A Salon Owner on the New Normal After Reopening

Jaye Edwards, Virtue Labs ambassador and the owner of eight EdwardsAndCo salons throughout Australia, reopened his doors last week after certain COVID-19 lockdown restrictions were lifted. Now, a week back in business, Edwards is sharing what he's learned so far about the new "normal."

AS: Many salon owners are worried that clients won't feel comfortable coming to the salon once they've reopened. What have you experienced?

JE: Most of our clients have been completely comfortable coming to the salons. During our closure we received hundreds of messages from clients asking when we would be reopening and if they could book in advance. Our clients know how committed we are to giving them a top-quality experience, and trust we will do everything in our power to keep them healthy. 

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For any clients that don’t feel comfortable coming in, we launched our own range of prescriptive hair maintenance kits and at-home color touch-up kits, custom packed to suit each client's needs. The color kits include everything clients need, like brushes, bowls and gloves. We also launched an IGTV series, The Lockdown With EdwardsAndCo, with tips for how to apply the color correctly and other handy hints for taking care of your hair in lockdown. 

AS: Do you worry that it will be difficult to uphold these sanitation and health measures for a long period of time?

JE: We made the decision to reopen our salons on April 28 and have started taking limited bookings. We are taking extra precautions to ensure the health and safety of our clients and staff and are practicing social distancing in all salons, ensuring one to two stations are left unoccupied between all clients.

These measures take a toll on the team, but everyone has risen to the challenge. As we flatten the curve here in Australia, restrictions are starting to relax—I am confident that if we continue to uphold our safety measures and work together with the government, things will go back to normal soon. 

AS: You mentioned that you're taking extra precautions to ensure the health and safety of your clients and staff. How exactly are you doing this?

JE: Hygiene standards for our team, salons, products and tools have always been our top priority. As such, we have put additional measures in place to ensure our team is able to serve clients in the safest way possible. These include:

  • Body temperature testing of all staff daily before they commence work
  • Body temperature testing all clients before they enter the salon
  • Hand sanitizer is available to all clients and staff as they enter the salon
  • 5 to 6 feet between stations
  • Regularly disinfecting all high-touch areas including cutting stations, wash basins, color processing tables, product stations and restrooms, with hospital-grade disinfecting products
  • Increasing weekly deep cleanings of our salons
  • Thoroughly cleansing of all glassware, crockery and cutlery with a commercial-grade cleaner containing anti-bacterial disinfecting agents
  • Removal of items such as magazines, which may act as a host for the virus.
  • Ensuring our teams have all the information they need to stay healthy or stay at home if they feel unwell
  • Salons are cashless until further notice 

AS: How are you keeping your staff motivated during these trying times?

JE: While salons were closed, we launched the Rags To Riches Challenge for all staff and the wider community. Essentially staff were challenged to create a video of themselves performing the no-heat styling trick borrowed from the 1800s. The result should be a head of bouncy, voluminous curls; however, even our professional stylists produced some epic fails, resulting in some very funny content for our followers.

Additionally, we used different staff members from salons across the country to host episodes of our IGTV series, The Lockdown With EdwardsAndCo, and to share general at home styling tutorials, ensuring they stayed engaged with our clients. 

These videos helped staff feel more motivated, as their work was being shared across all EdwardsAndCo social media platforms, and created a sense of community to those struggling with isolation. 

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