend reflecting on the year that was. And while 2020 has been one of the worst years most of us have seen in a long time, as always we should take a moment to reflect on the positives. In particular, this week we want to pay some well-deserved recognition forward to those hard-working individuals of this year, who in spite of all adversity; stood up to the challenge, showed their unwavering support, created new strategies, and did everything they could to help out the industry in one way or another.

In no particular order, here is a list of the most influential people and brands whose conscious leadership and unparalleled skillset outshone what could have been a very dim year for our industry, without their presence and support.

April Brodie of Beaute Facial Destination for #saveourvictoriansalons – for whatever nonsensical reason, it was decided that our industry, AKA ‘beauty parlours’ as we were all dubbed by government, should be among the very last businesses to reopen in Victoria once it emerged from its first lockdown, even when hairdressers were among the first to reopen. April decided this simply wasn’t on, starting the #SaveOurVictorianSalons movement. Around the country, our industry banned together on social media, and this seemingly turned out to be the catalyst for the beauty industry timeline to be bumped up for earlier reopening into stage two instead of stage three.

Linda Woodhead of Mocha Publishing on behalf of the ABIA awards – in true spur-of-the-moment fashion (as was most of the year) instead of cancelling the highly-anticipated ABIA awards at the eleventh hour, Mocha moved the awards to virtual. And while we all would have desperately loved an in-person drink, network and all-round celebration, the virtual gala meant everyone throughout the country could join in, and it served as an evening to unite us all and celebrate with our teams (and each other) in our own unique ways.

Tina Viney of APAN for her COVID resources – throughout the entire year, Tina & APAN have provided us with non-stop information about the latest relevant COVID updates and countless resources to help us all through it.

Sandy Chong of the AHC for her government communication and direction during COVID – Sandy has been instrumental in putting Beaute Industrie in touch with local government throughout COVID so that we could both provide and receive vital information for our industry. Sandy has also played an integral role in the formation of the Aesthetic & Beauty Industry Council (ABIC) launching in March 2021.

Gry Tomte of HUD Skin + Body for bringing hope, strength and voice to skin clinics in Victoria – formidable Gry become somewhat of an ambassador for Victoria during its recent lockdown, providing constant support, love and kindness to anyone who needed it this year, while also giving a voice to Victorian skin clinics on national television about the frustrations behind clients being forced to wear face masks (meaning no facials) in such a highly trained and safe environment despite the fact that many other businesses whose customers were at greater risk could continue to operate as normal.

Kathryn Moore of Spa Connectors for creating the HOW Awards – On Thursday, December 10th, thousands around the world tuned in to watch Spa Connectors’ very first Hall Of Wellness Awards virtual gala. Designed to unveil hidden talent and recognise the hard-working individuals throughout the global beauty and spa industry, accolades were presented virtually by HOW Awards founder Kathryn Moore across seven categories. Congratulations to all the winners, and to the Spa Connectors team for the roaring success and a wonderful initiative for the global industry.

Vanessa Main of Loft Inc for her COVID communication and updates – one of the most frequent and on-the-ball educators of this year who was frequently present online throughout the pandemic providing the industry much-needed insights.

Frank & Elena Sallem of Vital Plus for their education contribution through the ‘Future Beauty’ webinars – several stellar brands recognised early on the need for continued education and training throughout lockdowns and heightened restrictions this year, and Vital Plus was one of them providing free educational webinars from business, branding and microbiome.

Maria Enna-Cocciolone of INSKIN Cosmedics for changing her own rules – INSKIN has never before allowed for online sales, however, this year Maria decided it was time to change the rules to support her stockists and allow for them to retail to clients online through the protection of the therapists prescription via password – the only way for businesses to remain open while having to physically keep their doors closed.

