This is the question that many of the industry’s business owners are asking at the moment, and a number of our Sustainable Salons Members have already created new procedures and pushed open their salon doors.

We were curious to know what their decision-making process was and where their sustainability commitment stands in their ‘new normal’, so we created three case studies to get the inside goss!

Read on if you’re thinking of reopening and are keen for some insight, or if you’re just curious to know how the industry is staying safe.

ZUCCI HAIRDRESSING, VIC
Shakira Petrucci

TIME IN HIBERNATION
We chose to close to protect our team, guests and community from Covid-19, and initially it was for a month with a review closer to the planned re-open date. We’re reopening next week!

THE DECISION TO REOPEN
We looked extensively through all the Victorian State and Federal Government provided documents and all the legal requirements for social distancing. Zucci is a member of the AHC and we have used all of their provided documents and videos to support us in creating our re-opening process.

NEW PROCESSES TO MEET RESTRICTIONS
The 3 biggest changes we’re making are:

  1. Each hairdresser will take care of their guests from the beginning to the end of their service, where possible. This means we’re also completely changing our booking process. 
  2. We are spacing out all bookings to minimise the number of guests in the salon at one time. 
  3. We are not taking new guests for the first month of trade, to ensure we can take good care of our existing guests.

STAFF PREPARATION
We started with a full team video meeting to introduce our preliminary plan for re-opening. Next, we’ll be hosting a webinar with a step-by-step of the new measures, and then there is an in-salon session before we open and ongoing check-ins when we do open.

THE NEW IN-SALON CLIENT EXPERIENCE
Clients will be asked to wash their hands when they arrive, and there will be a bottle of hand sanitiser and single-use gloves for them to wear in the salon if they choose. Tea and water will be served in paper cups, and each cape will only be used on one client. There will be no magazines available. Clients will be spaced 2m apart and will have 4m around them where possible while they’re not directly receiving a service.

IMPLEMENTING THE SUSTAINABLE SALONS PROGRAM
We chose to suspend the program when we closed. However, when Zucci is back in action next week, it will be business as usual with the Sustainable Salons program.

OUTCOMES
We did not make this decision lightly. We’ve put a lot of time, energy and money into implementing measures to ensure we have the most hygienic and safe working environment for our team and clients.

Also, we asked the team if they wanted to come back to work and it was a unanimous vote of confidence!

STAYING INFORMED

  • Victorian and Federal Government Covid-19 pages
  • ATO
  • The State Revenue Office
  • The Australian Hairdressing Council (AHC)

WORDS OF ADVICE
Read everything that is available from your state and the federal government. Become a member of the AHC so you have access to their lawyers to support you in this process.

Communicate as much as you can with your staff and your clients on the processes and changes you are implementing. This will ensure that everyone is on the same page and will give your clients confidence that you have taken every precaution to protect them and your staff.


Invest! It has not been an easy transition but we know it is money well spent. We see this spending as an investment in our business.

CRANIUM HAIR, NSW
Kelly Kent

TIME IN HIBERNATION
The team were nervous and at the time, it appeared it was inevitable we were all going to be closed. We closed for 3 weeks.

THE DECISION TO REOPEN
Due to the flattening out of the curve, mandatory isolation for overseas travellers and pure business stability, I believed it was time to go back.

NEW PROCESSES TO MEET RESTRICTIONS

  • Spacing
  • Increased hygiene levels for each and every client
  • Staffing. We’ve had a lot that did not want to return, so I’ve had to get other stylists and assistants to help.

STAFF PREPARATION
We have had many meetings; I introduced the criteria and the team were happy to follow and add anything else they thought necessary. I believe everyone is very vigilant about safety and hygiene.

THE NEW IN-SALON CLIENT EXPERIENCE

A very clean salon! We spent four 12-hour days preparing to return.

Each client now sanitises their hands as they come in. There are also masks available for those that choose to wear them. We spray the styling seats and stations prior to seating every client, and we serve beverages in paper cups. We are only serving individually wrapped Tim Tams as food (usually we do cheese platters).

We spray everything with antibacterial spray, all the time. The basins and seats prior to every use, the bathroom every half hour, the desk, phones, keyboard and Eftpos machine every time someone comes to them, and all of our equipment in between use too.  All towels and capes are single use (no change) and washed in anti-bacterial wash.

