How Salons Are Handling Reopening: The South

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Salons in every neighborhood in the U.S. are being impacted by COVID-19 in some way. We recently asked our audience to complete a survey on how their business is faring (see those results here). To dive a little bit deeper, we polled a handful of salon owners in different regions of the country about how business is being impacted and the actions they're taking to open their doors. First up: The South.

 

XO HAIR LAB - Chesapeake, Virginia

Close Date: As soon as our Governor asked us to: March 22. The week before that, we called each employee to ask how they felt and allowed them to decide for themselves if they wanted to work or stay home.

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Reopen Date: June 1. Our state was allowed to reopen May15,  but we had reservations that it was too soon for our business.

Did you offer virtual consultations/at-home color kits while closed? We worked with a maintenance menu only. We offered semi-permanent color kits only for at-home use since they pose no risk or personal liability. As much as I wanted to offer color kits, I didn't want to risk anyone possibly having a negative reaction or experience. 

What I did focus on and what worked so amazing for us was I sold over $10,000 in retail from March 22. A little over $6,000 was made alone from doing online live boutique sales, where I educated clients on products we love, and created a fun and interactive prize board. I even dressed up a few times and we had a theme. This time has taught me so much as a business owner, and as a human being. I know it feels scary to get behind the chair again, and I know we're all craving "normalcy." For a lot of us, our work behind the chair is our escape, and it's an escape for our clients. I hope we can continue to create a safe, healthy environment to weather this storm and make it out stronger on the other side.

Preparation process: We updated websites, interacted online, informed clients, rebooked, did a deep cleaning and s upet all sanitation needs. I created a video to show our clients our protocols before we opened our doors. We have been hosting Zoom meetings with our teams to keep up with them during this time and to make sure they are prepared to come back. We ordered PPE, masks, gloves, Barbicide, etc. We were ready, and that makes me proud. 

There is a large divide—some who believe in the safety measures our government has put in place and others who are not willing to take the same precautions. It worries me that if a client has been exposed, that they may not be honest with us. I fear that we will get pushback on our safety protocols by some of our clients. It's most important that we all be prepared and do what we can to keep ourselves and each other safe.

Reopening plan: It's a lot of support, patience and safety protocols. We have been working hard since day one of COVID-19 to stay connected to our community and clients. We've worked hard as a team to be open with one another as we navigate the challenges. We have extra sanitation procedures in place; we take the temperatures of our staff every day before they enter the salon; we take the temperatures of our clients; and we provide them with a medical mask, hand sanitizer and encourage frequent hand washing. 

We have a picnic table where we allow clients to sit if they need a break from their masks, or to quench their thirst. We hope to possibly add more. We are following social distancing and are fortunate to have plenty of space to be able to do so.

 

JACQ & JACK - Orlando, Florida

Close Date: March 18

Reopen Date: We had planned to reopen in April, but as restrictions in our state changed, the date kept getting pushed back. On May 15, after almost two months, we decided to close permanently.

Did you offer consultations/at-home color kits while closed? We did not offer color kits due to safety concerns for our staff and clients. We were looking into virtual consultations to help our clients with bang trims and styling.

Reopening plan: At this time, we have no plans to reopen.

We had been taking advantage of the downtime by working on small renovations in the salon and adding new services. We were also putting new safety measures in place, like temperature screening, staggered schedules, staff and guest distancing, and incorporating masks and gloves.  At Jacq and Jack, the experience has always been of utmost importance. We really had to look at how new safety measures would impact our space and ensure we could provide a secure environment that was in line with our clients' expectations.

I know that our closing may come as a shock — it's a story that so many salon owners are facing. COVID-19 impacted our temporary finances and the lives of staff, the client experience and more. It's a bi-coastal problem. My next step will be to return to Los Angeles to assist my mom in her salon as she battles the same challenges I did here in Orlando.

 

PARIS PARKER SALONS + BARBERSHOPS - New Orleans, Lakeside Mall Metairie, Baton Rouge, Hammond & Mandeville, Louisiana

Close date: We closed our eight salons and two barbershops on March 17 in alignment with the state and local stay-at-home order.

Reopen date: May 16

Did you offer consultations/at-home color kits while closed? While we didn’t offer at home consultations or color kits, we hosted a series of Instagram Lives featuring our team members and clients, sharing tips and ideas on how to make the best out of the time before their next haircut, color or spa service. We shared Instagram tutorials, like how to trim your bangs at home, how to get ready for WFH Zoom meetings, how to hide graying roots and more.  

