We know it’s just – somehow – August, but 2020 has seemingly stretched not even eight months into what feels like a decade, and there’s been a lot of challenges amongst it, for the salon industry and the world at large.
So in the interest of injecting some positivity into your feed, timeline, inbox and mindset, there are still some major positives we’re taking out of 2020 and the way the salon industry has responded to the difficulties of this year. Time to reflect on the good and pat yourselves on the back for the resiliency, adaptability and business savvy we’ve all collectively showcased as a salon community.
1. Hair salons have shown why they’re essential
Throughout Aussie lockdowns, hair salons were given the rare privilege of staying open beyond other businesses and services, until Melbourne’s critical stage 4 lockdown. If anyone was wondering why, check on the extreme response of clients spending a bit of time away from the salon (that is, home hair mishaps, unfortunate cut and colour grow outs and a huge reliance on home maintenance kits, education and techniques delivered by salons). Most salons were and are fortunate to choose to stay open or close depending on their individual situation and, while that has delivered its own complexities, it’s spoken to the significance of the industry. For the salons that have closed by law or choice, it just takes a couple of missed appointments or a wrong turn with the scissors for your clients to never, ever take you for granted ever again. Safe to say they never will.
2. The salon community has proven its resilience
The inspiring stories abound through our local and national salon community. Businesses have not just worked with every strategic and practical tool they have to stay afloat, they’ve given back, cared for frontline workers and clients who have lost their jobs and shown the heart and soul of this thriving community.
3. Innovation has been born from hardships
A large part of that resilience has been the innovation, ingenuity and business savvy shown by salons to adjust to, and thrive in, these new circumstances. Whether it was home hair kits and YouTube or FaceTime tutorials explaining them, new practices for online events and education, personalised services to cater to clients in new, efficient ways and technological initiatives and communication keeping clients constantly in contact in smart ways, the hair salon community has continued to grow flowers out of a garden of rocks.
4. Salon solidarity has been apparent beyond physical togetherness
While we’ve sadly missed Hair Expo, the Australian Hair Fashion Awards, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia and so many more brand and industry events, the spirit of community, solidarity and camaraderie has remain intact. Online education and Instagram live content flourished in the early days of the pandemic, showing just how strongly this community connects, even with social distancing. Since then, hair shows and tutorials, international virtual events and even social media trivia nights have kept the global community spirit alive.
5. Hairdressers have been a consistent and rare bright spark for clients
Hair salons are used to being places that bring joy, sending clients out the door with a refreshing experience and confidence-building new look, but in 2020 this has been more true than ever. For most lockdowns, with other businesses closed and social distancing imperative, hairdressers have provided a rare outing, in-person conversation and exciting activity for clients. Beyond that, transformations have been trending and clients have been swapping the holiday they had to forgo for a massive change, putting the power of their mood that day, week or month, squarely in the salon’s hands.
The vibe of 2020 is clear. Feelings can be low and situations can be tough, that’s why it’s important to remember the client experience has never been more important – lifting spirits, providing an escape from the real world and injecting some needed difference into a monotonous year. This is true now, if you can operate, or whenever your salon doors can re-open.
Remember the smart strategies, camaraderie and toughness that makes this industry so special – and never forget your power behind the chair.