In times of crisis, it’s natural to want to scroll the endless stream of news, watch all the live updates, social media posts and comment threads. But for most people, this can be anxiety-inducing and overwhelming, especially the articles theorising and speculating on what effect the COVID-19 pandemic will have on businesses and the Australian economy.
From the tide of information over the last couple of weeks, we have pulled together a few comments from key industry leaders, to hopefully give you some insight and perspective.
Craig Geerssen, Sales Manager ANZ at Shortcuts Software
Craig has been a permanent fixture in the hair and beauty world for 25 years, and has seen the industry weather a few storms. This is one storm he can see blue sky at the end of, and his message to business owners is to stay strong and carry on.
“The industry has been through tough times before, and we’ll come through this too,” he said.
“The most important thing for salon owners and barbers to remember through this is that now, more than ever, you need to be ready for what’s to come and be ready to kick arse on the other side of it. If you need to shut shop – look at what you can do to create cash while you’re closed. Virtual consults, ramping up your retail through things like Facebook and online shops if you have them, gift cards for when you reopen – most importantly, stay connected to your clients.”
“Make sure you’re in their face – every day, getting on Instagram and telling them what you’re up to. Post on Facebook, give them updates of what you’re doing and when they can see you again. Shortcuts has some great marketing tools, check out the COVID-19 Resource Hub (available to anyone in the industry) or get in touch with the 24/7 Helpdesk if you need a hand getting it set up. Now more than ever, you need to make sure your clients remember you.”
“We are all feeling this and we are in it together. Sending all my love and support to all of you.“
Sandy Chong, CEO of the AHC
Sandy Chong, a familiar face to all hairdressers and CEO of the Australian Hairdressing Council (AHC) told the media that the spread of COVID-19 is adding to an already extensive list of serious concerns for the hairdressing and beauty industry in Australia.
Providing updates via video on the AHC Facebook page, Sandy says it is salon owners’ responsibility to ensure hygiene and cleanliness is prioritised.
“I’m a hairdresser and I have my own business. I have the same concerns as you. I feel anxious for my clients, for my staff, and also for my community. It’s our responsibility to make sure that we are all in a safe environment.”
“Every single client deserves to be in a safe salon if they’re going to visit your salon. So every one of you is responsible and accountable for doing the right thing, right now, in adhering to all work and safety measures that have been put in place.”
Sandy also encourages salon owners to be on top of their marketing and communication during this time. “Your clients must know how serious you are about your business,” she said.
“You want clients to know that you have stepped up in all work health and safety practices. You want them to know what your policies and procedures are, so you must get those messages out.”
Mark Rippon, General Manager of the Hair and Beauty Industry Association (HBIP)
Mark Rippon told the media* that they have been taking calls from members constantly since Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s announcement on Sunday evening. His advice – follow the health and safety instructions from the government.
“We are supporting the government guidelines and ensuring our members are informed, educated and supported in following hygiene, sanitation and distancing guidelines…Hairdressers and beauticians have been very proactive and there is a real awareness about creating a very safe environment.’
And how will the industry be affected in the long term? Mark looks to the economic downturns experienced in the early 1990s as an indication.
‘Hairdressing and beauty services are one of the things people still will afford, rather than buy big ticket items they will go and get their hair done,’ Mark said.
‘In a recession we are all looking to look better and feel good about ourselves so my experience was people push appointments out but maybe kept regular appointments in salons.’
Stories from the salons:
Around the world, we’re seeing different countries bring in different levels of restrictions for businesses. We chatted to a few salon, barbershop and spa owners to hear how they’ve been affected.
Tarryn Cherniayeff, MOB Hair posted an emotional video on her Instagram, explaining her recent decision to close their doors to keep her team safe.
“It’s a hard decision to make, but it’s for the best, and we’ll bounce back from it. We’re really lucky we have a really good landlord, and he believes in what’s going on in the world right now and he wants things to work in our favour as well as his. Look after your team, because they’re the ones that look after you as well, every day. I just wouldn’t feel right if one of my girls got sick, knowing that it was at work.”
Emma from C’Ba Hair spoke to us about the struggle with the unknown future, and what will happen if business drops off.
This is quite personal, but my wages cost over $10,000 each week. I’m a single, 30 year old female… I can’t sustain that personally forever if we have no guests.
Mikey Denton from Brick & Mortar Barbershop in Portland (USA) has an eternally-positive attitude.
“Businesses probably will go under because of this. What’s cool is, my business could close down and that very same day I could go and start cutting at another shop, or in my garage. Nothing can stop me… unless this virus cuts my hands off.”
And Nicola from In Therapy beauty salon in Brisbane knows that while we’re in the belly of the beast, your team is always your best asset. “This is a time where you better thank god that you’ve got a strong team that have your back because you’re going to have to make some really tough decisions.”
Also – check out the latest episode of The Grit Behind the Glam podcast, where we talk to a few of these guys in more depth.
*Source: The Daily Mail, Tuesday 24 March