Nicole Moore, Owner of Melbourne’s Made Gorgeous salon, talks to Professional Beauty this week about how beauty has fared in one of the world’s most locked down cities. Currently experience their sixth lockdown (that is tentatively set to end 26 October 2021), she let’s us know what’s different this time and how she thinks beauty will come out the other end of this pandemic, especially in her city.
PB: How has this lockdown been different, if at all, from the other ones?
“The mood in Melbourne for Lockdown 6.0 is heavy. People aren’t connecting or checking in on each other like previous lockdowns. Decluttering seems too hard, baking has stopped and literally no one wants to catch up on Zoom anymore.”
PB How are you surviving financially, if you don’t mind us asking? Is the government aid helping? Is there something else you wish was provided?
“Financially, we are ok. As a small business owner who hates uncertainty at the best of times I have always saved for a rainy day. I honestly never expected that rainy day would end up being more like an 18 month long flood.
Government support has been great. For us. While it doesn’t compare to what we could make if we are open, every cent helps. We also have a very generous landlord that offered a discount on our shop rent which helped immensely. But we are the lucky ones, I know many sole traders in the industry that haven’t qualified for a cent and they are doing it tough. I think about these people every day.”
PB: How has your business been affected?
“My business has been closed for over 40% of the time since March 2020. When we are able to open we are still restricted by government guidelines such as the four square metre rule. Effectively, this means that even when we are open we are operating at 50% of our usual capacity.
The other massive challenge we have had is the flood of last minute cancellations. Clients that were booked in for treatments pre wedding or holiday have to cancel their treatments because their event gets cancelled. The clients who have a 2hr service booked but they wake up with a sore throat and call to cancel because they are going to have a Covid test, or they receive notice that they are a close contact and have to go into isolation. Even though we are open Covid affects us every day. I know some businesses charge cancellation fees but that just seems so unfair to clients that are trying to do the right thing. So we wear the loss and hope for long term loyalty instead.”
PB: How do you see our industry coming out of this? Better, worse, the same? And why?
“I think like everything in life, our industry will be changed forever because of this pandemic. Some clients are now too scared to come into such close contact with another human, whereas others are so keen to spoil themselves in any way they can. Many clients have lost jobs or simply had to tighten their purse strings which of course affects their ability to afford luxuries such as beauty treatments. I think the beauty industry like many other industries will pull through but it will take a long time to get back to what it once was.”
PB: Do you think the multi-billion-dollar beauty industry has been given proper consideration through this pandemic? Yes or not and why/why not?
“Has the industry been given proper consideration? Great question. I think every industry has been taken into consideration and I think initially a lot of decisions were made in a very short amount of time and it felt to some that we weren’t a priority, which is correct. The priority was keeping an entire population safe, making sure our health care system didn’t collapse and saving lives. Unfortunately that meant and still means that many industries, including the beauty industry have to close for this strategy to work.”
PB: How you are you working on your business while you can’t work with clients?
“I have worked on improving our website, I’ve updated our price list, signed up to online training, I’ve done a bit of online teaching, cleaned out my client database and general business stuff that never gets done, like shredding old documents. I have also tried to stay connected with my staff by having weekly chats and sending them little care packs.”
PB: What revenue streams have you been able to develop that you hadn’t really relied upon before?
“When we set up our new website we included an online store. Previously we relied 100% on face to face sales.
PB: In what ways do you think our industry has fared compared to others?
“I would say that beauty, hair and the fitness industry have suffered similarly. Much worse than beauty would have to be tourism and the arts.”
PB: What are your plans for safeguarding your business when the pandemic ends?
“I think it’s so important to have some emergency finances tucked away, so the plan moving forward will be to start building that back up again.”
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