The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting mandated shutdown has had an impact on the professional beauty industry like no other event in history. To spotlight the resilience and determination of owners and their teams as they rebuild their businesses, SALON TODAY launches the Profiles in Courage series in partnership with Intercoiffure Canada-America. In this first one, we catch up with Michael Haase, owner of PlantinumBlack a Michael Haase Salon in Los Angeles, a single-location salon that currently employees three team members.
SALON TODAY: How long were you closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic?
Haase: 6 months
ST: During closure, how did you engage and educate team members?
Haase: A few of my team left or quit the craft altogether. I lost three-fourths of my team who started making house calls on their own. We opened in November 2019, so COVID-19 was a huge blow financially and team-wise.
ST: During closure, how did you engage and educate clients?
Haase: I contacted clients to update them, but some clients left because they had someone coming to their house for a cheaper price.
ST: How many team members did not return?
ST: Because of social distancing guidelines, at what percentage of capacity can you operate now?
Haase: The law says 25%.
ST: For you and your business, what has been the most challenging part of 2020?
Haase: Finding competent staff. We are in a fragile state in this industry with so many restrictions, no support for owners, and stylists who don’t understand what it is to run a successful business. That means more than yourself in a little room with one client—I’m referring to a successful salon business. We will survive however, and we will be successful once again.
ST: What specific strategies have you developed to grow service and retail sales during this time?
Haase: In incorporated a new booking system with Booker from Mindbody and this has helped tremendously. We’ve been able to reach out to the community to aid with special rewards for first responders and healthcare providers. We’re also inviting new clients to do Google reviews and have revived points toward service.
ST: How does 2020 sales compare to 2019 sales?
Haase: You can’t compare. We are missing half a year.
ST: What are you doing to keep team morale high?
Haase: We are training and practicing with cool Rock ‘n Roll on our sound system. We are talking to people on the street together in front of the salon, visiting our neighbors and chatting with them. We are watching educational videos together, and researching vacation possibilities that we can reach by driving. And, we are laughing a lot. It’s all inclusive.
ST: What other activities are you doing to strengthen your business at this time?
Haase: We are looking for employees to grow, and we are inviting companies to hold events in our space. We have a very largest salon that allows us to be very distanced and safe.
ST: What are your marketing plans for the holiday season?
Haase: We have special events on certain days with gifts for clients who spend a certain amount, and vouchers for January 2021. Most clients will invest in our gift bags that hold hair care products. And, we have a holiday raffle for a GHD blowdryer and flat iron.
ST: How has being a member of Intercoiffure helped you through this tough year?
Haase: When you’re alone, you are unsure of what others are doing, but being and ICA member gives us assurance based on the history of successful hairdressers.
For reprint and licensing requests for this article, Click here.