Sat | Sep 23, 2017

Marlon Phillips is a cut above the others

Published:Monday | April 18, 2016 | 4:00 AM
Winning barber Marlon Phillips applies the finishing touches to his model’s hairstyle during the JN Fantasy round of the JNSBL Barber and Beauty Challenge.
Marlon Phillips (right), winning barber in the JN Small Business Loans (JNSBL) Barber and Beauty Challenge, receives a replica of his cheque from Gillian Hyde, general manager of JNSBL, at the finals of the competition on Sunday, April 10, at the National Indoor Sports Centre.

When Marlon Phillips finished third in the inaugural 2015 JN Small Business Loans (JNSBL) Barber and Beauty Challenge and Expo, he promised himself to improve his ranking.

On Sunday, April 10, he delivered on that promise by winning the barbers' section of the 2016 edition at the National Indoor Sports Centre. Phillips emerged ahead of Caecilius Edwards and Avril Simpson. Phillips also won $500,000.

"Last year, I promised myself that if there was another competition, I would do better. And, when I made it to the finals, I did my research to confirm what the judges' required for the various rounds. Today, I am happy because I really planned and did my best," Phillips said. A barber for eight years, he said he gained extensive knowledge from the competition workshops, and was happy he would now be certified by the HEART Trust/NTA.

"I learnt about business management last year and that gave me confidence to open my own shop. This year, my wife encouraged me to enter again and do my best. I am glad that I took her advice because I have learnt more about financial planning, and with the certification from the HEART, it means I can practise elsewhere," he said. Phillips established Barbers Fa Christ in Spanish Town, St Catherine, last year, and is currently planning to grow the business with his prize money.


"I am thinking about a bigger and better location, given the demand for quality service in the beauty industry, and I will deliver as best as I can," he said.

In the hairdressing competition, Kadie-Ann Brown won first place and $500,000. Marsha Robinson was second, and last year's winner Lakayda Brown finished third. Make-up artist Shaphawa Hylton, the youngest competitor in that category, won the competition, receiving $200,000. Kay-Ann McKenzie finished second, and Nicola Johnson third. In the nail technician category, Marsha-Gay Edwards triumphed over Maxine Whitely and Felicia Bailey. Edwards won $200,000. Gillian Hyde, general manager for JNSBL, commended the entrants.

"I am particularly gratified to see the level of talent and enthusiasm which everyone displayed. I am even more pleased that the competition drew more beauty practitioners to improve their skills," she said.

"I have no doubt that they will contribute to growing the industry, which will benefit their community and the wider economy," Hyde said. "We initiated this competition to improve the industry and create a culture of competence, as well as to ensure that more persons achieve national qualifications, and based on this year's event, it seems to be working."