Ursula Wallace started her hair salon seven years ago with just herself and another apprentice.
Her business now employs 12 people and received the Radio Network Small Business Award at the recent Nelson Tasman Chamber of Commerce Business Awards.
Ursula says she entered at the urging of Jane McSpirit from Westpac, and Michelle McCree who is the events and operations manager of the chamber of commerce.
The death of her father shortly before the entry was due meant she nearly did not finish her entry, but she says that in the end she rallied herself and the salon worked together to prepare the entry.
"I'm so glad I did."
On top of the small business award the hair salon took home the Nelson Pine Industries Service Excellence Award and the New Zealand King Salmon Investing in People and Skills Award.
Ursula was pleased her team's hard work was recognised at the awards and says she is thrilled to get the service excellence award. Customer service is a particular passion.
"I'm a bit of a service freak . . . we work really hard on that."
She was also particularly happy to get the investing in people award especially as she was up against Glenn Roberts Electrical and Scott Construction in that category.
She says watching the apprentices come in keen but inexperienced and watching them gain confidence, qualifications and seeing the amazing work they produce is really fulfilling.
"It just seems to be this positive cycle that keeps working. It's been really neat to watch them grow."
She was looking forward to receiving feedback from the judges to see what areas the business could grow in.
This year the business opened the Express Style Bar allowing customers to come in and get their hair styled, including curled, straightened or styled up when they need to.
Ursula says the bar is the first in the South Island and is inspired by the dry bars in Europe and the United States.