Celebrity nail stylist, CND™ SHELLAC® Education Ambassador and in-demand spray tanner and brow artist, Skye McIntyre depends on close one-on-one contact with clients in her career. All that stopped in NSW’s most recent lockdown and Skye gives a peek into the pro nail world and how at least one of its most in-demand technicians has weathered it.
PB: How has this lockdown been different, if at all, from the other ones?
“Sydney is currently in Lockdown 2.0, which is the second time my business Skye McIntyre Nail Stylist & Spray Tanning has been closed by the government. Initially when it was announced the lockdown was only going to be for two weeks, I was secretly a little happy to have a break. I had a few projects planned to do around my home and this time would allow me time to complete them.
I did not feel as panicked as last time, but as it began to look like we were going to be locked down longer, I felt concerned firstly for my clients and that I would not be able to look after them like I normally do and of course how would I financially be able to cope!”
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?
“It has taken 7 weeks for the government assistance to come through. I feel we are lucky to be in a country that can assist us financial to some degree. However, I do feel annoyed like every other business that it has taken so long for the payments to come through, given the fact they shut our business down.”
PB: How has your business been affected?
“My business has stopped completely. I see majority of my clients every 2 to 3 weeks and this is time for them to take time out from their busy schedules to stop and relax for an hour. My clients share their lives with me, I miss their stories. I am sounding board to my clients, some call me a therapist, I just am happy I can be somebody who can be here to listen and allow them get things of their chest. We all need this, and some people do not have anyone they can trust to share with, so I worry about my clients. I genuinely miss them.
In Lockdown 2020, I took the time to look at my business model and what I could do to improve my service going forward. We don’t get many opportunities in our business to do this, especially when we are working in our business daily. This was the first time, in a long time I had the opportunity to work on my business.
It made me realise the incredible amount of hours I was working and going forward, I knew I had to change this. When my business reopened, I managed to implement my new business model, I have always found it hard in my business to turn people away. It’s always very easy just to just squeeze someone in after the hours you have set yourself. I always found myself saying “just this once”, but I found you set yourself up for failure and are giving your clients a mixed message. I cut back my hours and created a new business model that now works for me.
My clients did all come back to me, which proved to me they valued me as much as I value them. Some did take a little bit longer and I believe that was because of their own financial positions but I was first back on their list.”
PB: How do you see our industry coming out of this? Better, worse, the same? And why?
“This is the perfect time for us to look at our brand and how we can provide a better service to our clients. I believe we can always improve. At the start of my career 25 years ago, Nan said to me ‘A career in the beauty industry is a safe one, women will always find money to spend on themselves Skye’. Nan spoke from experience she had lived through decades of war and depression. I am hoping Nan’s wise words carry the beauty industry through this.”
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?
“The beauty industry has always bounced back after economic crises. The biggest problem I see in the beauty industry is online kits from eBay or overseas, that are being sold to consumers without formal qualifications. These kits have toxic ingredients and without correct procedures, for example in the Nail industry, misuse of acrylic and gel products can lead to allergic reactions.”
PB: How you are you working on your business while you can’t work with clients?
“Sssshhhhhh, please don’t tell anyone 😉 I have been working on a little secret… freshening up of my Studio, which I cannot wait to share with my clients! I also once again have taken the time to work on my business. Overseas trends are where I get my inspiration and from this I have added a few special luxury steps to my gel polish manicure and acrylic enhancement services. I think my clients are absolutely going to just love this. I am very excited to treat them when I reopen.
I am still running my social media pages, which keeps me engaged with my clients. I love that we can still have a form of connection. It is important part of my business.”
PB: What revenue streams have you been able to develop that you hadn’t really relied upon before?
“During both Lockdowns I have looked at the ways I can support my clients, who have enhancements on their nails. I created a step by step DIY Removal Kit so they could take their product off without damaging their nails and nail care kits to help rejuvenate their nails until they can come back to me. Clients have been so supportive of this and very grateful I have provided this for them.”
PB: What are your plans for safeguarding your business when the pandemic ends?
“Firstly, I can start with me and what I can do to make my clients feel safe. I am fully vaccinated and whilst I am aware this doesn’t stop me from contracting COVID-19, I do believe it is the first step in getting our industry back up and running. I have QR Codes in place. My clients see me on a one-on-one basis, I have no clients crossing over paths. My next client who is due, messages me from her car on arrival and this allows me to have a chance to finish my current client, sanitise all areas and let her know if the client before her as left. I will be wearing a mask as will my clients and the highest level of hygiene standards are in place. My clients are very respectful of the level of effort I put in to keep them safe and in return they do the best they can do to keep me safe.”
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