We asked a collective of L’Oréal Professional Products Division partner salons how they weathered closures and restrictions, uncovering some of the innovative ways they adapted to cope.

L’Oréal Professional Products Division x Piiq

Helen Owens – Tigerlamb

What did you initially feel when restrictions hit? What was your biggest fear?

This was the most confronting period of my 30 year hairdressing career. Leading four salons and their full teams through to a stand down was a rollercoaster of emotions for myself and the Tigerlamb team. The government regulations were changing quickly and we had a team of accountants and a lawyer in action to keep up with guidelines. We called it operation: ‘You’re Kidding Me..’ We were numb, outraged, confused, uncertain, apprehensive and sometimes defeated. My biggest fear was panic breaking loose and bad decisions being made. As hard as times were getting, I didn’t feel particularly that I would lose my business but I could feel the agitation as the industry turned on itself, some of the public turned on salons and people were fearing for their families lives.

How did Redken help keep you inspired through uncertain times?

Redken was outstanding from the beginning. As a team their message was consistent that they were committed to continuing to support us in any way that we needed. Within days, Redken had coordinated a Digital Academy as well as an online Business School that we could have our teams participate in a few times a week. They supported us with a ‘Digital Tool Kit’ that gave us access to things like social media assets, EDMs for our clients and a ‘How To’ guide. Initiatives like the #hairforyou campaign lifted spirits and kept us connected, but the most amazing tool was the very swift release of their ‘Support Your Salon’ online store where our guests can purchase their retail in the comfort of their own home and have product couriered out to them and received within days. We benefited with 40 per cent of the sale and our clients could be cared for by ‘us’ as we sheltered.” I’m sure in another time some of these initiatives would have taken years to develop but somehow Redken connected closely with us and pushed these offerings out to us within weeks. It was magnificent.

Sarkis Arkle – Hair by PhD

What did you feel initially when restrictions hit? What was your biggest fear?

‘Shit we are going to be closed down!’ I initially thought we could lose everything we had worked for, including my team.

How did you adapt your business and bunker down during the restrictions?

We just took day by day. We couldn’t really plan for anything as things were changing daily. Luckily we continued to trade and had to make a lot of adjustments around social distancing and utilised the support from Kérastase #hairforyou campaign.

What did you communicate to clients?

We tried to do our best to let clients know we were there for them and working within the health orders. We now take clients temperatures when they come in. This makes them feel more at ease.

Nick Mammoliti – Hemisphere Hair

What did you feel initially when restrictions hit?

The initial restriction of 30 mins appointments was ridiculous and would have been impossible to service our clients to the standard that we offer. We decided that we would have to close under these restrictions. When the 30 minute restriction was lifted the following day we decided that we would still close. Our main fear was the health and safety of our staff and clients if they were exposed to COVID-19 and the effect it would have on our personal lives. The fear of how long we would be closed for and whether we would have a business to go back to because we had no idea how bad COVID-19 was going to get

How did you plan to re-open if you closed the salon and did it occur in stages?

Our plan to reopen was guided by the statistics of active cases declining on a daily basis in WA and the lack of risk to the public contracting COVID-19. We gave ourselves a two week timeframe where we decided on a date and if the WA active cases kept declining we would reopen. Damien and I recorded a video and put it on social media to let clients know what our plan was.

Jaclyn Mamo – Atlas Hair

What did you feel initially when restrictions hit? What was your biggest fear?

I was incredibly grateful that I could continue to trade. My focus shifted to how do I pivot my business to adhere to the federal and state government guidelines and ensure the safety of my clients, as well as continue to provide them with the amazing service they know and love. I have a boutique salon and work on my own, so I focused on identifying the ways I could adapt the business without compromising the service I provide to my clients.

How did Redken help keep you inspired through uncertain times?

Redken have offered some really great education opportunities online. I’ve focused on the business orientated classes, particularly L’Oréal Professional Business Academy – which helped me refocus on my business goals, highlighting what I’m doing well in my business and opportunities to grow. We utilised ‘Support Your Salon’, ‘Google My Business’ support and ‘Redken Business School.’

What new initiatives did you release in terms of retail/products or future strategies?

I leveraged opportunities provided my suppliers, for example Redken and Piiq collaborated to offer ‘Support your salon’ – this is a great initiative that I promoted to my client base to buy their haircare products online with Redken and have them delivered to their home.

Sharon Cromwell – Joshae

What did you initially feel when restrictions hit? What was your biggest fear?

Panic and relief at the same time. The panic was knowing how much needed to be done in order to make it happen in a short period of time – the relief came in the decision to close for a month to protect my family, friends and my clientele. Initially the rate of COVID-19 spreading was a big fear for all of us.

How did you adapt your business and ‘bunker down’?

We made a COVID-19 action plan starting with contacting all outgoings asking for some relief and support, SMS messages to clientele to keep them updated and keep the team engaged. Initially I diverted all salon calls to my mobile and drew on the resources from the Australian Hairdressing Council (AHC), my accountant and the Matrix community plus ZING weekly coaching. We communicated to clients that we were closing for services but not for business.

How did you call on your suppliers for support?

We utilised the Matrix ‘Support my Salon’ campaign, online education for my team, and the Digital Tool Kit for ease of social media awareness. We had weekly Zoom meetings with our Matrix representative around strategies to survive in business. Setting up the Piiq ‘Support my Salon’ online store was also amazingly easy. I love the fact that Matrix kept in touch and followed up to make sure I had time to take on board and implement all of their information.

Suzzie Wilson – Karizma Hair Studio

What did you feel initially when restrictions hit? What was your biggest fear?

I had been through quite a lot of different bad karma over the years from fires to break-ins and at times I felt like hanging up my boots, but we have worked far too hard to walk away from a business that has literally become our DNA, even during COVID-19.

How did you adapt your business and bunker down during the restrictions?

We made the crucial decision to close, as the fear of the uncertainty was overwhelming for myself and my team. It was paramount to me and my priority to protect ourselves from what was a downward spiral of endless “what ifs”.

How did you plan to re-open if you closed the salon and did it occur in stages?

Since closing the doors, we had a few friends and loyal clients reach out to see if there was any way we could accommodate them for hair services to help keep some cash flow within the business for support, it meant the world to know that those clients were intent on helping my business through a tough time.

How did you call on your suppliers for support during this time?

I was very fortunate I did not need to call on my supplier, they were already at my doorstep ready to embark on a fantastic business support relationship, they were my actual ‘rock’. We utilised:

  • Online Education – the Digital Courses Lighten ME and Sync ME hosted on Teams • Digital Academy – Digital Courses across five modules that were all free.
  • Digital Tool kit (social Media assets, EDM) – Zoom meetings, Access into the Asset Hub so I could choose the images and pre-made marketing material for our socials to help communicate salon hygiene during Covid.
  • Support your Salon – showed us how to try and get a passive income from retail while the salon was closed.
  • The Matrix Community Facebook page to keep my team motivated.

Jo Capomolla – Nylon Hair

How did you call on your suppliers for support?

Kérastase and L’Oréal teams have been exceptional – they provided us with ongoing support even before we closed our doors. The highlight was the ‘Support Your Salon’ initiative which supported Kérastase sales through an innovative and online platform where my clients could support the salon by buying direct. My team have benefitted from the L’Oréal Digital Academy and the three L’Oréal Business School webinar sessions from Chandell Labbozetta were very helpful. We were inspired by the L’Oréal #hairforyou campaign and hashtag – they certainly are.