April 3, 2020

Courtney Bush

Beauty industry hit hard despite being named ‘essential business’

Still named essential businesses by Gov. Doug Ducey Tuesday evening, some beauty industry workers have put the scissors down and picked up their phones to communicate through social media with their clients while choosing to close to practice social distancing.

Although hair and nail salons along with others are under Ducey’s list of essential businesses, the decision to close up shops comes down to the personal decision of the health and safety of clients and workers.

Nikki Wozniak, color specialist and educator at Phoenix hair salon Firefly Collective, has been doing hair for 15 years and says that it is irresponsible for salons and salon owners to keep their doors open during this time.

“Us as stylists have to physically touch our clients,” Wozniak said. “Those who choose to remain open are likely the cause of COVID-19 spreading faster.”

Wozniak believes that salons are unable to follow the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines by staying six feet away from their clients if a haircut is needed.

With the stay-at-home order in full effect as of today, Wozniak decided it was best to shut down her business three weeks prior to the official order and has been utilizing social media where she has been offering clients and other hair stylists tutorial videos. Due to the amount of downtime she has, she is trying to post content daily whether it be a picture, a video or an Instagram story, Wozniak said.

One client of Wozniak agrees that health matters and it is the responsible thing to do to shut down in the midst of the pandemic.

Deb Brady has been a client of Wozniak for over five years and says, “The responsible thing to do is to distance even if it is inconvenient for a short time.”

Since the salon is still listed as an essential business, they are obligated to pay rent. Most salon booth or studio renters are paying on average $1,200 a month alone in rent and that does not include insurance, booking application fees and other small business expenses that continue to add up, Wozniak said.

Erin Coscia, an aesthetician since November 2019, works at Juniper Botanical Spa and Nail Artistry near the Melrose District has been struggling to accept the reality of it all.

As of today, the spa has been closed for two weeks prior to the stay-at-home order.

“I am definitely feeling the somber reality rearing its head,” Coscia stated. “With absolutely no clients, I am looking to get a job at a grocery store for the time being!”

Clientele plays a huge role in the beauty industry and Coscia is worried about the future.

The spa has a loyal client base but there could be an impact once everything resumes to normal given that some people may be frightened of having services due to spatial proximity, Coscia said.

“Our clients have been really supportive and completely understanding of the situation,” Coscia said. “I feel that most of them are just waiting for all of this to get under control and for life to resume as normal as can be.

The beauty industry has been utilizing social media as well to strengthen interactions with clients. An Instagram account for the spa is already present but given the circumstance, it is definitely being used more to provide tips and how-to’s on skincare, nail care and wellness while everyone is quarantined, Coscia said.