THE National Hair and Beauty Federation warns that the industry faces disaster unless salons reopen soon.
It says one in five will get the chop but yesterday Boris Johnson said they would not reopen till at least April 12. Here, a celebrity hairdresser tells Amy Jones why he is supporting the Save Our Salons campaign.
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Salons have been closed for seven of the past 12 monthsCredit: Getty
LOCKDOWN has been one big, bad hair nightmare.
There have been some real shockers on display on Zoom calls, with out-of-control barnets desperate for some love.
Having styled hair for decades, I know that having your locks snipped can be a huge boost to wellbeing.
But salons will remain shut for seven weeks, as revealed in Boris Johnson’s roadmap out of lockdown yesterday.
It’s a bitter pill to swallow, with one in five salons predicting they’ll be out of business by spring. Many salon owners are sailing close to the wind to try to keep afloat, with many falling through the gaps when it comes to financial help.
I know that having your locks snipped can be a huge boost to wellbeing.
The stats are bleak. The National Hair and Beauty Federation predicts boarded- up shop fronts and significant job losses.
Its recent survey of salon owners found that one in eight had already made redundancies, while two thirds had doubts about their business surviving until the end of the financial year.
The good news is that the most vulnerable people have been vaccinated against coronavirus. I received my first jab this month.
Even before the pandemic, salons were naturally sterile environmentsCredit: PA:Press Association
And now the Prime Minister has set out his plan. I would urge him to consider allowing salons to get back to work as soon as possible.
Businesses have invested lots of money in ensuring they are Covid-secure.
In our stores we run at half capacity to ensure social- distancing, extra time is added to each booking and all equipment is cleaned.
But even before the pandemic, salons were naturally sterile environments.
Any hairdresser will tell you we’re constantly washing product off our hands, and we’re used to working behind someone.
The sad fact is that salons have been closed for seven of the past 12 months.
While the hospitality industry has faced extreme difficulties, the Government has been supporting it with a VAT reduction. It’s something I feel deserves to be extended to the beauty industry, too.
The industry contributes £7.5billion to the economy every year, with a workforce of over a quarter of a million.
I’m urging Boris Johnson to extend a VAT reduction to the beauty industryCredit: Getty
The Eat Out to Help Out scheme was a huge success — why not consider something similar for salons?Credit: Alamy
Snipping a bit off VAT would make a huge difference to our sector — and I’m not the only one who thinks so, with industry heavyweights all supporting the Save Our Salons campaign, including Hellen Ward, Errol Douglas and Luke Hersheson.
‘OUR INDUSTRY IS TRIVIALISED’
The Eat Out to Help Out scheme was a huge success — why not consider something similar for salons now?
Blow Out to Help Out could be targeted at key workers, to give those on the front line a well-earned treat.
Salons could really use something like that to incentivise people back.
Take last summer, when we got the green light to reopen after the first lockdown. For the first few weeks, we were fully booked.
But after that, trade petered out. With no nights out in the diary we lost the blow-drys and associated extra trade.
Some may think haircuts and eyebrow-waxing can wait. I’ve heard people dismiss such treatments as luxuries people can live without.
That trivialises an industry that employs hundreds of thousands in the UK.
It’s a mindset I’ve heard for years and at times it’s left me questioning my career. I started to believe my job was way down the list of priorities.
‘A business all about wellbeing’
SENIOR Tory MP Caroline Nokes, the chair of the Women and Equalities Committee, here calls for extra support for salons.
IT takes guts and determination to set up your own business.
I have nothing but admiration for those women in the industry – and it is mainly women – who have set up on their own, rented premises, employed people and built something successful. Devastatingly, Covid has now chipped away at too many of these success stories.
Every time I get an email from a desperate salon owner out- lining their fears for the future, I redouble my efforts to persuade the Chancellor this sector needs help.
There are many good reasons to do so, not least the billions of pounds contributed annually to GDP, the 250,000 jobs and the way in which the sector enhances wellbeing.
Whether it is the ayurvedic facials to combat migraines, the eyebrows tattooed on to alopecia sufferers, the wigs for customers with hair loss, the personal care sector really does care.
Calls for a VAT reduction, and extended business rates holiday, are timely ahead of the Budget, and a really good idea.
Most of all, salon owners need a direction of travel that recognises this is a sector about wellbeing and confidence.
If we want people facing a tough job market with some optimism, they need to be feeling good about themselves.
But eventually I became secure in the knowledge that what I do — what this industry does — makes a huge difference to people’s wellbeing.
It’s no different to other parts of the jigsaw that make up somebody’s mental state.
The laughter of a meal with friends, the buzz of a nightclub, treating yourself to a new outfit, a day of pampering in the salon — it might seem small stuff to some but for many these are the joys that make life worth living.
Nicky Clarke is a celebrity hairdresserCredit: Getty
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