In his exclusive series for Professional Hairdresser Magazine Andrew Barton, Creative & Communications Director at Headmasters has made it his mission to champion the Salon Hairdresser and this has never been more important than in the face of Covid-19.
We are currently living in unprecedented times and all of us are facing huge challenges. I’ve been asked by friends and colleagues how I’m coping and I want to share FIVE CHOICES I make each day to help me in these difficult times. By no means are these a set of “fix it” rules, they are instead suggestions to help you have some control in this situation, as despite the uncertainty one thing is for sure we do have CHOICES.
I start my day with some form of exercise – I see it as a reset, it clears my mind and is like mediation for me. I’ve always made that CHOICE so there’s no need for me to change that in my life. I bought some resistance bands to replace my usual gym sessions and have revisited some yoga practice and breathing exercises to maintain well-being and focus my energy, I particularly like @healthywholeme and @maudehirst. At Headmasters we have organised free Yoga sessions on Zoom for the whole 1000 strong team with @healthywholeme to connect and stay healthy. There are many online exercise tutorials and a lot focus on body weight resistance only, so easy for all of us as you don’t need equipment.
In my usual week I travel a lot – from my salon where I’m seeing clients, to studio shoots, to office work, it’s extremely diverse. Obviously staying in one place without any clients is completely different, as it is for most of us in our industry. So, to keep some level of control in this situation I make sure I get up at the same time, shower and dress for work to try and keep as much normality and routine as possible. I often work from home and this discipline has always helped keep me focussed to meet my objectives.
With uncertainty ahead it’s challenging to set out objectives for the future but I find mind mapping, brainstorming and writing lists are helping to stop my mind racing. I am prioritising what needs to be done and navigating the challenges this closure is having on our business. The CHOICE is yours, however you do it, to commit to yourself and the people around you.
Try to use this time effectively by educating yourselves, getting some of those life chores completed and keeping a healthy life balance so once this is over you are ready to go. If you are able to work from home, I discipline myself to do the most important (and sometimes the least favourite things) first, leaving the rest of my day to focus on activities I like doing. I do try to turn off in-coming emails so that I can stay focused on priority jobs rather than firefighting and therefore not getting distracted.
I’m currently scheduling time each day to check in with my Salon team via a group WhatsApp and we’ve agreed to use this for business, guidance and positive messages so that we all are in the picture.
I am also avoiding certain aspects of social media and not getting involved with debates and opinions about the future of the industry. However, there are some great forums to engage with including The Fellowship of Hairdressing and our Trade magazines, who never fail to support us!
We are all finding we have extra time, so I am scheduling my time like a salon diary including my agenda for the day and allocating some space to learn and educate myself.
Most of my salon team have mannequin heads at home so they are practicing techniques. They are taking time to educate themselves through social media and although furloughing, they are staying connected as a team through our group What’sApp and sharing exciting training they are seeing. They decided this week they wanted to all upskill on dressing long hair. A particular favourite of mine is my friend Sharon Blaine @sharonblaineeducation, the queen of hair up, who will also be guest appearing in October at the Headmasters London Academy.
Check out all of the manufacturers including L’Oréal Professional, Revlon Professional, Paul Mitchell, Salon Success and Wella Professionals, to name a few, as they are providing a wealth of hairdressing expertise free of charge and with some great talent. We all know areas that we need to improve, it may not be hairdressing techniques, it may be training yourself to utilise social media or simple accounting. It really is your CHOICE, but worth looking at this quarantine as giving you precious time that normal life often doesn’t allow us.
Everyone in hairdressing education is reaching out to share their skills to the industry and we should all be proud of how we are coming together and sharing our insights.
If you are looking for great quality mannequins then I can highly recommend Banbury Postiche and their delivery service banburypostiche.co.uk.
We as an industry are very resilient, it’s in our nature – we are the pillar of the communities. None of us can make predictions to the outcome of these unprecedented times that our Government are also navigating to support the Nation. But we do know we have the skills to make people look and feel great about themselves, never has confidence been so needed.
Clients will be looking for what they perceive as best value when they come back through our salon doors, remember they have a CHOICE. Some say the industry may be leaner and more competitive, but clients will choose how and where they want to spend their money. Let’s take this time to look at ourselves, our business and commit to the changes that we need to make to improve the product we offer.
Speculation isn’t helpful and there are many opinions but a “back to basics” approach will be essential for salon teams to focus on when we return. So, during this time think about the three key areas that you know your business can improve on and make a plan of action for each area to start building the framework of what needs to be done and what can be achieved.
It sounds easy to say doesn’t it, but taking time each day to appreciate small things that we don’t usually see at home is so important. Taking time to prepare good food, to stay in touch with family and friends, to appreciate what you do have. Of course, I’m thinking about the financial circumstances of my business but I have options. I may have to work differently and that will be the challenge, but for today I’m working on staying present and connected. Focussing on what my body needs, eating well, maintaining balance and taking time to connect to friends, family, my community and giving myself time to observe my emotions and not letting fear take over.
I remember as an Apprentice sometimes I would manifest that I wasn’t good enough, and on reflection that I was perpetuating fear;
F = false
E = evidence
A = appearing
R = real
We really do need to make a CHOICE each day as to how we think and react to life’s challenges.
For me, I’m focussing on keeping myself physically, mentally and emotionally fit to get back into my salon as soon as we can and be with my team and clients. I know you will be thinking and doing the same thing and I hope this feature helps keep you focus on your CHOICES.
I’d love to hear from you.
Stay well ,safe and healthy my friends.