• Monday, Nov 28, 2022
  • Last Update : 10:24 am

How the beauty industry is adapting to the new normal

  • Published at 01:09 pm June 9th, 2021
Gala Salon Gulshan
Gala Makeover Studio and Salon Courtesy

Recently hairdressers and salons have resumed operations on a limited scale, following proper safety measures and wearing PPE

The Beauty industry is heavily reliant on close human contact, which the pandemic has affected greatly. A year on, between two lockdowns and consumer fears, many have had to adapt to the new normal amid crushing losses. 

A small salon owner in Gulshan, wishing anonymity said the entire industry relies on Eid sales. "Because of two consecutive lockdowns we have lost 90% of our revenue. Some Tk35 lakhs." 

"I have had to pay my workers less than half their salary, and could not give them their Eid bonus last year, which I paid out of pocket this time around." She said adding that she was not aware of the SME stimulus packages available to her. 

A recent study by CPD found  that bank officials created extra hassle which discouraged women to apply for the loans, found the study, which aimed to understand whether the government support measures during the Covid-19 pandemic had been gender-sensitive.

This led to only 7% female entrepreneurs in the country applying for loans under the stimulus package announced for women-run CMSMEs. 

Recently hairdressers and salons have resumed operations on a limited scale, following proper safety measures and wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) while providing services to the customers. 

There are over 350,000 registered salons in 64 districts of Bangladesh. The number is higher when it comes to men’s salons which stands at about 500,000. The industry employs over a million women with a turnover of five billion taka, according to a recent media report.

Navin Ahmed, owner at Gala Makeover Studio & Salon, shares how they have been operating during the pandemic. The salon went into operation from July 2020, taking in limited clients on an appointment basis, only at their Gulshan-1 branch, after almost four months of a Covid-19 induced lockdown.

“The nature of our work is intricately related to personal care and hygiene. Today, reducing the transmission of the Coronavirus, and adopting safety measures through appropriate standard operating procedures is the biggest mandate of Gala Makeover Studio and Salon,” said Navin. 

Only on June 8, last year did the government recognize the Beauty industry formally. This has helped them in applying for loans under the SME stimulus packages.

Laila from Rose Beauty Parlour in the capital's Lalmatia area says: “My business has suffered a lot because of the pandemic and lockdown. We applied for the SME loan incentive through Prime Bank to pay the salaries of her employees, utility bills, etc, and are waiting to hear back from them.”

As a salon owner and responsible citizen of the country, Navin Ahmed feels that it is her duty to set her business to higher safety standards and scientific precision, in order to ensure the welfare of her customers. 

Gala Makeover Studio & Salon has been maintaining a clients’ database with medical and travel history for appointments. Disinfectant tunnels have been installed; outdoor shoes of the customers sanitized at the entrance, temperature checks, changing shoes to their clean spa sandals, safety gears like gloves and masks for both the staff and the clients, PPEs for the staff members, non-cash payments, sterilizing tools and instruments after each individual service, deep sanitization of salon floors and furniture at regular intervals -- this is the new norm at Gala. 

“Our 7,000 square feet of space on two floors provide ample conditions for social distancing. At Gala, we set our standards even higher for your well-being,” added Navin.

On the other hand, Rose Beauty Parlour in the capital's Lalmatia area is one such salon where all the staff members wear appropriate protective equipment and maintain good hygiene practices. Laila, who is in charge of the salon, said they ensure the safety of the customers by wearing PPE suits and using all possible safety measures, in order to curb the spread of the virus.

"We regularly disinfect all the surfaces and equipment," she said. She added that the measures they have taken must have helped immensely to restore customers' confidence, because more and more people are returning to their salon now.

Rukhsana Farid, a customer, said that while her home is near the salon, she was reluctant to visit the place due to concerns about the coronavirus. "It's scary to come to a salon during this Covid-19 situation and I was hesitant as to whether to come or not, during such a crisis," she said.

However, Rukhsana was happy with the services provided at Rose, especially with all the precautionary measures. "When I saw that they were running the salon with all the necessary preventive measures, I felt confident enough to return," said the customer.

The salon's owner said they are trying to offer the best services to customers during these difficult times. "All our staff members ensure the safety of the customers by wearing PPE, masks and using safety equipment," she explained. As one measure specifically, she said that before a customer enters her salon, they make sure to check their body temperature. "We've prepared hand sanitizers and we spray disinfectant on the customers' clothes as well," she said.

Many salons are now adopting these measures in light of the long term, making the move to a different future once the pandemic comes to an end.

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