COVID-19 Holiday Rush: Busy or Slow?
In A Pandemic Holiday Season, How’s Business For You?
In typical 2020 fashion, this year’s “holiday rush” is looking very different for some stylists and salons. A member of the BTC Community wants to know—are you super busy, or are things slow? With so many stylists in our BTC Fam stretching to all corners of the country, we knew you guys would bring the full report! Check out how other stylists are faring in a COVID-19 holiday season, plus keep scrolling for tips to get your books back to busy.
“Our salon had a massive rush right after we opened back up, then we all got pretty slow. My question is…is everyone getting busy again? We’re still pretty slow and just wondering if we will pick up or just to expect this because of all the new stay home /family gathering type restrictions and maybe clients won’t be getting their hair done because of that? Anyone else still experiencing this slow down and or if they had any thoughts, ideas advice for some encouragement? Thanks.”
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Some Stylists Report Super Full Books
Depending on location, there IS a lot of business…but this advice from @xo.farhana.balayage is important to remember: “Busier than ever but prepared for a slowdown in clients and/or a second lockdown. Go easy on yourselves, y’all ✨❤️ It’s all about the ebbs and flows.” Check out what others said below.
“I’m crazy busy right now, with only a few openings left before Christmas. Thinking about opening my book on Sundays to help accommodate clients. I do think being in my own studio with a door I can close so it’s just me and the client helps them to feel safer, as opposed to an open-air salon.” – Jamie Grimsley
“Booked solid. My clients DGAF. If I’m there and we are both healthy, they’ll be in my chair, LMAO. My fear is shutting down for a few weeks and having nowhere to rebook those clients. Let’s pray we can hold out through December and get that holiday money!” – @__rachelmoore
“[I’m in] Ohio. Our governor has threatened another shutdown of bars, restaurants and gyms. So we are extremely busy because everyone is panicking that we will close back down also. They are also buying all of the toilet paper again!” – Amanda Jane
“We are booked till February and I will not close. Been there, done that.” – @anna_cantu
“I’m super booked up. I feel like people are rushing in any chance they can get for fear that we will be shut back down again.” – Jenny Ott
“I feel awful saying this, but we are super busy, but my salon is in Florida and we are having so many new people moving here from other states.” – @lordoftheblonde
Others Say Business Is So-So
As @jessicabonka_ashkasalonandspa said in our Instagram post, business has been “inconsistently steady-ish. 🤷♀️” Here’s what others had to say…
“We’re not ‘slow,’ but we aren’t busy, either. Not like we usually are this time of year, anyway. I have noticed my regular clients are tipping more, though, they see how quiet it is and must know our volume is down due to quarantine (it got REALLY bad in the county I work in, so most people are opting to shelter in place even though the restrictions have been lifted.)” – Antonia Galluzzi Heironimus
“I had an unusually slow couple of weeks that thankfully ended last week. This week appears to be on track to be decent. I kind of think the slow weeks might’ve been a sort of calm before the storm for the holidays, like people who would’ve needed a cut two weeks ago we’re trying to wait an extra week or three to be extra fresh for Thanksgiving. At least I hope that’s what it is 😳” – @andrewdoeshair
“Was slammed when reopened after shut down but has been up and down. My nail tech has about 15 clients that didn’t return. Feel so bad for her.” – Susan Carter
“I’m slow for this time of year. And with lockdowns happening again, it will only harm our businesses more. The only positive advice I can give is, try and hang on as long as you can.” – @hairbystevie
“I am lucky that I haven’t lost any of my clients after being shut down for 7 months. However, many of my coworkers who were booked solid, are not ever in the salon much anymore. The clients are afraid, and they have started coloring their own hair. 🤦♀️” – Monica Pineda Vasquez
“Swamped after I re-opened but October was the slowest month I’ve had in years. The ‘mad rush holiday season’ doesn’t appear to be like previous 😥 an industry that we all thought was pretty bullet proof is now deemed unessential. Fingers crossed for a strong & promising 2021!” – Emily Thomas
“I was very steady, but this week is very slow for the entire salon. The past few weeks we have been putting in overtime, and this coming week is underbooked for the week prior to Thanksgiving. Just along for the ride at this point.” – @sarahoffermann
“I’ve had a couple people book closer to holidays but are moving their appointments up in fear we will lockdown again. 😢” – @jennhinsinger
“It’s definitely not as busy…I am seeing a slow process of clients getting back into their salon schedule. Many have opted for no color service. It’s a reflection of what is happening in our lives. My thought is to stay consistent and take new clients as often as possible. Rebuild those books.” – @_denadoeshair
“A lot slower than previous years…but good clients do support and come in regularly to get their hair done even though most of them are not doing much and staying home!!!! Cheers 🥂 to those wonderful clients! 🎉🎉💕” – @mandana__ca
“I am booked, but not ‘Christmas’ booked. We still can’t double book, so just working longer hours/days for less money. 🤷♀️” – Kristy Robertson
Many Stylists Say It’s Very Slow
