How do you personally feel about still not being allowed to open?
Personally I’m slightly disappointed, but I'm relieved that we aren’t allowed to open the salon yet because it gives the public an opportunity to gain confidence in the new social distancing 1 metre rule when they are out and about. So hopefully by the time the Salons like mine are allowed to re-open. The public will have acclimatise to the new way of doing things and will feel confident entering the salon whilst having to deal with our close contact services.
I personally have maximised the time off and used this opportunity to work on my business. As soon as my salon went into lock down. I found and studied every free course online based on the Beauty Industry to grow my knowledge.
I have also used the lock down period to help other salon owners struggling to make profits with their salons by offering them my coaching and mentoring service which has entailed me setting up a self-made free business course for salon owners. The goal is that by taking up my course, these salon owners will put systems in place in their salons that will enable them to eventually work on their businesses more from home and spend less time in their business premises whilst seeing an increase in their salon's profits. The feedback and reviews that I have received from over 200 salon owners from all over the UK who have participated in my courses has been amazing!
Have you made preparations to be Covid-ready and what measures have you got in place?
Yes, I have written a new risk assessment guideline for my salon based on the new risk of Covid-19. I researched, studied and completed an online course which taught me the correct way to use PPE. I also studied a refresher course on how to reduce cross infection. As medical aestheticians, this is something that is standard in our industry.
We now have posters up in our salon detailing the guidelines about what we require from our clients. The posters instruct the clients where the hand washing signs are around the clinic, it tells them where the free standing automatic sanitiser is. Which is based at the entrance of the salon. I have ordered extra PPE visors and reusable washable masks. We already used gloves, aprons and disposable masks in some of our advanced procedures, so it’s not much of a change for us. The cleaning procedures of our treatments will change slightly, as we are increasing disinfection procedures. We always use new towels, bedding and couch rolls for every single client, so this will not change.
We also use separate hand towels for clients washing their hands, so this procedure will remain the same.
How much of an impact has the closure had on your business?
It has had a huge effect on the financial side of my business because we were one of the first businesses to close and will be one of the last to reopen.
The March takings of the salon was severely affected by COVID-19 and we have lost 4 months worth of takings and profits. I’m trying not to be too fearful about cash flow once we re-open. We have many clients ￼￼who pay in advance for their treatments and these are the people that we rightfully want to prioritise when doing our first bookings. So I envision that the salon will be operating full time with minimal income for the first few months of re-opening while we try to catch up and clear the backlog of pre-booked clients. I am mindful of the effect this might have on the business.
Have you had to furlough staff/received Govt grants?
Yes, all of my staff have been furloughed including myself. I am glad that I’ve set up my business so that we were able to use the scheme. I’m so grateful that this scheme was put in place, because my business and my staff would not have been able to survive the lock down. My salon also received the business grant from the government which has helped us with costs of rent for 3 months and wages that were due in March. The business grant has also helped to cover costs that have not stopped, such as phone bills, insurance, accountancy fees, internet, electric, etc.
Is it especially surprising/frustrating that hairdressers can open from July 4 but beauty clinics like yours cannot?
Yes, it’s extremely surprising that the two sectors have been separated. As an industry, the hair and beauty industries have always been classed as one sector which is widely known as “ The Hair & Beauty Industry”. So hearing that hairdressers can go back and beauty, nails and aesthetics have to wait. It is very frustrating. Some beauty and nail businesses weren’t able to take advantage of the furlough scheme and weren’t able to get grants to help them. So they are really desperate to get back to work.
What would your message to the Government be?
My message to the government would be, to thank them for the support package that they gave to my business.
With Rishi Sunak saying that the government will do whatever it takes to get our industry up and running again. I hope sooner rather than later. We are given a date of when we can reopen, so that we can better manage our clients, cashflow, staff and bills.
With no income, we are still having to pay bills and huge rents whilst we are closed. Will the government give our industry extra financial support to help us to cover this additional period that we have been instructed to remain closed?