Surviving Lockdown as a Beauty Business

I hardly remember what “normal” feels like at this point. Lock down has shaken what we know to be our daily lives to pieces. What we’re left with looks like a pile of pick-up stix. For me, I’ve done as much catching up on admin as I can tolerate and I’ve watched more netflix than I’m willing to admit. Without being ready for it, we’ve been forced to analyze our lives, dreams, plans and priorities as we know it.

I’d say 2 positive traits I posses are 1. I’m productive under pressure – I get sh*t done. 2. I adapt well to change. But, here is the thing. In both those instances I have a time line to work off. Under pressure Im working towards a deadline and when something needs to change, it needs to be by X. Lockdown has left the beauty, hair and nail industry with a big, fat ? where X should be.

So, how do you adapt to the new normal with a ? In place of X?
You’ve heard the story of the donkey stuck in the well? When you’re being buried alive by life’s challenges – shake it off and step on it. Eventually you’ll come out on top. Let’s get started.
Use your time wisely. Now is not about thriving, but about surviving. Your hands have been tied by the government that should be supporting you and nothing about it is fair. But you can survive this and better yet- your business can come out more purpose driven on the other side of it, and this is how.
1. Adapt your mindset to circumstance.
My business coach reminded me of some wise words recently. The most dangerous words in business are: “We have always done it this way.”It’s so relevant to now. More than ever, many businesses need to change their business model, their strategy and their thinking – or not survive.
An example of information salons need to wrap their heads around and consider is the following: Ministers have announced that consumers (your client) may now purchase DIY options as you may not perform treatments for them. You may be terrified you’ll lose them as a client. Don’t be.
Research shows that for the most part, clients support salons and therapists because of more than just a beauty brand or service they receive. Its a trust relationship you’ve built with that client as they share their most personal moments and vulnerabilities.
So, what to do? Keep in contact, firstly. Pop in to hear how she/ he is holding up. Consider a mind shift and assist in the DIY gel soak or eyebrow tweeze. With or without your permission or approval clients will be attempting DIY options as their hair, nail and beauty situations become more dire.
Make sure your client knows you have their interests – and 911 nail and beauty emergencies – at heart. Rather she spend money with you buying products than from a random retailer. Rather she attempt a DIY under your guidance than from a you tube video an unqualified counter consultant suggested. Yes it may be a disaster as your client does not have the experience you do. That’s ok. She’ll appreciate you more and you make a living.
After lock down you’ll be back at catching up over her next acrylic set, giggling at the thought of her having to do her own hair or nails. She’ll be back. A client will appreciate your effort and gesture and you’ll make a living until your next appointment.
2. Start creating a lean beauty business
 In good times this is an important exercise , but now more than ever is the time to start stripping off all unnecessary expenses from your personal and beauty accounts. Things that eat up cash flow and savings (left).
Refrain from negative thinking here, even though our trade may not provide services at this time, you may now officially start retailing products. We are using this time to better our businesses moving forward post lockdown.
Here’s a challenge – print out your personal and business bank statements and grab two highlighters in different colours. In one color highlight the things that are fixed essential expenses – you cannot survive (not live, survive) without them. With the other colour identify all the things you can (and are willing) to cut and save on on a monthly basis. Challenge yourself to reduce monthly expenses by 10% at least.
3.  Find your niche!
Businesses that find their niche are often more successful and bring in higher revenues. Whats your niche? It’s an adjective – a “doing” word, firstly. A niche is relating to products, services, or interests that appeal to a small, specialized section of the population. In other words – what is your speciality?
Often we follow a jack of all trades approach to business trying to do a bit of everything. Yet, when we find our niche, we can focus our time and energy on perfecting a skill relating to a specialize area. We can focus marketing on a specific treatment or product giving our niche area maximum exposure. This helps you become the go-to person for something. For example – you want to be THE brow queen. Or THE aging specialist, THE nail art specialist or THE image consultant.
Lock down sucks for many reasons. But, why not use the time to find and perfect your niche?
