COPING WITH COVID-19
On March 18, members of ISBN’s Board of Directors did what ISBN members do year-round across the network’s touchpoints and events. They openly shared their business experience, insights, concerns, action plans and realities with each other and with ISBN supporters. For this unprecedented business challenge spurred by the coronavirus, they opened up their conversation to the entire professional beauty industry, working with media partner SALON TODAY on a swiftly produced webinar on “Preparing Your Business to Weather the COVID-19 Crisis.”
Priority topics quickly shifted from protecting salon guests, staff and business revenue during the crisis’ onset to managing the business realities of voluntary and mandated closures until further notice.
Participation reflected the industry’s need for dialogue and guidance.
- More than 3,700 professionals from every level of the salon, spa and barber community signed up to attend the online session.
- 1,651 listened in live.
- More than 350 questions were posed by the audience to the panel.
- Thousands more are expected to access the complete webinar, archived here.
- ISBN President Scott Missad, President and CEO of Gene Juarez Salons and Spas in Seattle, the first area of the United States hit by the effects of the pandemic
- ISBN Government Affairs Chair Rhoda Olsen, Vice Chair Board of Directors of Great Clips
- ISBN Secretary Emily Hutcheson-Brown, Chief Operating Officer of V’S Barbershops
- ISBN Board Member Debra Penzone, President and CEO of PENZONE Salon + Spa
- Laura Ortmann, owner of Ginger Bay Salons and Spas, a Salon Today 200 salon in St. Louis
- Tamara Johnson Shealey, Founder and Senior Advocate, Politics Beauty & Barber
Looking ahead realistically, but with optimism
“We’re all in this together” was a consistent message throughout the webinar exchange, as was a call to action articulated by panelist Ortmann, who defined a three-phase strategy focused on safety first, then financial impact and finally, but also immediately, planning for recovery.
At the time of the webinar, Gene Juarez Salon and Spas in Washington, PENZONE Salon + Spa locations in Ohio and Ginger Bay Salons and Spas in Missouri has already closed. Great Clips and V’s Barbershops are franchise operations, with decisions to close made by the local franchisee. All agreed that consumer traffic dropped off and dovetailed with other local closures, like school closings. The panel agreed that for the industry and for their own businesses, things were likely to get more challenging before improving, but all were also positive about the future for salons that stayed proactive and decisive.
Missad: Anticipate and prepare for the wave of pent-up demand that will come when businesses reopen.
Hutcheson-Brown: “Hair is going to grow.” Business will come back, acknowledging salons and barbers will likely lose a cycle of appointment revenue.
Ortmann: “Don’t let a good crisis go to waste.” Cited the opportunity for salon leaders and teams to work on business, to reinvent, to blow up and reset old systems that need updated.
Throughout the coming weeks and months, ISBN will continue to gather and share ideas and examples from members in our online forums and blogs and will recap and follow-up in more detail on the topics and suggestions addressed by panelists. We’ll also engage board members, including Olsen, to respond to many of the questions raised by webinar attendees. Please share your own thoughts, best practices and questions, too, with ISBN. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.