What Does the New Normal Look Like for You and Your Hair Salon?
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 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
4. The new normal: Making the most of extra time between appointments
5. The new normal: Offering a VIP client experience
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, 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, 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, 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 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
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
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
14. The new normal: Not everyone is doing what they should
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.
16: The new normal: Following new systems
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!”