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The new normal, welcomes new challenges for the salon industry

by Arun Shirishkar

COVID-19 has brought a shift in the workings of the salon industry. Payal Upase lays down a few points of concern that every salon owner has faced

The pandemic has changed every aspect of our everyday life. It has put a mandatory distance of two meters that must separate two human beings in order to be safe. Worldwide, this has hobbled the salon industry. In India, it hit its skilled workforce, small salons and even the roadside barber shops. With the closing down of salons, their reopening in June still showed a grim picture.

Crammed salons are now a thing of the past
While India has its fair share of luxury salons, which are large and equipped with private rooms, there also exists a major chunk of smaller salons. We all have that one salon in our locality, that is as small as a matchbox, but we go there repeatedly due to our trust in their skills. Everyone has the one beautician who they swear by to get their eyebrows done. However, those matchbox sized salons are now a thing of the past. Due to social distancing norms, smaller salons like these face major barriers. 

Increased costs
Availing salon services is still a luxury to several Indians. These services are generally not prioritized by families that belong to smaller income groups. Salons now have to deal with a lot of increased costs. These include the costs of using PPE’s, disposable tools, sanitization, etc. These costs are passed on to the clients, which makes salon services more expensive than they previously were. These increased costs will make it difficult for more people to avail these services.

Rise in demand of home services
Several people are now more comfortable with availing services in the comfort of their homes. Convenience is now non-negotiable in the service industry. Everyone is looking for end-to-end services sitting at home, if you can get groceries, you can get a hairdresser as well. People going door to door to provide services are charging a higher fee, but are ensuring their clients with their sanitary practices. This pattern of behaviour in clients has led to more and more people opting for at home services.

Fear all around
Fear is impacting every business in the world, including the salon industry. People who have the luxury of staying indoors are afraid of stepping outside unless absolutely necessary. “Clients are walking in like inspectors and asking if the shop is safe. If the shop is open, it must be! We want to be safe too. People are just getting essentials done now – a quick haircut, or the covering of greys, or a repair job and they are out of the salon.” says hairstylist Jawed Habib as per an article in Hindustan Times. This fear of people has led to a rise in people choosing to DIY these services in the comfort of their home.

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