If you’re experiencing a slowdown, you’re not alone. “Books are usually almost completely full by now for Christmas, and they are embarrassingly empty this year,” said Chelsey Barlow on our Facebook post. Many of you are having the same experience…
“Two good weeks after opening then sooooo slow. Half of my clients haven’t returned.” – @c.b.hairstudio
“Here in NY is still so slow. We’re thinking it’s because moms are home with the kids in ‘school’ as well. I also have several guests that I still haven’t seen since we reopened. We’re usually really busy by now and totally booked through Christmas. 🤷🏻♀️” – Christie Cilente Vasquez
“I have never in 40 years lost so many clients. I am now subleasing my space to a dear friend that’s a manicurist. I’m having to reset my mindset. I have older clients that are so afraid. They’re jumpy and when they do come in, it’s not weeks late but months. I’ll be OK because I have other resources, but this isn’t the way I planned my last years in my beloved career. I had one client that made me so nervous I couldn’t do her hair, she affected me so in a negative way. It’s a sad time for everyone. I’m planning on surviving this and I’m not going to let this defeat me.” – @janicespeer53
“Very slow, hardly any appointments nor walk-Ins. Last-minute cancellations and rescheduling for a different month. I am missing a lot of my clients. It’s scary and sad. Barely making it.” – Amanda Wright
“I’m typically booked the whole month of November and December. Not this year. I hardly have anything on my books.” – Erica Somers
“It has slowed way down. I’ve lost clients due to being offended by a co-worker’s opinion on the virus and politics. I’ve also have clients who I’ve not seen since March because they are scared or because they take care of their elderly parents or underlying conditions.” – Jenifer Duncan
Salons Are Seeing More Cancellations
“Just had someone cancel for Wednesday because of possible exposure, which I completely appreciate,” said Jessica Bodde in our Facebook post. Many of you are also experiencing scheduling issues now more than ever.
“As soon as we opened, we went right back to our normal booking of six weeks out in advance. Just this past week we had a few people say they want to skip one round of haircuts due to the increase of COVID numbers.” – Lyndon Huttemann
“Definitely slower than usual. I always prebook my clients, but I’m experiencing cancellations left and right, mostly due to someone testing positive in their household.” – Colleen McIntosh Addante
“Mine have stayed the same, however I have had a lot of people who have needed to reschedule due to exposure or being sick themselves.” – Sarah Murphy
“It was crazy at the beginning and now it’s a bit worrying as you see gaps all over the place. I have seen myself taking days off that I never would. Very late cancellations and very next day bookings.” – Laura Mcquade
“My book is full, but changes on a daily basis. I’m having lots of cancellations due to a positive COVID test or quarantine. The clients are rescheduling two weeks later and I’m filling in with people that just call in to schedule, not book in advance. It’s working, just kind of a headache.” – Robyn Turner
Tips On How To Turn Business Around
“This will likely be the softest holiday season in our industry’s history,” said @ivanzoot on our Instagram post. “But…there are things you can do to maximize what opportunity you have.” Keep reading for advice!
“Nothing is normal, period! We are doing okay, but you have to be very active in promoting your business…If you sit and wait for this to get better, it will only get worse. In times like this, your true business experience will show its true face. This year, we started early with Christmas decor and promotions, and it’s already paying off for us. We are all in this together, so keep your chin up, good luck and be safe.” – Khai Bui
“Blessed to be super busy and booked out solid thru first quarter of 2021. I’m independent, I have a strict protocol that I don’t let up on. I get made fun of by rebellious clients for having so many COVID rules but who has the last laugh on that? At the end of the day there are more people who appreciate strict salon safety protocol versus not. It’s a pain to send out protocol letter every time you confirm clients upcoming appointments, but it’s been working for me! Although I get calls from new potential clients that hear about my safety precautions, unfortunately, I cannot take on any more at this time.” – Irene Smith
“I’ve definitely seen less ‘prebooks’ than normal. I have been telling my clients that if they get on my books for their normal schedule, they will be on my ‘VIP’ list for in the event we may shut down. It’s been helpful for both me and the client!” – Becki Shunick-Farm
“A lot of our clients decided they could add a couple extra weeks in between appointments since it is not essential to look good, so we have definitely taken on a lot of new clients to fill the schedule. However, I think creating a step-by-step sanitation routine for all stylists is what is working for us. Advertise how serious you are about sanitation and the steps you are taking. We have a detailed chart that all stylists do from the moment the client enters to the moment they leave. Clients that are getting their hair done witness the consistency. People are making appointments solely on our safety protocols. This is definitely an exhausting year with all this extra work as the owner😓.” – @freestyle_hair_design
“Reach out to all clients by phone. So much more personal than social media.💇♀️” – @hopkins5037
“My suggestion is to have clients prebook their next two appointments before they leave. We have been doing this since reopening.” – @melissa_millan_colon