Preparation process: We believe safety is the new luxury—above and beyond all else, creating a safe environment for our clients and staff is the highest priority. We’ve always believed in providing transformational experiences and having a positive impact. We’re an ever-evolving company with 30 years of experience. We thrive in good times and in tough ones too. We’ve survived recessions, hurricanes and more, and in this case we began preparing extremely early on.

The day our salons closed was the day we began preparing our protocols for reopening. We hosted a Reset+Recovery training meeting to walk our team through the protocols to ensure every single person felt confident, secure and ready for our reopening.

At Paris Parker we have an emergency response team in place year-round for any major event, as our team and community is no stranger to disaster. In early February we started tracking the spread of COVID-19 and began making preparations. We’re resilient, and this community is one in which supporting our neighbors is always a part of the plan. An example of this: We’d ordered a three-month supply of gloves for our locations, and on March 17 when we realized we wouldn’t be able to see our salon and spa clients for quite some time, we considered how else we could put our supplies to use. We heard the call for gloves and shipped 13,000 pairs of protective gloves to Ochsner Health on March 23.

We love our community and will continue to do whatever it takes to be prepared and supportive of our clients, staff, friends, neighbors and the medical professionals on the front line.

Reopening plan: In addition to creating incredibly detailed sanitation procedures, we’re treating social distancing as our new norm. Our new occupancy plan reduces the number of clients and staff in our salons to 10 people per 1,000 square feet. We have implemented contactless check-in and check-out. We’re using our salon app like a VIP concierge—our clients can view, confirm and manage their visit with us. On appointment day, they’re able to check themselves in, add products to their cart, tip and check out in a couple of taps.

When our guests arrive, we’re greeting them outdoors and reviewing our safety protocols before their service begins. Our team is wearing face shields and masks, and we have masks available for our clients, should they not have one. We’re sanitizing the salon after each client and throughout the day. 

Once inside, we’re guiding our clients to a sanitization station before the service begins. We’ve eliminated beverage services, changing rooms, and removed magazines, upholstered furniture and rugs to prevent the possible spread of germs. We are asking our clients to arrive with freshly washed hair to eliminate extra time at the shampoo area. 

 

VAN MICHAEL SALONS - Atlanta, Georgia

Close date: We closed March 21, prior to Governor Kemp’s announcement for the shelter-in-place in Georgia order on April 2.  

Reopen date: April 24—the date the Governor announced hair salons could open. It was about a week earlier than what we had planned, but because we had been preparing our new practices we felt this was a good opportunity to have a “soft opening.”

Did you offer consultations/at-home color kits while closed? No—we felt it was a liability issue and there was absolutely no control over how the client applied the color or controlled their own processing. It was not the right move for us. 

Preparation process: We required every service provider to take a State Board Barbicide course. Now there is COVID-19 add-on that they are taking as well.   

We added plexiglass to all check-in and check-out areas and are currently working on how we can add plexiglass between stations. 

Reopening plan:

Social distancing: We are splitting our service providers into shifts, thereby reducing the number of people in the building by a minimum of 50 percent. Service providers will be working in every other station, leaving an empty station to keep a safe distance. 

Masks: All of our staff will be required to wear masks. We require that clients wear a mask to their appointment, specifically one that secures behind the ears. We will supply a mask upon check-in if clients do not have one. Masks must be worn throughout the entire visit.

Temperature checks: Before entering the salon, we take every client's temperature with a touchless thermometer. Anyone with a temperature of 99°F or higher will be asked to call us to reschedule the appointment a minimum of two weeks from the original appointment date, and will not be allowed to enter the salon. We are also doing temperature checks for all of our employees anytime they enter the salon. 

Waiver: In order to receive services, all clients must sign a COVID-19 release of liability waiver. 

No blow-drying: Temporarily, we will not be doing any blow-drying in the salon in order to prevent forceful airflow of any germs. This includes hood dryers for color—we will use the roller balls instead. We ask that clients come with clean hair, shampooed within three hours of the appointment time, dried and pulled away from the face, so that we can either spray hair rather than shampoo or cut it dry. We would like to limit shampoos to only removing color from the hair. Any adjustments in a service regarding shampoos and blow-drys will be temporary. In consideration of the changes to the service, we are offering an ongoing 15 percent retail discount. 

Touchless greetings and goodbyes: We will not be shaking hands or hugging at this time. 

Limited changing room: Color clients will be handed a clean smock upon entering the salon and will be handed a plastic bag to contain their top. Cut clients will receive a fresh cape for their service with a Sanek strip.

No beverages: We will not be offering any beverages at this time.

Limited items and guests: We ask that clients arrive for the appointment at the time of the appointment and no earlier, and to limit any belongings to a phone and forms of payment (rather than a handbag). No extra guests, children or pets will be allowed at this time.

 

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