After a tense year of restrictions, salons are open again. Even though some elements of the beauty industry are back to business as usual, others have changed drastically. Beauty professionals at every level are bound to face emotional experiences as they return to familiar surroundings with a very different atmosphere. We asked stylists and salon owners for their advice about returning to work, connecting with customers, and taking care of themselves in the new normal.
Industry • Best Practice
Coming Back Stronger: Boulevard Salon Partners Reflect on Reopening
Salon owners share advice to help other beauty professionals navigate the new normal of business post-COVID.
Keep in touch
No matter how hard your re-entry is as a beauty pro, remember that everyone is navigating this new normal at the same time. Between internal changes like introducing touch-free payments and improving online bookings to external health and safety mandates, the new day-to-day is a lot to navigate. It’s probably safe to assume that coworkers and customers alike are finding their way and doing the best they can.
"A little tip that I use for staying active with my clients is constantly sending emails saying hello or sharing updates,” said Christion Andrew, a Color Specialist at Subterranean Hair in San Pedro. “Also, engaging with clients via text or their social media; I ask clients what they would like to see me do differently as a stylist and I usually get great feedback.
Communicating clearly and regularly will help clients feel taken care of, even if it’s just to check in or send a business update instead of pushing hard sales. Then take this even further by proactively asking your community how you can meet their changing needs.
Take it slow
The pandemic put a premium on face-to-face interactions. As we put down our phones and return to our in-person lives, gentle generosity is a good philosophy to adopt. “I try to offer my clients slower pace appointments and more tender care,” said Leann Eden, a private nail artist based in Los Angeles. “Coming out of a pandemic, I assure them that their area is clean, and being private, they are normally the only client in the studio. Make the client feel important, for less of an in-and-out nail salon feeling."
In many cases, the pandemic reminded people of the real value behind the services they had taken for granted. Beyond convenience and speed, personal care services are a chance to dedicate a brief window of time to looking, feeling, and being your best. Refocusing on that underlying purpose will help salon owners and stylists rediscover their purpose and give customers an out-of-this-world experience.
“The best way to reconnect with former and or new guests is to put being human first,” says Jenny Jacome, Owner and Master Stylist at Fox and Jane Salon in New Jersey. “People want to be heard and want you to be honest on what to expect. This is the first step of building a good relationship.” Instead of overpromising and scrambling to deliver, be realistic about what customers can expect from you and what you expect from your team. Apply the same compassion you cultivate toward customers to yourself and your staff, and everyone will benefit from feeling taken care of and being treated with respect.
Setting expectations is an important part of that process; make sure customers know what it will take to execute their vision, whether that means multiple treatments (and a greater investment) or return visits over time, for example. Jenny says to reflect on questions like: “Is their vision going to be possible during their visit? Making a thorough game plan on how you’re going to get there and how they will need to maintain their desired look is really important. I also follow up a week after their first visit or big color change to see how they are loving their hair.”
Take care of you
Who cares for the care professionals? No one gets to feel amazing if stylists and salon owners are burned out. That’s why it’s so important for beauty industry workers (at every level) to take time out for their own self-care. Beauty pros know best just how many forms self-care can take — so whether it’s a long walk in nature, time with family, or some physical TLC at the end of a long day, prioritize your own wellness so you’ll be set up to thrive. Here are some self-care ideas from our experienced salon partners:
"My favorite way to treat myself to a little self care moment at home is when I am doing my skincare routine. Specifically a face mask! Then when I shower, I give myself a scalp massage while using a hair mask. Helps relieve my tension after a long day and helps with my sleep schedule." - Christion Andrew
Leave work at work
“I’ve been doing nails for 30 years. My number one rule I cannot stress enough is leave your work at your table. I leave my phone at my station. When I am relaxing or having ‘me time’, I know work is not going to interfere with my personal time. I get massages and do self love when I’m not performing services to my clients. It’s so important not to get burnt out." - Leann Eden
Escape in a story
“I am a Fox and Jane partner and a stylist so I’m busy all of the time. I started reading again back in February and that has been my self-care routine. In the summer, I read a lot outside or in my reading nook. Reading disconnects me from owning a business and being a stylist, and holding an actual book in my hands allows me to relax and be present in the story.” - Jenny Jacome
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