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An Inside Look at My Salon's COVID-19 Journey

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On March 19th, our state's governor ordered all personal care services to close their doors until further notice. As the owner of a hair salon and extension bar, I feared the thought of closing our doors and losing income but felt it was the right and responsible decision to assist our community in stopping the spread of COVID-19. Never in all my thoughts did I think we would remain closed for three months.

With each passing day, I anxiously watched every press conference awaiting the "all clear" from our governor, however, weeks turned into months and I began to consume myself with the overwhelming fear that I could lose my entire business and staff if we didn't open soon. I spent my days stockpiling PPE supplies for when we could reopen, applying for PPP loans, communicating with my accountant, emailing politicians, attending webinars, and checking in on both my staff and clients daily.

With each passing day, I anxiously watched every press conference awaiting the "all clear" from our governor, however, weeks turned into months and I began to consume myself with the overwhelming fear that I could lose my entire business and staff if we didn't open soon.

While I sat and listened to each conference where our governor would read off numbers of cases, I would often hear him use the term "data determines dates." I'm inquisitive by nature so I immediately wondered "who is the source of this data?"

I began to research statistics and spoke with many of my clients who are doctors and nurses on the front lines suiting up each day in the hospitals. I thought surely once we "flatten the curve," as the governor put it, we will begin to reopen our community and get back to work at the salon. As we approached mid-May, we did indeed flatten the curve and all the numbers had gone down significantly. We watched as our governor allowed select businesses to reopen and yet we, as salon professionals, were not provided the same opportunity.

You can't begin to imagine how frustrating it had been for those of us who hold a cosmetology license to sit back and watch other businesses be given the green light to open. Our industry requires 1,500 hours of theory and testing on cross-contamination, sterilization, disinfection, and disease control, as well as shop license requirements, which include sophisticated air ventilation systems, yet we were told that we must remain closed.

On June 22, all personal care services were finally given the green light to open for business. My staff and I were eager, extremely prepared, and ready to reopen our salon doors. As I mentioned earlier, I had taken advantage of the time the salon was closed and refit each and every station, our waiting area, and even our front desk and reception area so that we could accommodate the new social distancing guidelines set in place. I installed hand sanitizing stations, put up signage, and developed a mobile check-in and check-out system to provide as many contactless options we could think of.

You can't begin to imagine how frustrating it had been for those of us who hold a cosmetology license to sit back and watch other businesses be given the green light to open.

All of our staff were required to recertify themselves in sanitation and disinfection through one of the leading industry manufacturers on disease control, as well as attend webinars on how to adjust our line of work to fit in with the new COVID-19 restrictions. Our staff had weekly zoom meetings so we could brainstorm on how to approach our reopening as effectively as possible and yet still make our guests feel safe and relaxed.

On a happier note, we also took advantage of our free time and digitally engaged with our guests through social media live talks where we gave everyone an opportunity to see and hear from us directly. This last approach went over really well as most of our guests were feeling the same level of stress and anxiety to get back into the salon as we were.

Although the nature of the salon industry will always require stylists to be hands-on with our guests, I do see how some of the adjustments we have made could have a permanent place in the future of salons as a whole. For example, mobile check-in and check-out have been a big hit with our guests. They prefer to sit comfortably in their vehicle while waiting for their appointment and once they have completed all their services, they can choose to pay directly from their phones for a speedier check-out.

We've also implemented a book through text option that has been a big hit with all our guests, as well. One of the biggest changes I can see sticking around indefinitely is the 1:1 booking requirement set in place by our licensing board. This adjustment prohibits your stylist from "double booking" an additional guest while an existing client has their color processing to help control the occupancy limit restrictions that have been put in place due to COVID-19.

The minor inconveniences, such as wearing a mask and having your temperature checked, are a small price to pay in return for a day of what I think is most definitely an essential industry in our world.

Although this does affect the ticket sales each stylist can make throughout the day, we do notice that the clients are responding positively to the one on one experience they are getting with their stylists. I can see these adjustments having a permanent home within the future of the salon industry post-COVID-19.

Overall, most clients and stylists are so grateful to get back to both doing and having our hair done. The minor inconveniences, such as wearing a mask and having your temperature checked, are a small price to pay in return for a day of what I think is most definitely an essential industry in our world.

3 min read
Lifestyle

Help! My Friend Is a No Show

Email armchairpsychologist@swaaymedia.com to get the advice you need!

Help! My Friend Is a No Show

Dear Armchair Psychologist,

I have a friend who doesn't reply to my messages about meeting for dinner, etc. Although, last week I ran into her at a local restaurant of mine, it has always been awkward to be friends with her. Should I continue our friendship or discontinue it? We've been friends for a total four years and nothing has changed. I don't feel as comfortable with her as my other close friends, and I don't think I'll ever be able to reach that comfort zone in pure friendship.

-Sadsies

Dear Sadsies,

I am sorry to hear you've been neglected by your friend. You may already have the answer to your question, since you're evaluating the non-existing bond between yourself and your friend. However, I'll gladly affirm to you that a friendship that isn't reciprocated is not a good friendship.



I have had a similar situation with a friend whom I'd grown up with but who was also consistently a very negative person, a true Debby Downer. One day, I just had enough of her criticism and vitriol. I stopped making excuses for her and dumped her. It was a great decision and I haven't looked back. With that in mind, it could be possible that something has changed in your friend's life, but it's insignificant if she isn't responding to you. It's time to dump her and spend your energy where it's appreciated. Don't dwell on this friend. History is not enough to create a lasting bond, it only means just that—you and your friend have history—so let her be history!



- The Armchair Psychologist

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