Heavenly Hair – Surviving the pandemic and coming out the other side
Our latest mini-series blog sees us catching up with our client Janene Bush, who is the managing director of three hair salons.
Given the beauty industry has been closed for so much of the last 12 months, it’s been a challenging time for this ambitious businesswoman – but something she’s faced head on, with a determination to come out fighting.
Take us back to March last year Janene, how were things going for your business, and how difficult was it to comprehend the ‘shutdown’?
March of 2020 was one of extreme highs and extreme lows.
In the first week of the month I took the keys for our third salon in Suffolk, and was so excited to be thinking about getting that open, because business had been really good.
Then, at the end of trading on 20th March, I decided to do as another friend in the industry had done, and close temporarily, given all the expectation of what was going to be said by the Prime Minister.
I never would have imagined we’d be closed for that long, but even so, I do remember going home and having a good cry that day.
I’d got 12 employees, so thinking about how it would impact all of them was just a lot to take in.
You’ve only been open about 4 months throughout the whole of the last year, because of the various restrictions. What impact has that had?
Financially, even with the various pieces of government help, it’s definitely been tough – and we’ll certainly be in debt at the end of lockdown.
But that said, I’m impressed by what the government has done to support businesses like mine, and I’d say that their assistance has actually been phenomenal.
Personally, I was determined to keep paying my rents all the way through, and I’m pleased to have been able to do that.
My staff were all employed, so I’ve been able to use furlough for that – thank goodness.
The other impact is how it feels emotionally as a business owner to be going through all this. I’m grateful we’ve had the support in the background of people like MAD-HR.
“Professional, friendly team that fits your business needs, highly recommend”
Tell us more about that support, advice and help. How crucial has it been and what sources have you used?
I religiously read the updates and information that MAD-HR send out. It helps me get my head around the government’s changes or the new employment issues.
It’s reading insights like that which help you feel a little less alone.
I’ve also been impressed with how our industry bodies have supported us in providing updates.
The National Hair and Beauty Federation has been great, as has the Barber Council.
They’ve even given us great tips for how to start booking our customers in again under six week blocks, rather than specific dates, which will make it easier if things have to be altered at short notice.
How did you keep the ‘team’ together in spirit throughout all of this?
I’ve done a 1-2-1 meeting every week over Zoom with each member of staff, and we’ve had a weekly team meeting, which includes a creative challenge.
That’s been great fun because we set a theme and the next week people show what they’ve created – like a hat or a hair accessory.
What now? What does the future look like for you?
I’m excited to get back up and running, and I know my team feel the same.
We’re looking forward to having the third salon fully open – and we’re recruiting too.
It feels great to be able to say that in the midst of all this, we’re really confident and are actually growing the number of staff we have!