After the success of our first Instagram Live, where we discussed practical measures and information regarding COVID-19, we wanted to speak to hairdressers like you – from different backgrounds and from across the UK – and to hear their stories
First on the line to chat to digital editor Alison Rowley was Adam Reed, who opened his new salon – Adam Reed London – just four weeks before the mandated shutdown.
“We came under fire for not closing down earlier,” Adam revealed. “There were some not very nice comments attacking us for staying open. I’m in a group chat with fellow hairdressers Nicola Clarke, Larry King, Luke Hersheson and Sally Brooks, and we constantly discussed what to do. We ended up closing on Saturday (March 21) and I removed all the stock from the salon. It was absolutely gutting. The salon had only been open for four weeks by this point.”
Adam also explained that his team had been fully supportive of his decision and directly involved with plans every step of the way.
“Every member of the team – from the salon’s amazing apprentice Sophie to our manager, Sean – have been incredible and it has made me realise just how important having a great team is,” said Adam.
He went on to say how much he’s looking forward to Creative HEAD’s rescheduled Salon Smart event once the lockdown has been lifted. Now taking place on Sunday 27 September, it will be the first chance for hairdressers to come together to really discuss what’s next for the industry in the wake of the outbreak.
“It’s such a valuable source of information,” he said. “It’s going to be fantastic.”
Adam has been very open on social media about his battle with anxiety, and he also shared with viewers what he’s doing to keep his worries and tendency to catastrophise in check.
“I’m trying not to watch too much news,” he told Alison. “Obviously I’m keeping an eye on the 5pm announcement each evening, but in general I want to see positive things. Reading, gardening, home-schooling my son. I’m lighting lots of candles, filling my home with gorgeous scents and doing lots of laughing, dancing and having fun. I’m treasuring the time I have now.”
Before ending the chat, Alison asked if Adam had any advice for those at home struggling with isolation.
“Be kind,” he said simply. “To yourself and others. We’re all in this together.”
Next to talk about all things Coronavirus was salon owner Becky Candy, whose business has been at the heart of her local high street in Derbyshire for over 15 years.
“The only time we’ve ever been shut was for a refit and that was for just two weeks,” said Becky. “And that took months, if not a year of planning! To have your business taken out of your control like this is daunting.”
Becky revealed she made the decision to shut on the Friday evening and told the team the next day in the salon.
“I asked everyone to come in early and told them. It was heart-breaking. We’d been really careful with our team and clients, asking everyone to have their temperature taken before coming in but I knew it was time.”
Alison asked how Becky and the team were coping during their separation.
“It’s really hard,” said Becky. “I miss them all so much. As hairdressers we love to chat and I just miss them all as people. You spend more time with your work people than you do with your family so it’s been very difficult.”
Hairdressing and salons are a huge part of local communities, and Becky touched on how her’s had blown her away with their generosity.
“I actually started a Crowdfunder as we have been inundated with amazing people wanting to donate money to us to help through this crisis,” said Becky. “No one in the salon team wanted to just take money so we’re developing a series of videos for clients to purchase. We’re also putting together a package for an NHS hero for every £500 we receive.
“Of course we would love to continue our business in Clowne but we are facing extreme uncertainty in the coming months. Myself and my manager are deemed on the vulnerable list, so have to be isolated for 12 weeks. There are also two team members already on maternity leave, which leaves just our apprentice and rising star.”
One of the most worrying aspects of this pandemic is the uncertainty it’s created. For those who own salons and those who are freelance or rent a chair. The next guest to talk about this issue was Spooky Runo, a self-employed hairdresser, based in London.
“I made the decision to stop working on 15th March,” Spooky told Alison. “I’m only seven months into being freelance so I’m still building up a client base.”
Up until recently, Spooky –who is originally from the USA – had been working out of Hunter Collective, a co-working space in London specifically for hairdressers.
“Lacey (Hunter-Felton, owner of Hunter Collective) has been great and we’re staying in contact throughout all of this,” explained Spooky. “I felt I had to stop working for my own peace of mind and luckily because I had savings, I could do that. Being freelance meant I didn’t have to wait for anyone, I could just stop working. But I know it’s not as easy for everyone.”
Spooky revealed she’s using this time to enjoy seeing her husband and chatting to friends back in the States that she doesn’t normally get to speak to.
“I normally miss my mum’s calls but now I’m speaking to her every day and it’s wonderful. This is such a strange thing to be going through, but it’s so important to stay positive. It’s really the only thing we can have complete control over.”
Wrapping things up was Matthew Sutcliffe, owner of partially chair-rental based salon Tint in Leeds.
“The team contacted clients personally to let them know what was going on but I also put a video on the website explaining our situation,” said Matthew of the decision to close.
“It’s really important for me to use this time to keep busy. I took a dummy head home to practise on but it’s also been really great to spend time with the kids. This morning my son and I made a wormery.”
Wriggling on with the inspiration, Matt revealed to Alison that his business partner was filling newly free time by learning how to braid.
“He’s the best hair cutter I know but he doesn’t know how to braid, so I’m excited to see how he gets on. We tried doing some online training but it wasn’t the best,” admitted Matt. “But next time it’ll be better and we can keep on improving. It’s really important to keep the creative flame alive and surround yourself with good people.”