Written by D’Arcy Harrison,
At the current moment— the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order is in full effect in WA state until May 4th, 2020 however the Cosmetology sector is unclear that May 4th will be the GO TIME date for salons and barbershops. Washingtonians are already getting stir crazy but across the country, most states have only justs followed suit on social distancing and doing their best to adhere to emerging announcements from the CDC and WHO.
Hairstylists, colorists, assistants, barbers, receptionists, managers, owners, distributor reps and many more inside the beauty industry are out of work. No income.
DEALING WITH AMBIGUITY: There are no assurances when these personal care businesses will be allowed to open again. Whether a small business owner, employer, or employee- calling it an industry ripple is a gross understatement- this is like an earthquake and tsunami COMBINED. The “NEW New World” is one where it is now possible to force all hair related businesses to halt in order to avoid breaking the 6ft Social Distancing guidelines. To help support our industry- donate at the image to your left.
Donate at the link to ProBeauty.Orgfor hair pros in need
Panic, anxiety, fear, sadness, anger and disbelief are just some of the emotions we have felt. Many are unsure how they are supposed to support their families with no income for weeks on end. Many working class workers like hairstylists barely make enough $ over the cost of living in some areas and could never be prepared for a disaster of this nature. It is a huge wake-up call to small businesses that having a rainy day fund or 2 weeks worth of savings just is not enough to weather a shut down of this nature. Business interruption coverage on insurance is not being approved 100% of the time by insurance companies. This was a rude awakening to many who felt they would have a safety net through that avenue.
<<<Email from WA State DOL
“How do you do hair with social distancing?” The brutal answer is you don’t. No hair anywhere. The WA State Dept Of Licensing issued clarification and reiterated –—- NO HAIR CAN BE CONDUCTED ANYWHERE
It is a temporary law that if broken carries the risk of losing licensure, up to $5000 fine and up to one year in jail. Additionally, continuing to do hair services ignores the reason we need to stop doing business- the virus and the potential of losing lives. Additionally, our license does not permit creating custom color kits for clients or resale of professional products. A pro must formulate, mix and apply themselves according to licensure. Color manufacturers generally will not support it and neither will an insurance company if something goes wrong. Additionally, the stylist or barber themselves need to stay home and stay safe to avoid contagion. If they are exposed- they risk having to quarantine away from family as well as possible illness and/or death. Stay Home. Stay Safe.
So WHAT ARE hair pros doing while they cannot work?
Hair industry professionals continue supporting their businesses and have come up with some creative options as well as ways to spend their time while in quarantine.
LEARNING: Many manufacturers and distributors have stepped up to offer free live and recorded education daily on social media or on their website platforms. This means your pro will be STRONGER when they return as they have been starved for stretching their skills while disconnected from being able to service clients. If you are a hair pro- we recommend these pages for products we love: Love Kevin Murphy facebook page, Moroccan Oil Pro or Olaplex Users facebook group .
COMMUNITY: Stylists, owners, employees and more convene online in social media groups on Facebook. Sharing videos on TikTok. Sharing their Instagram handles. Sharing funny hair and quarantine related memes. Making videos and resources to inspire and support the mental health of those struggling with the new paradigm. Motivating each other to stay strong, come together and to persist. “We will get through this together,” is the ironic mantra of many. If you are a Washington State hair pro- we recommend joining the Facebook Groups for The Sovereign Stylist and Cosmetologists of WA United. (If you become an enrolled Member Advocate you can get access to exclusive content on an ADVOCATES ONLY Cosmetologists United Facebook Group. Disclaimer: Co-Owner of Emerson Salon D’Arcy Harrison is one of the new association leaders at COWU.)
ALTERNATE INCOME STREAMS: Companies have shifted into high gear to offer ability to create custom online stores and affiliate programs so hairstylists and barbers can earn income recommending products to their clients for at home use and earning a commission. In some instances, companies have raised the commission to support the crisis of so many losing their incomes overnight.
