Salons and COVID-19
There’s no question salons keep facing tough choices as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in several places.
The things public health experts warn about sound all too familiar to seasoned pros behind their clients’ chairs: touching the face or getting too close to too many people indoors for long periods of time. That basically describes the service stylists provide.
For instance, here are questions the CDC offers when choosing whether we should do something in public:
- How many people will you interact with?
Um . . .
- Can you keep 6 feet of space between you and others? Will you be outdoors or indoors?
Well . . .
- What’s the length of time you will be interacting with people?
Oh boy . . .
So, what are salons supposed to do right now? How can you keep your stylists and customers safe considering the risks involved? If you’re closed down, what can you do with your employees and clients while you wait out the worst of it?
We’ve listened closely to the concerns you’ve shared with us during this pandemic. Below are some strategies that we hope can support your search for answers to the above questions.
Tips for Product Planning During Pandemics
Plan Orders to Last Several Months
When stored properly (see below), our liquid products have a six-month shelf life, and our tapes last a year. This means you could get by with making fewer orders per year that ensure you’re stocked up for at least the next six months.
This strategy even offers you way more than the ability of getting by in uncertain times. It actually means you would receive more wholesale savings since you’d be ordering enough to last several months down the road. So, your cost per product would go down.
You also save more on shipping fees with this method. Especially if you see the next strategy through.
Order All Flammables in One Shipment
Considering the six-month shelf life of our liquid products, you could plan on putting all of the flammable products you need into just two orders a year.
This way, you deal with the least amount of HAZMAT fees and save money on shipping. If you make smaller orders more often, and there’s a few flammable products in each order, then you likely want to try this strategy out.
Having even just one flammable item in your order makes shipping companies treat your entire order as if it’s HAZMAT through and through. Packing all of your flammable product needs into one large order will make it so you deal with extra shipping costs far less often, potentially only twice a year.
Buy Local Using Our Find a Distributor Feature
Using our handy Find a Salon/Distributor feature can potentially help you track down the occasional product that becomes out of stock due to pandemic issues. While we work with suppliers to get more in, you may find a neighbor down the road who happens to still have plenty to share.
But even more helpful if you’re an international customer, you can potentially find a local distributor of Walker Tape products right there in your home country. This perk can become essential quickly in times where certain borders may close. Finding a local backup means fewer borders for your shipment to cross. It also translates to possibly more savings by avoiding international shipping fees.
Store Products to Last
Skirting the chemistry lesson for now, just remember that our products last the longest when kept closed and away from sunlight and temperature extremes.
Here are the three best scenarios for storing our products:
- Cool, room-temperature controlled (60-80° F)
- Dark, dry, well-ventilated
- Lids tightly closed
We’re Closed: Now What?
Reschedule All Appointments
You’re going to notice that a theme to most of these suggestions is based around creating touchpoint opportunities with your employees and customers.
Yes, rescheduling your clients now makes things challenging in the short term. But you can build a strong bond by staying in contact with them and showing that you’re going through this together.
Check in with Regular Clients
Checking in regularly with loyal clients will remind them why they’re so loyal to you. It provides several chances for you to build their trust even more, and it’s clear proof that you care about them.
Plan Out Social Posts
As a part of this plan, make sure to empathize with your clients and provide content that answers at least the following question. “What do your clients need to know from you?”
They may be stuck without professional services for the first time in their living memory. Could they benefit from at-home solutions with clever tips and tricks? Or would the occasional community-centered messages of advice and encouragement make the most sense?
Strategically planned out content may even spread your brand out to new customers as your clients reshare posts that they find especially valuable.
Connect with 10 Instagram Followers a Day
Consider social media your brand’s visibility until your salon opens again. This could turn into a great chance to reach even more future customers than you would have before shutting down.
Hold Virtual Stylist Trainings
This can be a great morale booster in times of high anxiety. Plus, trainings help keep your stylists sharp and build their skills. They also provide vital community-building opportunities to network with other professionals with the possibility of future referrals.
Make Styling Videos
In the same vein as the above social media suggestion, making styling videos can spread your good name and fast. Your reputation grows while gaining the appreciation of potential lifelong clients for being there when they needed you the most.
Video Chat with Clients and Stylists
Connecting in as many clever ways as possible is vital. We recommend interacting in these ways with the confidence that these virtual relationships will eventually sit in your real chairs again soon.
Schedule an ‘Ask Me Anything’
Also known as AMAs, these give you the chance to know what your customers are most interested in. They also show you as a credible expert to your customers.
We’re Open: How Do We Avoid Becoming a News Story?
Reschedule Unwell Clients
It’s better to be safe than the story on the front page of the Sunday paper. Even if your unwell clients don’t have the virus, can you afford having your stylists catch whatever the client has? While you may know they don’t have the pandemic-spreading germs, other clients may get nervous seeing your employees coughing or sniffling.
Offer Sick Leave to Unwell Stylists
Put simply, taking steps to contain the spread saves you the most money in the long run. It also demonstrates to your hard-working employees how much you care about them.
Disinfect Everything Before & After Each Client
Seats, tools, towels, capes, you name it. If it has a surface, it could use a disinfectant.
Stagger Stylist Schedules
Depending on how big your salon space is, you’re going to want to work some scheduling wizardry. The goal here should simply be trying to keep as few people in a space as possible for the least amount of time.
Invite Clients to Wash Hands on Arrival
This invitation can establish a considerate relationship right away about caring for their health. It also reminds them of the risks you and your stylists are taking to provide them your service.
Ask Clients to Store Phones During Appointment
Phones are notoriously dirty and seldom cleaned for how much we touch them. They’re probably the most contaminated surface entering your salon by far.
Go Over CDC Guidelines with Each Client
Like the washing-hand-on-arrival tip, going over CDC guidelines communicates comfort to the client. They can see you’re taking every precaution, and it creates even more trust.
Follow Local Safety Protocols from Public Health Experts
Politics aside, base your decisions on the opinions of those with the data and the knowhow to interpret that data. With this in mind, it’s vital to clearly convey your mask-wearing policy on the first contact when clients schedule appointments.
Hang Hygiene Reminder Signs
We suggest making them unmissable and memorable.
Stock Up on Cleaning Supplies
This includes things such as tissues, soap, disinfectant wipes and sprays, and hand sanitizer.
Important note: Make sure to avoid products that contain or have been reportedly contaminated with methanol! The FDA warns that “methanol, or wood alcohol, is a substance that can be toxic when absorbed through the skin” and “can be life-threatening when ingested.”
Wave Instead of Handshake
It’s high time to bring back the air five! Or, we’ve also found the self-embracing “social distance hug” to be endearing.
Urge Stylists to Practice Healthy Habits
We’ve found it really helpful to create specific travel and exposure policies with your stylists. If they’re travelling to hot spots or across borders, how long should the self-quarantine? If they find out they may have been exposed to the virus, what should be their next step?
We hope these tips prove useful to you as we all try to navigate these strange days together. If you have other clever tips not included above, please share them with us! We’d love to spread the support with the entire hair loss community. Stay safe!