These Masks Make You Feel So Tired...
Some of us are a couple days in from reopening this week and it feels foreign to many stylists and barbers working in today's industry. I keep listening to, and watching all these short clips on social media about how many of us are handling this like champs. You guys are AMAZING! But the truth behind all of these new changes is it's both physically and mentally exhausting. How do we get through the next few months? Let me tell you....Encouragement from each other as we all step into our professions with a an open mind and heart, knowing that all of us are just trying to get through another day. Support each other during these trying times when we feel like giving up. Sit with each other in silence, as we let the other person next to us cry it out. We see you, we hear you, we are here for you.
Today, I wanted to share a letter from a friend of mine who is a suite owner. Her name is Lucy and she shares a twin suite with a former co-worker of ours named Nikki. We all use to work at a salon and spa in Hamden,CT called Joiya. Some of my best memories as a hair stylists started at this establishment, and I'm so grateful for the experience. It has taught me so much working there, and I am so thankful for the bond I've developed with what I like to call, lifetime hair besties!
Both Lucy and Nikki are phenomenal and extremely talented stylists, and I'm so honored to call them friends. Lucy owns Dolce Hair by Lucy in North Haven, CT and I had wanted to share her thoughts with you all. We are going through one of the most curious times of our careers. I say curious, because we are all just trying to take it one day at a time, curious to see what the next day will bring. It is without question, this is a challenging time for all of us as hairdressers, but together we can learn from each other. We can use the knowledge we've gained from working through this pandemic, as a guide in helping others overcome their fears and doubts. Sometimes it take a community of hearts, to really lift someone up. Whether you feel defeated, complacent, or just want to give up, I want you to know there are people out there, that truly want to help. Don't be discouraged. We are stronger together.
I prepared to open my suite Once again. Changing the opening day to June 1st didn't do anything, but elevate my stress levels. I don't have anything more for PPE than I originally had for the May 20th date and supplies are hard to come by these days. All my clients are eager to get back to some kind of normalcy, and quite frankly so am I. We're all nervous, but I have to admit, being in a salon suite has it's advantages. I'm able to offer one-on-one services and I have less exposure to multiple people while I am working on a client's hair. I wanted to keep to a somewhat regular schedule when I reopened the salon, but pushing the date out two more weeks made that a bit more complicated than I would have liked.
I have spent hours in my salon cleaning, prepping, calling and rescheduling my clients since we finally got confirmation of the June 1st date. I am working double my normal hours just to make up for missed appointments and lost time. I have built in 30 minutes, in between clients to make sure I clean and disinfect everything before my next guest arrives. In total, when you add up the amount of clients who sit in your chair, (which is half the amount of what I'm used to when performing services) that adds up to about three hours of cleaning in one day, on top of cleaning after my work day is over. I don't mind the cleaning so much, after all its part of our job description...it's the anxiety I feel when something is missed or forgotten then what? It's all heightened and not in a good way.
I always strive to work smarter not harder, but now my new motto will be to work safer and smarter. Things will be slow at first, as we all tread lightly over these new protocols. Time will only tell how things will either progress forward or regress backwards. I'm hoping that we see the light at the end of this long, dark, uncertain tunnel sooner, rather than later. The one thing I do pride myself on is being extremely organized and prepared. Over the last month while waiting for a reopening date, I've purchased small individual, shoe box size totes, that I use to pack all supplies needed for each client on the day of their appointments, the night before.
Yes, you heard me right, each client gets their own tote of supplies for me to use on them. In each tote, the items included are one Lysol spray bottle, a client cape, a neck towel, clips (to be disinfected after using), combs and brushes (also to be disinfected after using), disposable gloves and an apron for myself. This helps to eliminate, A.) cross contamination with other tools and protective wear that I must use on clients and extra PPE for myself, and B.) I'm not reaching all over my suite for things I can easily access from this tote that contains all the essentials. It also helps with timing and efficiency when trying to get clients in for their services. My suite is also fully stocked with hand sanitizing wipes for my clients and for their phones as well.
I'll be real with you, I've spent more money on PPE and disinfectant in the last two months than I've ever spent, since owning my own business in the last year-in-a-half. As I would imagine other salons in the area have done the same, I feel it's just that part of the budget we have to extend and allocate more money to these days. I've always been a "safety first," person, but never in my life having to envision wearing all this apparatus to do hair. I've purchased scrubs to work in, in addition to goggles, masks and a face shield topped off with a high bun as my new look, to work in.
These last two days have been quite the ride, and I'm exhausted by the end of my shift. I have to hope that this won't happen, but I also have learned a great deal about how this pandemic has affected us all. In a way, it's compelled us to plan more accordingly, and to be prepared in case we get hit with another wave of this virus. God, I truly hope not, but nothing is certain. That being said, I feel I have done my best to try and accommodate my clients and I can only take it one day at a time. This is a learning process for all of us, and I wish nothing but safety and success to my fellow colleagues working right now. Take care and stay safe!