Tell us how COVID has helped the beauty industry unite.
I think that COVID-19 brought beauty salon/clinic owners together during lockdown as most of us had to close our businesses, so we were no longer in competition with each other but united in fear for our futures. 
I think the lockdown also dramatically changed the relationship between many suppliers and salon/clinic owners as, for the first time, we all really had to work together to find a way to survive. 
For example, although we have used and stocked ZO Skin Health and iS Clinical skincare at Amirova for almost two years we weren’t allowed to sell the products on our website. However, once the lockdown started both companies had emergency discussions with their head offices in the United States and agreed to allow their Australian clinics to sell their products online, and even prepared and supplied the images and text to make the process as easy as possible for us all. 
The move online was a win-win-win for the companies, for Amirova and for our clients, and most likely for all their other clinics and clients too. 
I don’t think that ZO and iS Clinical will ever want to go back to retailing their products in-clinic only.

200Sofia believes now is the time to reassess your salon’s business model.

What is the one takeaway lesson as a business leader you have learnt?
I think the most important lesson to be learnt from COVID-19 is that we can never stop and rest thinking that we know it all and that our current business model, or any aspect of our life, is a fait accompli. 
The world is constantly changing – it always has and always will – so we have to as well. 
During the early days of the COVID-19 lockdown I was scared that Amirova, the clinic I had started just three years ago, wouldn’t survive. Many times I wanted to just give up as I didn’t know exactly what I needed to do to keep the clinic going although I knew I had to do something, not just for my sake but for my beautiful clients who depend on me and my services. 
Fortunately, my desire to help my clients was stronger than my fears so I adapted my clinic to survive and thrive during and after lockdown. 
Although COVID-19 was, and still is, a major event impacting us all, one day the pandemic will end, but there will be other ‘events’ to impact our businesses. Whatever changes come I know I will again find the strength and courage to adapt to survive.

Tell us one of the biggest changes you have made to your business during this time.
The biggest change I made during lockdown was to dramatically increase our online product and service offering. We launched virtual consultations to help our clients look after their skin in the comfort and safety of their own homes during the lockdown. 
During the 30-minute consultations via Zoom, Skype or Facetime we advised clients on the best ways to keep their skin glowing until we could welcome them back to the clinic. 
The consultations were totally customised to meet each client’s unique needs, but generally included a visual skin analysis, a discussion about skin concerns, product recommendations and skincare treatment demonstrations. 
We also rapidly expanded our online product offering by not only by adding ZO Skin Health and iS Clinical skincare but by expanding our own Amirova product range from just three products to a full range of medical grade skincare products which includes our hero products – Irresistible You Serum and Virtual Skin Tint.

This article first appeared in the August issue of Professional Beauty magazine. Download the issue here.

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