Jess Kennelly and her team from The Parlour in Priory Crescent won South East Salon of the Year at The 9th English Health and Beauty Awards in London.
They were among more than 450 hair and beauty professionals who gathered to hear the prestigious awards announced at the glittering black tie event at The Thistle Hotel.
Jess, a former City of Portsmouth College apprentice, said: ‘I was really shocked because there were 11 salons in the category and four of them were big London salons.
‘Our salon is only small, only six of us work there including me.’
The Parlour was shortlisted thanks to client nominations online, after which Jess submitted a video with a slide show to showcase her team’s work.
Jess said: ‘I’d like to say a massive thank you to all our clients for voting for us, to my staff for all their hard work and to my dad for lending me the money to open the salon five years ago.’
Jess completed her apprenticeship at City of Portsmouth College 11 years ago and is now at the cutting edge of her profession.
The hairdresser has fond memories of her time at college, and has retained strong links with the hair and beauty department.
She added: ‘I loved college, the teachers are the best.
‘I regularly offer students work experience placements in the salon and love helping them develop their skills and grow their confidence.
‘I also always recommend City of Portsmouth College if someone is looking for an apprenticeship.’
In 2019, Jess featured on BBC TV for The Parlour’s involvement with the Red Box Project to end period poverty.
Sarah Warren, director of learning for Young People and former sector lead for hairdressing at City of Portsmouth College, said: ‘Jess was a wonderful student and really worked hard to achieve her dreams.
‘We’re all very proud of her achievements and all that she does for us to promote this important sector in the community and beyond’.