new normal hair salon
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What Does the New Normal Look Like for You and Your Hair Salon?

by laurahusband / last updated July 10, 2020

As hair salons, barbershops and freelancers slowly reopen throughout the UK , HJ asks salon owners to share what the new normal looks like for you and your teams and what you’ve learned from the first few days of reopening your hair salon business…

1. The new normal: Clients arriving on time for appointments

Mikey Pearson from Manifesto Men’s Hairdressing in Coal Drops Yard & Leather Lane, London is thrilled with how smoothly the first few days have been with clients arriving on time for their appointments.

“We’ve already learned so much from our first two days back in the salon. Number one is how smoothly it has gone with clients arriving on time, which means they can enjoy the full client experience. All the hard work and preparation for opening has so far paid off and we’ve received great support and trust from our clients and staff.

On the whole everything has gone smoothly so far but an important delivery was slightly delayed. This was not a problem for opening as we were able to resolve the issue as a team.

2. The new normal in your hair salon: Learning to solve the mystery of the misty visor

Tim Scott Wright

Tim Scott-Wright salon owner at The Hair Surgery says it felt like he was opening his business from scratch on Saturday and the biggest challenge was helping a team member with a misty visor.

“I felt nervous the night before reopening but we had done everything possible to put the safety measures in place to protect our team and clients. Thankfully, everything went to plan, and we’ve received lots of positive feedback from our customers.

The staff are in PPE and our juniors are constantly cleaning and sweeping away hair. We did have one issue where a team member was struggling with her visor, saying that everything was a bit misty, but we realised that she hadn’t peeled the plastic film off! Other than that, everything ran smoothly!”

3. The new normal: Clients showing their appreciation more than ever

Debonair Hair Studio
Laura Willmot and Laraine Kiddle,  salon owners at Debonair Hair Studio have been overwhelmed by their clients’ response to seeing them again.
“We’ve realised over the past few days that our lovely clients think of us as much as we do them. We’ve learned from the first two days back that our clients feel very safe, welcomed and appreciate our commitment to keeping a safe environment. Our clients have also been a great help by doing their part to help us.”
The duo have found all aspects regarding safety and client wellbeing have gone really well with a great response.
Laura and Laraine add: “Unfortunately what didn’t work well was the fact we had to lose some appointments as we were not willing to risk safety due to overcrowding of staff and clients within the salon.”

4. The new normal: Making the most of extra time between appointments

Brothers and Sisters
Rachel Knight, salon owner at Brothers and Sisters has found the extra time between client appointments has been a real eye opener and it’s something she may keep.
She says: “Having the time to prepare before the client arrives makes the job so much easier and enjoyable and ultimately even more professional. We all feel the systems work and we’ve had wonderful feedback from our clients about the price increase and surcharge too. We feel our clear communication with clients before and during the service along with our proactive and professional staff are the reason for our systems working well and being received with such a great response.”
She adds: “Staff have an end of service checklist to help remind them on what to clean that may be missed, this is followed after every service and prepares them for the next client. At the end of each service and after payment we collect the client’s coat and make sure their route is clear for them to exit. Then we begin our end of service deep clean checklist which we have 15 minutes to complete.”

5. The new normal: Offering a VIP client experience

Broadst

Wayne Hill and his sister Tracey Turner, owners of Broadst, a salon group in the south west are keen to give each of their clients a great experience that makes them feel pampered and like a VIP.

“Many of the little touches we previously supplied have gone – the refreshment menu and the luxurious waiting areas have been removed for the time being so our goal is to ensure every appointment is slick and professional – everything clients would expect from a Broadst salon. We’ve made it work by setting up a centralised booking system which is integral to the management of our client bookings. We use the online booking system from iSalon to take payments for services ensuring less contact and keeping no shows to a minimum.”

The duo has installed hand sanitiser along with tissues and a bin at each VIP position and the WIFI code is visible on each mirror with each client being given their own plastic cup and bottle of water.

6. The new normal: Marketing being based on salon hygiene

Errol Douglas London

Errol Douglas, salon owner at Errol Douglas London says you name it – his salon has done it, so much so that his salon has been awarded a 5-star Salon Hygiene Standard from the Salon Standards Agency.

 We have clients now waiting outside the salon prior to their appointment, their temperatures are taken when they come through the door and they wash/sanitise their hands. Clients are gowned up and shown to their ‘booth’ where throughout their visit they have one to one attention with the operator and my goodness – they are loving it.

The only negative is that I’ve been appalled by the number of clients who have turned up to the salon without a mask. We are charging for them – they are high quality, reusable masks but we have received quite a negative response from clients who a) do not wish to wear a mask and b) do not want to pay for one!”

7. The new normal: Clients forgetting they need to stay safe

Guy Kremer

Guy Kremer, salon owner at Guy Kremer has already noticed that the team is more anxious about client safety than the clients themselves.

“It’s been fantastic as clients feel closer and warmer than ever and have been so loyal to us so it’s great to see them all again. However, you do really need to ensure that clients are happy to wait outside, prior to their appointment. I think they more or less forget and just come charging in – and run up to us to give us a hug, which of course, is not allowed.”

8. The new normal: The team loving their new shorter shift patterns

Kain Lawrence

Kain Lawrence, general manager at Q Hair and Beauty Group says his team are loving the new shifts.

