Salons are wrestling with the difficult decision around closing or opening their doors to clients and, as the state of the crisis shifts, many are re-opening their doors. It’s important to do whatever is best for your business, salon and community, which spans the spectrum from staying closed, to opening, to having stayed open all along.

Whatever your choice, if you’re open, opening or considering opening your doors any time soon, heed the important advice from the Australian Hairdressing Council and other influential hairdressers, practicing their craft and adapting their business in a safe, smart and thoughtful way.

“During COVID-19 we found ourselves in a situation that we’ve never experienced before, so we had to either learn to adapt to the changes or completely close our business and wait for it to pass,” said Marcus Edward of Marcus Edward Concept Salon, which has remained open through the crisis. “We chose to adapt our business to allow us to continue to trade in a safe manner for our staff and our guests following the guidelines as set out by the government. We have had a decline in client numbers and have found ourselves having to completely re-think our business model to get through the estimated next six months.”“The changes that we have currently made in the salon consist of social distancing between guests and limiting the number of guests in the salon at one time,” he continued. “We have also reduced the number of rostered staff to adhere to the regulations of social distancing. We have removed magazines and introduced takeaway paper coffee cups and bottled water for health and hygiene. As always we thoroughly clean every station and basin after every guest. We are also offering private bookings before and after hours for our guests that want personal and individual appointments.”

The salon has also introduced self-care home haircare bundles that can be ordered for contactless pick up or home delivery, as well as maintaining continuous contact with clients through SMS, email and social media, particularly as the rules, regulations and practices around the salon industry have shifted.

Alan Buki Hair has also adapted with inspiring practices, tailored to suit every client’s very diverse needs. A complimentary hair service for clients who have lost their jobs is a beautiful show of community in difficult times. The salon is also facilitating direct haircare delivery and at-home colour, customised for each client, delivered to them and guided in application with a simple method via FaceTime or YouTube, at the client’s preference.

Hairdressers can also travel for at-home hair services, with a prepared drop sheet, sterile gloves and all colour, styling and shampoo tools, all safely done under Government advice. In salon, all hairdressers wear face masks, gloves and aprons, keep appropriate hygiene and operate under the necessary spacing and social distancing laws. The staff has completed all infection control training as per the Department of Health and clients will have to follow a safety procedure to be served in salon.

Circles in Western Australia has stayed open throughout the pandemic, leaning on top-tier, personal, daily communication within the team to continue to practice with transparency, strength and good leadership, as led by salon owner Sharlene Lee.

“I would say I looked at everything day by day, even though I was panicking on the inside at the beginning, I stayed calm and strong as a leader for my team,” Sharlene said. “I promised everyone the most important thing was keeping everyone in jobs! I have done that so far, I have been in business now for more than 25 years this is not the only challenge I had when I first started in business, I now can handle because of my experience in the industry and as a business owner.”

The salon is operating on a skeleton staff and utilising their 260 square metres of space to practice social distancing, with the waiting area now outside the salon and only one client being served at a time. The salon obviously follows utmost standards of hygiene, health and safety and is communicating with clients online through their website, social media and taking the time to reach out to over 8000 clients through text.

“We understand at this time we need to allow for flexibility with our clients and allowing them to feel comfortable with our culture in salon,” Sharlene said. “We also set up our woocommerce store 6 months ago, which was challenging but I decided to take the time to set up a strong online store. This way I can track follower and engage with my new customers thru the technology, which is so important at this time of our lives.”

“For business salon owners, it’s important to work on your business now more than ever, take this opportunity to see how you want your business to look like at the end of this nightmare. I am finding that I have been working more than ever, between 60 to 70 hours a week. I know exactly where my salons will be and how I need to go about achieving all my goals in the challenging times ahead. Staying strong as a leader is my first priority!”

As salons around the country make decisions for their business, it is essential to look at your salon and circumstances individually to make the right call. Then, listen to experts and salons in similar situations on how they’re navigating these hardships to guide you in that decision. Together, we’ll get through this as an industry.

Stay safe!