4. Keep marketing – digitally.
Don’t stop now, or you’ll need to start over post-lockdown. Clients will remember who they now see marketing over and over. Keep in mind it may be months between when you last saw your clients and the next appointment. Many businesses are closing due to this challenging lockdown. Make sure your clients know you are still kicking, still in business and ready to serve their needs.
Ideas for digital marketing in this time:
-Post before and after posts of successful treatments, describing the treatment and sharing the cost thereof.
-Ask your clients for testimonials and post them weekly. (Eg: #TuesdayTestimonials) add a pic of your client if they have given permission.
-Take and educational approach. Post videos educating your client on maintanance points. An example would be a 5 minute video on how to properly blow wave a fringe. A proper way to push back cuticles. How to properly tweeze stray hairs.
-Do a meet the team series. Introduce yourself as the business owner – video is king. If you are not into video yet, start small with a photo and text. Include a bit on your studies and then throw in something personal like your vision, share a life goal or just something you like. Then start with your team: the tea lady, an intern, other  therapists.
– Keep showing off your skills. I have seen some beautifully innovative things on social media this month. From PMU technicians practicing treatments on dolls to make up tutorials on yourself.
5. Invest in yourself
Read books, learn financial lingo, look up business tips and principles, interact in free webinars, do an online course (there too are many for free), watch videos on different and new treatments, do research on trends. Create a bucket list, start dreaming even if it is for now only a dream. You will never get this time back. Make it count.
All is not lost and there are still ways to make an income. It may be different from what you know, it may ruffle your feathers at first or completely throw you from your comfort zone- but, it can be done.
6. Practical ways to actively generate an income during lockdown:
A) Even before lock down the top two industry trends were go viral and create a custom experience.
Lets talk viral. Use this time to create viral content you can charge for- a DIY step by step youtube video tutorial the subscription to which may include a kit (think facials, manicures, pedicures, trimming a fringe, a root touch up) or offer online client consultations for a small fee which include a holistic treatment plan. Follow this up with a package price for the treatment plan.
Ok, now lets talk creating a custom experience. You can still continue to provide a service – but be innovative about it. let’s take nails for example. Let’s say you are not comfortable with providing your client a DIY kit. Why not customize press on tips for your client? You purchase a blank press on kit, your client sends you pictures of her preferred nail design, you create her design on the press on set and deliver the kit which come complete with adhesive. Now that is a custom experience for which you can charge the same as a service.
B) Up your client support game. Setup a website (you can do it online for free!) write up treatments aftercare articles and maintanance tips. Load them to your salon website. This way when clients return to your salon for treatments post lock down they have easy access. Support made easy!
C) Educate your clients and the public on the severity of the situation. I recently posted the following to my social media. The feedback was good and I received inboxes where consumers were saying: “I didn’t think of that!”, and : “I didn’t realize I could help like that.” Here it is:
How can YOU help the salon industry survive?
>BUY FROM THEM! Salons (hair, nail and beauty) have been told they may not perform treatments until level 1. This is devastating. These entrepreneurs who quite literally give their blood sweat and tears to you and their businesses have had their hands tied by government.
So, how can you help?
-Buy a treatment voucher as gifts (mother’s day, birthdays) to use post lock down. Your salon can send you a digital copy to gift the person with.
-Buy your essentials from them: shampoo, face wash make up, tweezers, nail maintanance kits! You’ll be getting good quality, solid advice and support.
-Like and share salons social media posts and accounts. This way your friends can also support them in their above means.
-Sign up for any online options a salon may offer: how to do a mani, how to tweeze- ask what support they offer to aid your beauty 911’s in this time.
-Support their side hustle. Many therapists have directed their creative talents to making masks, press on nail sets etc. If you need something they have- please do it if it’s in your means.
Don’t be scared/ shy to let your client base know you need them! You can post this as is or make your own version to your social media, send it out on chimpmail or text.
I truly hope some if the above resonates with and helps you. Stay warm, stay safe.
-Jaclyn Ivy