COVID pandemic has caused economic disaster around the world. Social distancing has proven disastrous for beauty and salon industry where professionals make a living by touching and working on clients. The beauty and salon industry is one sector that is bound to experience a tectonic transformation. The very basis of salon is touch where it has become a bad word today. This wouldn’t mean that we would wither away as people would still want to “Feel Good”.
Problems during the lockdown
Problems like location rent, employees salary and vendor payments don’t disappear just because of COVID. We as a salon struggled to pay rents and employees salary with minimal cash reserve. Weeks of shutdown and order to stay home, our hairstylists, beauticians and masseuses struggled financially.
Managing the Lockdown
Managing the lockdown financially is the biggest challenge for the salon fraternity. With clients really thinking twice to visit a salon is a big question. Though we are now living in a strange new world connected via whatsapp, Zoom, Instagram etc. we have created a virtual training platform for our staff to kill the boredom and prepare them to attend the clients with a new zest and skills to give them a new look. We have reworked the entire lockdown with new training programs, precautionary measures post lockdown and have discovered new ways to manage services keeping in mind social distancing. We have connected to our clients virtually for any homecare requirements, quick to do home tips for hair, skin and body. Our MD Sonia Vohra ran an entire session with us showing homemade face packs from available things in our kitchen. We have created individual kits for our clients which they could use at salon once we open. We have continuously been in touch with them so that there is excitement rather than fear when we reopen.
Preparing for our future
In normal times, change is ever present in the background. It hums steadily and slowly. This crisis will pass and all of us will learn to adapt new methods of working, new patterns of consumption and new ways to interact with people.
While home care might become popular but nothing can replace the power of practitioners at the salon. We know how to make people look good and feel good from within. There would be health, economic and regulatory pressure for us to function. Every salon would have to prep themselves to start using disposable items for their clients, disinfect floor and all working surfaces. Hygiene was always our priority but going forward, it would be an OCD for us to stop spread of infections. Obviously, the well-heeled customer wouldn’t complain if we were to increase our prices given our increased overheads. We would be seeing a stronger and fitter beauty industry with new expectation of clients while retaining care and empathy.
Change is always for better.