As the whole country plans family, friends and food following lockdown, there is an industry that is bracing itself for a surge in bookings – beauty. A report by the Hair and Beauty Council and BABTAC found the hair and beauty industry within the UK to be worth £6.6 billion in 2019; that means a lot of nails, hair cuts and brow waxes will need to be caught up on. With the idea that the country will take a long time to recover and with social distancing possibly being in place for months or more to come, the thought of going to your local salon seems daunting and, in some cases, impossible. However, Salon Studio’s founder Roz Colthart launched a business which saw self-containment and privacy as its top priorities before anyone had even heard of COVID-19.
A re-invention of traditional salon ownership, Salon Studios provides self-contained, separately ventilated, move-in ready, stylish salons for self-employed professionals who would like to provide a one-to-one service for clients – all for the same rate as normal chair hire.
Updates, revamps and new guidelines are however, being considered. Previously working on a month-to-month basis with a fixed weekly rate, Colthart is adapting to the changing climate by now offering a shorter lease and the ability to take only a couple of days instead of having to hire for the entire week. Meanwhile, as China sees a move to ensure social distancing by having salon chairs be a minimum of 6ft apart, Salon Studios need not prepare anything, as that is just the norm. With each salon being equipped to meet each ‘owner’s’ needs, from hair basins to MUA stations, the set-up is already that of individuality so safe for those easing back into society cautiously after lock down.
A rocky moment to be launching any business, let alone one which centres on people all congregating in the same building, Colthart is using this time of isolation to work out how she and Salon Studios can be a boost to a community whose work has all but stopped until lockdown is over. “Flexibility has always been at the heart of Salon Studios – you choose the hours, the days, the set-up, even the paint! But now more than ever we are listening to what future salon owners will want and need to get back up and running. One of those things is to offer double salons so these creative entrepreneurs can team up and share a space – we will be implementing this with the launch of our new location later in the year.”
Of course, one of the biggest worries is that due to having no work, and the government predicting 1 in 5 SMEs will collapse due to COVID-19, so many of the possible businesses Salon Studios could and should be welcoming, will no longer be trading. Colthart is doing what she can to mitigate that, “it truly saddens me how many businesses I am seeing going under because of COVID-19; something that really none of us had considered in our growth plans. So, I have been reaching out to these wonderful entrepreneurs on Instagram and offering them the opportunity to seamlessly transfer their business to Salon Studios – they may have lost their building, but they needn’t lose their client base.”
Finally, Salon Studios is offering business support alongside the physical salon, with free resources including social media checklists, consultation forms, marketing and business plans and more. This way, it becomes so much more than just a salon, it’s a mentorship as well. Having helped her first Salonpreneur go from two clients to over 280 in just six months, Colthart is confident she has hit on something that so far has only seen real success across the pond in the USA. “To me, the focus is not just business, its community in business and that’s what Salon Studios is all about. You may have your own space, but you will have a building full of other salonpreneurs to support, encourage and inspire you – from 6ft away from the time being, but still.”