The leadership team from V's Barbershop, from left, COO Emily Brown, CEO Jim Valenzuela, VP of Finance Chris Mitchell, and Franchisee Support Renae Germinaro.
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The leadership team from V's Barbershop, from left, COO Emily Brown, CEO Jim Valenzuela, VP of Finance Chris Mitchell, and Franchisee Support Renae Germinaro.

Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, the International SalonSpa Business Exchange (ISBN) has been checking on members and helping them connect and support each other and business leaders throughout the professional beauty industry.

Through a new online series of MUSE (multi-unit salon/spa exchange) check-ins, members are offering their ideas and quick pick-me-ups to help one another navigate the day-to-day throughout the crisis.

For example, the latest offering focused on feedback from Emily Brown, COO of V's Barbershop with multiple locations across the country. 

ISBN/MUSE: What are three things you are working on right now?

BROWN:  Right now, I’m focused on three Cs--Communication, CARES and Catching up:

  1. Communications with all patrons, store by store, especially related to store closures, but also on how patrons may be able to assist barbers, whether though a go-fund me campaign, purchasing gift cards and products, booking and/or paying in advance, and more. We connect over multiple platforms including direct e-mail, website and social media, plus we must notify landlords to update shopping center communications, etc. There are so many touchpoints, and consistency matters.
  2. Understanding CARES and relaying information in a summarized form to our franchise community, so that they have all they will need to apply for assistance and loans. We are really concentrating on helping our franchise family make the choices that are best for them and for their staff.  With multiple avenues of assistance, some may be forgivable, and others not, it’s imperative that we understand all the elements and options for our franchisees and their staff.  We want to ensure that our franchisees understand they cannot participate in “all” options and need to make the right choices before acting.
  3. Catching our breath. During this “waiting” period when the world is social distancing, our team at V’s Barbershop have made a choice to use the  time to help us clean up and catch up. Everyone has a stack of paperwork, perhaps emails set aside, or any number of projects that are time-consuming yet have not received attention. With our storefronts closed and services not being provided, this provides us all a chance to pause and to perfect. Whether we are perfecting our marketing creative, filing systems, data clean-up, processes or any other number of items, if you can work from home in any way, and you can contribute, you should be

We have also encouraged our franchisees to take this time to clean and make their stores shine, to basically do what we call mini resets, providing checklists and guidance. We have asked that they all do a deep clean of their stores involving maintenance, painting and other things that are hard to do while patrons are inside. This will allow us to open in a manner that will go above and beyond any and all sanitary guidelines

ISBN/MUSE: Share an idea that has helped V’S connect with and support guests or staff?

BROWN: Many of our franchise owners are using text, email and private groups to stay connected while apart. The need to communicate with your team is imperative as an owner or manager, as you want your associates to continue to be connected to your operation, staff and business. You need them back, and they will likely need you as well. Keeping spirits high and reminding your employees that we will come back to “life” again is very helpful and needed.

ISBN/MUSE: Speaking of keeping spirits up, that can be tough for business leaders who are feeling the weight of so much responsibility, decisions and uncertainty. Please share something that made you smile this week.

Walking daily with her dogs keeps Emily Brown's spirits up.
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Walking daily with her dogs keeps Emily Brown's spirits up.

BROWN: This may be the hardest question to answer. We have just had our head down, and have been blocking, tackling and absorbing as much as we can for our franchise family, not to mention stressing about our very own small business, our V’s franchise company.  Couple this with personal situations and being on lock down, it has been hard, not going to lie. But some things that have helped my own personal sanity this week and hopefully ongoing:

  • Walking every single day.  Rain, snow or shine.  We all need some fresh air.
  • My dogs (see “walking,” above).
  • The wealth of great memes and videos online, taking a lighter look at our circumstances. I am thankful for humor.
  • The fact that I have been blessed enough to continue to care for my family, and the realization that we are being supported by our government (no matter what political affiliation you are, this support package is massive). We can all be grateful for whatever blessings we have been given and look forward to the fact we will not continue to live like this forever.

To read more from MUSE or to learn about ISBN, visit salonspanetwork.org/muse.

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