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It’s a cut or trim-throat industry: Hairdressing post-covid-19

Stories and advice to help your hair & beauty business

COVID has had a devastating impact on thousands of people’s lives and businesses and has brought many industries to their knees.

The hair and beauty industry were no exception to this.

In April 2020 hair salons and barbers were one of the first to shut their doors to its clients before the initial lockdown, making a good haircut for lockdown a rare commodity.

Although the government offered financial support in terms of grants up to £9,000 for the professional hairdressing industry, that wasn’t enough for many to survive.

The empty chair of the barber shop
A sight all too familiar throughout the pandemic

According to a study by Simply Business a third of the 411 hair and beauty business owners they surveyed said that they were at risk of permanently closing during the pandemic (33%).

Professional barber and business owner Andrei Budai, Portsmouth (36), has faced difficulties throughout the pandemic.

Video: Hair & beauty business tips
Andrei Budai — Barber & owner of Silky Smooth Barbers, Southsea.

‘Before the pandemic I had four staff working in my shop and then it was just me, said Andrei.

‘We were all asking in the industry ‘how are we going to get through this and survive, do I need to sell the shop? Luckily, I didn’t have to go down that path, I’m still here but I know many colleagues who had to sell their business so it came down to how well established you were to survive’.

Did you know? 4,578 hair and beauty salons & barbers across Britain have permanently closed since the start of the global pandemic -Via Local Data Company

‘For my business I felt the support from the government was good, luckily it was enough to survive and pay the bills, but it was harder for some barbers because if they don’t own their business and only rely on their clientele for a reliable income’.

As a result of the lockdown, millions of people have been cutting and styling their own hair.

On average, a standard women’s haircut cost £16.80 more than a man’s — Source METRO.

Taylor Mason, a Barista from Portsmouth (22) has continued to cut her own hair as a result of the lockdown: ‘I just can’t justify paying for a haircut at those prices, especially when I can do a decent job myself’, said Taylor.

This Twitter poll would also suggest a change in attitudes with 35% opting to do some DIY on their hair.

It would appear she’s not alone

Now people are beginning to improve their own haircutting skillset and saving money too, this is a real concern for some in the hair and beauty industry.

Andrei has noticed this trend since reopening but doesn’t necessarily see it as a problem: ‘People have started to cut their own hair and so there’s less people in the shop so in the long-term we have to wait and try to build a new clientele; we don’t see as many regulars as before.

After the lockdown was lifted the hair and beauty industry had a lot of work to do to deal with people’s DIY ‘lockdown haircuts’, but Andrei insisted there were no bad haircuts as long as they still had hair he could help!

Video: There are no bad haircuts!

‘I also think that a good haircut is so important to people’s mental health and confidence, it could be the difference between turning your camera on or off for a zoom call.

Plenty of hair to work with here!

‘ I always encourage people to be proactive in their business, barbers selling the equipment to people to cut their own hair could be a natural thing and a good part of retail for shops, however you need good knowledge about the equipment -but our priority will always be cutting hair for you.

The tools you’ll need

Andrei’s top tip: ‘My advice to others in the industry would be to get more efficient with your costs like online marketing, engage with free social media instead of flyers and advertising which costs huge amounts of money and try to keep your regulars with newsletters -cut costs, be efficient, be cautious, be humble and spend as little as you can!’.

Of course, the health and beauty industry isn’t just about skinfades and tidying up beards.

Stylist Gina Llewellin at Cileste Hair and Beauty, Southsea has experienced changes since the lockdown too.

The team at Cileste Hair & Beauty (Gina, second Left)

‘I definitely think people appreciate us more; a lot of clients said one of the top things they missed was getting their hair done, says Gina.

‘I think we were supported as much as any other industry, I’m self-employed and in the beginning, I thought we were going to get forgotten about but I’ve been able to claim for four government grants during the pandemic, it’s not anywhere near what I would have earnt but it was something’.

‘That being said, I wasn’t worried about our future not for a second, I knew when I reopened, I was going to be very busy and working long hours.

Gina has also noticed a change in her clientele’s approach to DIY hairdressing.

‘I think some men will cut their own hair if it’s just the clippers all over but not women, however I have noticed that a few clients are colouring their own hair instead of having it done in the salon’.

Image: Graph showing average price of hair-colouring in UK salons

Gina’s top tip: The advice I would give is not to put your prices up. Work longer hours to fit more clients in and make sure you check all the rules so you can reopen safely.

Its safe to say that it’s been a difficult period for the hair and beauty industry, but with these top tips we hope you can strut with confidence with your business into the future.

For more hair and beauty industry expert advice and features make sure you subscribe to our email list so that you don’t miss a thing here.

Follow us on Twitter @cb_beautynews & on Facebook.

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