“We have two teams, team A who work from 7:30am to 1:30pm and we close the salon for 30 minutes to clean the building and then team B works from 2pm to 8pm. The team are busy but the days aren’t as long and draining. This means the team walk out the door feeling happy and full of energy.”

He adds: “The journey we have created is not only functional but enjoyable and safe and the guests love it – they feel safe and trust that we have thought of absolutely everything.”

9. The new normal: PPE making you feel hot, hot, hot

Gem

Gem Jones, the director at Taylor Rose Hair Extensions London is working hard to stay hydrated as she’s found PPE can lead to dehydration and feeling hotter than usual because of the added layers around the face.

“To avoid a headache choose your visor well and try them on for a couple of hours before proceeding to wear the same one all day. Choose an anti fog version and if you’re struggling to see out of it, remember they usually have a layer of plastic either side of the shield that needs to be removed before wearing. Take lots of mini breaks so you can take the face mask off to avoid hypoxia so schedule this into the day. Soak your hands in moisturiser at night and put gloves on over the top to help it soak in as they will have been washed and loaded up with sanitising gel to the hilt!”

10. The new normal: Creating calm vibes

Marcello Moccia

Marcello Moccia at Room 97 Creative, Leeds and Wakefield loves the new structure and calm vibes the team has created throughout the salon.
He says: “I think everyone was a little bit apprehensive about the new changes that would be in place when we opened, but we are actually loving the new organised calmness throughout the salons. The team have been amazing and have really stepped up and client’s comments and feedback have been so positive making all the work we did worthwhile. We implemented social distancing measures and full PPE for all our team, supplying individual PPE packs for our clients. This has particularly gone down very well as our clients feel their safety is a priority and means they can enjoy the experience. We’ve ensured everyone has a smile on their face and the ambience is uplifting, warm and positive. We’ve only been working a few days but we have already got used to the visors and the social distancing measures, it seems like we have been working this way forever!”

11. The new normal: Cleaning, cleaning and cleaning some more

Bruno Marc Giamattei, director at the Marc Antoni Group says his team is doing everything as per the government guidelines and lots more cleaning!

“The first day was weird, it felt like your first day working in a salon – there was a little bit apprehension and some nerves. It was a really quick day and everything went to plan. At the end of the day we all sat down together and spoke about it – how surreal it was and how much cleaning we did!”

12. The new normal: Some things shouldn’t change

Mark Leeson

Richard Darby, director at Mark Leeson Salons says the team initially tried working without cutting collars because it was just something else to be sanitised, however he quickly realised cutting collars made life easier.

“We found it was actually easier with the cutting collars so they are now back in operation and on a strict one-use only basis. We have covered all the necessary Covid-19 requirements but we didn’t want the salons to look too clinical or like everywhere else. We personalised our signage and markings and made them blend with the salon ethos and clients have loved the way it looks and have commented that they appreciate our efforts. We’ve also increased our opening hours to accommodate the team being able to work full time over a six day week and also to accommodate all our guests to enable us to schedule appointments as quickly as we can to our priority guests who missed appointments through the lockdown period.”

13. The new normal: Creating a one to one client experience

Mewies and Co
Dan Mewies, founder of Mewies & Co in Mountsorrel, Leicestershire has taken it back to a one to one client experience with a private room for each client, which clients love. However, it does mean the team needs to ensure there is enough equipment on hand in each room.
He says: “The staff visors are difficult to work with due to glare so keeping them clean is essential and with hindsight we should have had two or three for each stylist. However, overall we have drawn on research from European salons and advice from industry peers and we’re confident we’re providing our clients with a safe and premium experience. Plus, adding an extra 30 minutes to colour services has reduced our staff worries and helped them feel at ease in the salon.”

14. The new normal: Not everyone is doing what they should

Joe and Co
Joe Mills, salon owner at Joe & Co, Soho, London has found not every salon and barbershop is doing what they should be doing.

He says: “Our staff and clients have an expectation and we are going above and beyond that expectation which they appreciate and that is amazing. The reopening is going well from an operational perspective for us. We are fully booked but the demand is higher than we can accommodate. What happens over the next few weeks will be crucial. Our capacity is down over the week so we are monitoring the turnover and waiting to see what happens and what and when we can change things.”

15. The new normal: Learning to adapt is essential

Natasha Grossman, general manager at HOB Salons believes the pandemic has taught us is is that as long as you can adapt in these unprecedented times, then there is no reason we can’t not only recover, but thrive once this has passed.

She says: “There may be some hiccups along the way but I’ve learned how valued we are as hairdressers and the joy and happiness we have been able to provide to our clients has been incredible. We’ve always known that the biggest asset to our 37-year business is our team, but we also don’t have a business without all of our wonderful clients. We intend on doing everything we can to continue to make our team and our clients feel safe and secure, but to also look and feel as fantastic as possible.”

16: The new normal: Following new systems

Nocco

Corey Taylor from NOCO Hair says the first Saturday back was a record day for the team but everything ran like clockwork because the team worked together and followed the new systems.

Corey explains: “Systems and team work equals smooth runnings. Prior to reopening we spent a lot of time putting systems in place. We are lucky enough to have a great team that can implement these systems while still ensuring each and every guest is looked after. These first couple of days back in the salon have reminded me just how important our job is! It’s such a humbling feeling to be in a position to make people feel so much better about themselves!”

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