Jacinta King of the Cosmetic Nurse Association for her launch and unity of injectable industry – this year saw the launch of membership-based organisation the Cosmetic Nurse Association, designed to act as a collective voice for all cosmetic Nurses within the Cosmetic industry who provide non-surgical cosmetic services in Australia. CNA strives to be a peak, influential organisation for cosmetic Nurses, with a mission to serve and support cosmetic Nurses in Australia and to assist to maintain the highest level of quality care delivery to the public.

Timely Appointment Software for their ‘timely proud’ movement sharing great things businesses are doing around the country and beyond – what better way to keep us all positive, supporting one another, and recognising the hard work and effort made throughout difficult times!

Leelah Linke & Team of St Skin for being the comeback queens – During the pandemic, this resilient team were forced to move out of their premises due to landlord difficulties and uncompromising contracts, but within the space of just a few days, they packed up their clinic home, relocated to a new one, and have thrived ever since.

Monica Griffin of Minx Tan for bringing body positivity to tanning – in the latter half of this year, Monica launched a stunningly unique body-positive photo campaign that took the professional tanning industry by surprise with a gorgeous plus-size model. It’s these types of small things that are all it takes to start a movement.

Terri Vinson of Synergie Skin for following her dreams – first and foremost a formulator for her brand Synergie, Terri took the plunge this year and followed her dream of publishing a book, which is currently one of the most talked-about titles among beauty therapists and clinicians. Terri and the team at Synergie supported clinics through their additional retail offering of a COVID-safe hand sanitiser – one which allowed clinics to support their clients through prescription.

Rene Herald of Temple Skincare for giving everyone a go – we spoke to Rene for our November issue of Beaute Industrie’s digital magazine on the topic of team inclusivity, who shared with us the joys and benefits of hiring therapists on working visas – something the majority of our industry would never even consider doing. Though she endured a hefty battle this year to keep one of her international team members in the country, Rene continues to grow Temple with the best-equipped therapists she can find, no matter where they’re from.

Karla McDiarmid of Macquarie Medispa, also for her inclusivity – we also spoke to Karla for the same issue as she recently hired a male manager for her incredibly successful business – unfortunately something that is almost unheard of in this industry. Karla tells us that Matt brings many elements to her business she could not have received elsewhere and that business is booming as a result.

Dr Howard Murad of Murad Skincare for his continued research into wellness – while many in our industry may not pay heed to the relationship between wellness and skin health, there are many that believe passionately, and Murad is somewhat of a pioneer in the area. Dr Howard released a new white paper this year entitled “Effectiveness of positive insights for emotional wellbeing and stress reduction”, which focussed on wellness interventions based on the theory that positive and healthy mediums of self-care such as daily self-affirmations, meditation and journaling can effectively release the stress responsible for declining skin health. We look forward to seeing his work continue and what comes out of this interesting field in the coming months and years.

James Vivian for his stellar social media –  we don’t know about you, but James virtually got us through COVID with his Instagram content this year. In addition to regular, in-depth chats about skin, skin science and homecare among other things, James brought us a bit of sparkle and a smile with the occasional appearance of Tina Toner to sing us exceptionally written original covers like ‘We Built This Clinic’ and “That’s The Way A Woman Peels’.

Our passionate aesthetic doctors and nurses who returned to healthcare during COVID – we are all incredibly grateful. Your profession has always been based on selflessly taking care of others, and all who dropped cosmetic procedures to volunteer on the front lines (even though they had the option to continue working) is just another example of that.

Our supportive and incredibly progressive Beaute Industrie Facebook Community – AKA you! This year through us many a curve ball through fires, pandemic and Black lives matter movement, to name a few and every single step of the way, our community showed compassion towards one another thoughts and feelings, staying away from the very reactive and anxiety-inducing nature that can be social media. Unlike many others, the Beaute Community is a safe space for therapists, business owners, brand representatives, general managers and everyone in between, all thanks to the way you show up and navigate the conversations, and for that, we thank you.

To all of those (above and unnamed) who put their hearts and souls into helping this year, to giving back, to bettering themselves and the industry at large – we see you, we thank you, and we wish you all even greater and more joyful successes for next year. Bring on 2021!