On Friday, May 5, the Concord Regional Technical Center (CRTC) held its 6th Annual Hair Fashion Show & Competition at Concord High School. In total, 37 students competed with representation from Concord Regional Technical Center, Cheshire Career Center, Sugar River Valley Regional Tech and Nashua North.

The theme for this year’s event was A Day at the Zoo. “Students designed a hairstyle that depicted the animal of their choice,” said Kimberly Hannon, Cosmetology Instructor at Concord Regional Technical Center. “It was a great opportunity for students to push themselves out of their comfort zone and get creative.”

As for their animals of choice, she said students picked everything from a ram to a flamingo, tiger, and an elephant. Winners at this year’s competition were: Alyssa Fulton, Hope Hibbard, and Brittney Stevens (1st place) from Sugar River Valley Regional Tech; Olivia Goulet and Cleo Lee (2nd Place) from Nashua North: and Lily Laura from CRTC (3rd place).

“All the students were very creative,” she added. “We had some very talented kids. They were very attentive this year.”

In addition to students, there were several dozen people in attendance. She cited involvement from industry partners and sponsors as critical to the event’s continued success.

“The judges were from industry and the sponsors were great,” she said. “Paul Mitchel of Northern New England donated a lot this year, too.”

Noting she was pleased with the competition and show, she noted the day’s festivities underscore the strength of the cosmetology industry as a whole.

“Our industry never dies—it is always booming and always growing,” she said. “There is always something trendy happening. You have to stay in the now.”

For students who complete the Cosmetology Program at CRTC, Hannon said they have a leg up on peers who enter post-secondary schools without any prior experience.

“They will be familiar with the tools and terminology and more confident when they go,” she said.

Hannon said program graduates will also be further along on their career pathway, as they can earn more than 300 hours out of the 1,500 that is required in the licensure process.

“Our students have a higher success rate in completing post-secondary school, too,” she added. “They have the technical skills already. The terms may be different, but they understand the technical side already.”

In summing up the industry as a whole, she said many people on the outside continue to have misconceptions regarding it.

“Many people think that you can’t make a lot of money in this industry, which is not true,” she said. “There is plenty to be made in this industry unless you don’t work hard at what you do.”

She said another misconception is that people in the industry are not as smart as those in other industries.

“That’s not true,” she said. “You need a lot of people skills to succeed—they are essential. Some of the smartest, most talented and hardest working people I know are hairdressers and barbers…The industry demands a lot of people, but it gives back, too.”