The coronavirus global pandemic shut down cities and countries with people forced indoors all around the world. Lockdown guidelines were laid out as people went into self-quarantine for their safety and to decrease the spread of the virus.
The pandemic had adverse effects on all business sectors. Quarantine and isolation cut people from their daily life activities with immediate and imminent effects. Most people lost their means of livelihood and social support systems as the virus took a toll on businesses.
The hair salons and barbershops industry being a close contact service provider were affected tremendously by the coronavirus. In an attempt to slow the virus spread, governments banned hair salons and barbershop operations. Caring for the human body has both physical and social ties to people. It has been difficult for people to maintain their appearance structuring routines. People need these services to proclaim their identities and have a sense of self.
State of salons and barbershops
This industry is an intimate environment. The nature of hairstylists’ jobs involves being in constant contact with people. The hairstylist massages your hair and always leans closer for precision. This, however, was thrown out with a six-foot social distancing protocol. Most hair salons and barbershops closed or were forced to cut down their staff and reduce the capacity of their clients to cope with the times.
The hairstyling industry had salon and barbershop owners feeling financial pressure and therefore had to change swiftly to counter the turbulent times they were experiencing. Finances were affected by forced closures leading to mass loss of earnings and profits. From the onset of the virus, it was difficult for stylists to balance forced regulations and the desires and needs of their clients.
The coronavirus experience made salon and barbershop owners rethink their business approach as the industry was greatly affected and had to transform to cope. To stay afloat and keep earning during and after the pandemic, different transformations took place in the industry with a major shift to digital and online engagement.
The hairstyling industry is not only about creativity and identity but also a business. The industry has been greatly transformed by the coronavirus both for consumers of these services and the providers. Most businesses in the industry are on a self-employment basis and without the work-from-home option and government aid to support these people it is devastating for the business owners and their employees. The article highlights the various transformations that took place in the hair salons and barbershops due to the coronavirus.
Coronavirus restrictions such as social distancing and increased hygiene guidelines limited the capacity of services provided to clients with only a few people received by these premises. This pushed salons and barbershops to shift their operations online. The industry had to embrace digital platforms to diversify their services to create more income and overcome service barriers like social distancing and also ensure the safety of the stylists.
Salons and barbershops turned to social media to help maintain their customer relations and drive more sales. Social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram have always been at the forefront for hair and beauty consumers. Salon and barbershop owners are using these platforms to build their business brands, interest and create new opportunities for sales.
These platforms are essential channels of reassuring consumers of the premises’ safety measures thereby appealing to clients concerned about their safety. Advertising by social media platforms allows for hyper-targeting with a wider audience.
Hair salons and barbershops started e-commerce business operations. The restrictions led to embracing new ideas to push sales. Salons and barbershops started the sale of aftercare products to their customers. Even with the lockdown businesses could still make sales and serve their clients, ensuring active clients.
Hair and beauty professionals developed creative means of serving their clients and customers. They offer hair products and DIY hair colour kits online. They also provide consultations by telephone, virtual tutorials, and life advice. The industry has been exploiting technology to keep in contact with clients. Some salons are considering the development of their line of products to sell nationwide and not just locally to increase revenue stream.
Rent a salon
Salon rental services increased due to the pandemic. People search for a salon for rent near me. Occupyd made salon rental easy by providing a space where people can browse for salons and treatment rooms that suit them online. One can rent a beauty room or a hairdressing chair.
Occupyd is a community-based service provider and has no hidden fees or charges. Instead, it provides flexible commercial space access for connecting consumers with space owners. The biggest challenge one has is matching their budget to the workspace they need and the reflection it has on your expertise, time, and skills. Occupyd is flexible and provides long-term commitment options. The online space has ensured the beauty industry’s bounce back from the pandemic effects with stylists and owners able to rent salons near them and provide services to their clients while acquiring new ones.
Covid fee introduction
Some salons introduced a Covid fee to help keep them afloat. Rearranging the salons to adhere to the coronavirus guidelines was costly. Accommodating the restriction guidelines meant fewer clients could receive services at a time with allowance time for sterilization and cleaning in between.
There are costs of PPE, Perspex installation, and social distancing markers. The Covid fee was aimed at covering the costs of making the business spaces safe for clients. Stylists have to wear masks at all times and also protective visors. Complementary services like beverages and magazines were temporarily abolished.
The industry had to cut most of its staff with reduced clientele. The remaining staff had their bonuses stripped off and in some cases received pay cuts. With a reduction in the client capacity that can receive services at a time, even the working hours of employees were reduced to accommodate the guidelines.
Staying open around the clock
Salons had to improvise to maintain their cash flow with the capacity of clients reduced. Staying open throughout is one way they ensured the provision of services to their clients. Salons and barbershops had long waiting lists and clients did not mind going in for a service at any time of the day or night.
Freelance services or in-home visits
Most hairstylists embraced freelancing as a flexible approach to keeping their revenue up. They complemented the freelance services by relying on mobile services for the referral of clients and maintaining clients. The stylists go to their client’s homes to deliver the freelance services at an increased fee to cater for their transportation costs.
Freelance fees are much higher than the normal salon rates and most stylists do not feel like returning to salons as freelancing proved more profitable and flexible. Most people are also choosing to receive these services at the comfort of their homes where they feel safe and with their favorite stylist.
The Covid restrictions led to fewer clients and this led to a more streamlined menu. Services that took longer hours were stripped off the menu with new services introduced that took less time but still provided clients with the best services they needed.
Hairstylists becoming consumers’ product advisers
With people under quarantine and social distancing protocols taking effect, people could not visit salons and instead turned to their hairstylists for product advice. Hairdressers shifted to advisors by helping consumers find the best products and helping them with tutorials on how to work their DIY hairstyling kits. This helped consumers to continue maintaining and styling their hair at home.