Gina Eparaima NZ Barber of the Year

Gina Eparaima NZ Barber of the Year a

One of the most coveted awards at the recent Industry Awards was the Editorial Barber of the Year,  won by Gina Eparaima one of the Tutors at BHB Academy in Palmerston North. We speak to Salina Murphy, BHB Academy Director, about Gina’s win and find out just what this award means for the Academy.

Firstly, Congratulations on Gina Eparaima’s great achievement, how has this award impacted on BHB Academy?

At BHB Academy, we take great pride in the accomplishments of our tutors. These achievements reflect our commitment to providing exceptional education and training to our students. Our tutors are highly skilled professionals who are actively involved in their industries, and their successes showcase the quality of instruction they bring to our programs. 

By learning from these industry experts, our students gain first-hand experience of the practical applications required in their chosen industry. Our tutors’ expertise and passion for teaching contribute significantly to our students’ education and future success. 

Tell us about the preparation and work that Gina and the team put into the photoshoot?

A successful photoshoot requires creativity, attention to detail, and teamwork. At BHB Academy, we value collaboration and make sure that every member of our team is involved in the process of creating amazing shots. Whether it’s by providing behind the scenes support, being a model, or unleashing their creativity as makeup artists, every member of our team plays a crucial role in making our photoshoots a success. We even hold our photoshoots during course/workdays, so that all our students can experience the process and get inspired to explore the creative opportunities in our industries. 

The Māori influence/design in Gina’s entry was stunning, who was behind this? 

This was Gina’s vision from her own personal connection to her ancestry. The taonga that were used belong to Gina and have special meaning to her and her whanau.

BHB Academy obviously excels when it comes to teaching Barbering Skills, is there anything you have learn’t from Gina’s success?

This has cemented just how important and empowering it is to offer our students and staff opportunities for growth and self-expression in the hair and beauty industries. Skill-building and growth are at the heart of our culture which applies not only to our students but to our tutors as well. Our tutors are deeply passionate about their industries and are always eager to expand their knowledge and expertise. This commitment to continuous learning is a core value that defines who we are as an Academy.

Our focus on building our students’ capabilities goes beyond the requirements of the qualification. We aim to prepare them for success in their industry by encouraging them to participate in competitions. For years, we’ve participated in Hair and Barber New Zealand competitions, with both our tutors and students being awarded with top prizes. These competitions offer a fantastic opportunity for our students to showcase their skills and gain invaluable experience in a competitive setting. 

How many students a year complete courses at your Academy, and are they all successful at finding careers in Hairdressing?

BHB Academy is privileged to be part of the vast majority of our Manawatu hairdressing and barbering students journeys into the industry. BHB Academy has been an integral part of the industry in the Manawatu region for many decades. We have strong connections to the industry and its employers, this results in a high percentage of our graduate gaining employment each year.

What is the most important skill/technique that hairdressers of today need to master?

As a Hairdresser, Barber, or Makeup Artist, mastering customer service is paramount to success. In the highly competitive hair and beauty industries, a positive customer experience can make all the difference in terms of customer retention and loyalty. At BHB Academy, we make it a key focus to practice excellent customer service daily in our salon, barbershop, and beauty space. Our students are exposed to clients from the public every day of their program, which gives them real-life experience with a range of different people and personalities.

If you were to offer one small piece of advice to all of your students, when they leave your Academy, what would that be?

Gaining a qualification is not where your learning stops, in fact this is only the beginning! You have put in the hard work and have a solid foundation in your industry of choice, but there’s still so much to learn and discover in your industry. Remember that becoming a master in your craft takes time and ongoing education. 

Take advantage of the knowledge and guidance of your mentors in your salon, barbershop or beauty space and seek out additional educational opportunities through product companies or professional organisations like Hair and Barber NZ. The possibilities are endless if you stay focused, passionate, and open to learning. Keep growing and reaching for your goals. There is so much more to discover. 

What does the future hold for BHB Academy, is there any plans for expansion or new courses?

There are some exciting things in the pipeline for BHB Academy in the near future. BHB has some new skill based short courses being added this year which will offer foundation skills to those who are new to the industry or wish to brush up on their foundation skills, as well as more advanced programmes for upskilling opportunities. Keep an eye out on our website and socials as these will be launching soon.
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