Sell Gift Cards Online, allow 1 per service in small increments
Many pros have also created email and text messaging to their clientele to purchase gift cards for future services through Square or other online POS/gift card platforms. Many hoping to protect their income in the future utilize a policy of smaller gift card amounts that allow for use of one gift card per service.
LOANS and UNEMPLOYMENT: Simply put- workers who are employed by a company or individual and have a paycheck with taxes taken out had practically instant access to WA state Unemployment Insurance since they had paid into the programs. The self-employed, independent contractors and small businesses did not. It wasn’t until the federal CARE Act was enacted that aa glimmer of hope was given to those without any income stream. There is, however, patience required in the face of confusion and chaos and as the new programs were slowly rolled out. Banks and applicants are learning new details as they emerge daily if not hourly.
Most programs are accessed via SBA.gov
1) Some people are eliglible for the PPP (Payment Protection Program) and some are not.
2) Most if not all self employed are eligible for the EIDL (Economic Injury Disaster Loan) but the processing may take weeks- which means more ambiguity.
3) Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) is now possible for part-time and self-employed workers but each state has to create a new platform to deal with workers who never qualified for their state UI in the past.
In WA State, they announced April 18th is the target of the PUA roll out but most anticipate continued challenges as record numbers apply for assistance—even MORE ambiguity. There are rumblings that the CARE Act is just the first step in many steps the federal gov’t will make to support the unemployed and small businesses. We think we are maxed out on ambiguity right now!
Additionally, WA State just announced a new grant system that is doled out per county and that can be accessed here: http://startup.choosewashingtonstate.com/covid-grants/ or if you have a small business near Amazon headquarters go to: https://www.aboutamazon.com/job-creation-and-investment/neighborhood-small-business-relief-fund
Hairstylists and barbers are extremely resilient, creative, passionate, strong, SPECIAL and tenacious individuals. Businesses are doing whatever they can to keep blood pumping to the heart and souls of the people who make the hair industry so special. We wish we could do hair right now! We ache for the day when we can get back to work and none of us likes the idea of sitting around for months — but if it means more will live through this danger we are begrudgingly complying. Reach out to your trusted hair pro and tell them you SUPPORT their struggles. Offer to buy them groceries, send them a gift card or just phone them up to help keep their spirits up. We usually are the “hair-apist” but now…you can give back to the ones you depend on and respect.
Licensed professionals inside the WA State Department Cosmetology are not permitted to instruct non-pros on how to use, mix or apply professional or non-professional color.We advise you strongly to remember that cheap grocery store color or randomly chosen shades can go horribly wrong without education or expertise.
Think it through—-Bright roots or blotchy color. Brassy orange bands or the color going way darker than you intended— OR WORSE it melts or breaks in obvious places. And then no pro is available to “fix” it and when they are able to fix it in a month or MORE—the cost is quadruple because you put something horribly difficult to remove into your hair.
Additionally, we ask you that you wait for us to get back to work to get your haircut. Yah- it will get shaggy but you are home and only doing internet conference calls right? Give yourself and others permission not to feel like they HAVE to adhere to a beauty standard right now. Isn’t that such a blessing? We can focus on what we DO for ourselves and each other instead of a superficial desire or
Need to cover gray???? Wear a hat, wear a scarf use mascara or eyeshadow or even Purchase a root spray! Need to rehab those damaged ends? Buy Olaplex no3 Hair Perfector! Hair feel dry? Get some Moroccan Oil! Need some styling wax or pomade– get some Kevin Murphy Night Rider or FreeHold! The possibilities are endless! Need a product consult? Contact D’Arcy for a recommendation.
It is frustrating to not be permitted to have a professional assist you in covering your grays or touch up that haircut. But I truthfully understand that hair and $ is not more important than lives. I am here for you for all your at home haircare.
A local artist named Glynn Erin did >>>>>
a fantastic job painting our boarded up business. Thanks Glynn! instagram.com/glynnrosenberg
See it as LIBERATION from society telling you how to look! If you want to do your hair up its for YOU and your mental health. Its for the nourishment of your hair and follicles and not a LOOK. Its for fun!