Our appointments are made without ‘squeezing’ to eliminate too many people in the salon at once, and we’ve turned my office into another styling space, which means we’ve only really lost two stations. We’re only using two basins to maintain distancing, open fewer days and ensure our bookings are made consecutively so there are no ‘dead spots’… plus we have fewer staff on.

IMPLEMENTING THE SUSTAINABLE SALONS PROGRAM

As it always has been. No change here.

OUTCOMES
The team members that are working are like kids in a candy store! We are people-people; isolation is not for us. The clients are incredibly grateful to be able to have somewhere to go and something to do. I think this has made us all more humble and grateful to our clients for their support and the opportunity to be employed especially in such a great field.

STAYING INFORMED
Just through the groups, government sites etc. To be honest I am avoiding news and reading too much of anything as I find it all too much. I’m looking at the opportunities this has brought, the better practices we now have in place, and being motivated and creative when it comes to ensuring the salon thrives not just survives.

WORDS OF ADVICE
Read the blog I just wrote on www.craniumconcepts.com.au and stay tuned for my exciting new idea launching in the next few weeks Project SYS – Save Your Salon xox

BACH HAIR, QLD
Peter Hanmer

TIME IN HIBERNATION
The salon never fully closed; we closed one of our salons and had a skeleton crew in the other. We had many clients phoning to say they either didn’t want to come in because of Covid-19 or because they had lost their job. But as I had been away on holidays and in quarantine for two weeks, I had a backlog of clients and decided to go in and use it as an opportunity to gauge the mood.

THE DECISION TO REOPEN
I did all of my own research online, mainly from Worldometer , to find out the actual threat level. I focused on statistics to understand how much danger I was putting my staff and our clients in, and I think they put everything into perspective and provided much-needed balance. I also think that Australia has done an amazing job of controlling this.

However, I told my staff that it was their choice; if they personally felt they didn’t want to do this, that’s perfectly fine. Out of the 20 staff I have, only three  have chosen not to work for very valid reasons.

NEW PROCESSES TO MEET RESTRICTIONS

  1. We’ve halved the number of chairs, which gives us at least 2m between every client. We’re also fortunate enough to have two basin rooms, so we don’t have people next to each other at the basin. 
  2. There is now a handwashing station as soon as people come in the door, and we disinfect every step of the way. 
  3. We have all got masks; some clients insist we wear them and some don’t seem to mind. 

STAFF PREPARATION
Both my managers retrained the staff, and both coordinators completed the Covid-19 accreditation online; we now have an accredited staff member in each room at all times. We’ve put clear policies and procedures in place; for example, as soon as a client arrives we take them to the handwashing station, and as soon as they leave we disinfect the whole area.

THE NEW IN-SALON CLIENT EXPERIENCE
The first thing they see are the social distancing markers on the floor. We then take them through to wash their hands and offer them a mask if they want one. When the client leaves, we disinfect the area immediately. Sarah, one of our staff members, has also made masks for the team and we sell them to clients. Much cooler than paper ones!

IMPLEMENTING THE SUSTAINABLE SALONS PROGRAM
We are still doing what we’ve always been doing, just at a reduced rate for now.

If there’s a silver lining in this at all, it is that the planet has had the chance to take a breath; being part of Sustainable Salons means we can reinforce that message.


Our IG and FB feeds feature this heavily as well, and now we can combine the sustainability of the salon with the cleanliness of the salon thanks to the sustainable PPE.

OUTCOMES
There’s been no negative feedback from clients. I’ve had a couple of clients who have chosen not to come in, either because they’re elderly or are compromised in some way, and we’ve offered to do whatever we can for them. We’ve created home colour kits that we can send to clients, along with instructional videos of how to apply it, and we’ve even offered to be a courier service if they don’t want to leave the house. Whatever we can do!

STAY INFORMED
My main source is the AHC. I only listen to what I consider to be valid sources, which includes government websites, the AHC, as well as pathology and medical experts that I know. I feel like I’ve got the best information I can get.

WORDS OF ADVICE
If you’re closed now and you’ve got the time, start contacting every client personally; I’d be making an appointment for them when possible. If they aren’t able to come in, I’d suggest alternatives such as colour kits. If you have a team of people, start training them up as well as you can: ensure your staff complete the accreditation for Covid-19 protection and put a regimented policy in place because the last thing you want is for people to come in and not feel safe. It’s about process and care. Whoever your community is, you have to not just reassure them with words, but reassure them with facts and procedures.