This is how one Ontario beauty salon has totally transformed to be ready to reopen
Beauty salons across Ontario have been anxiously awaiting the go-ahead to reopen their doors to customers since they were forced to shutter back in March, but the Ford government announced yesterday that salons located in the Golden Horseshoe will have to wait a little longer.
One chain of beauty salons — whose locations are in the Windsor-Essex region and are therefore not yet permitted to open — is more prepared than ever to provide a relaxing, pampering experience to clients in a safe and responsible way.
2 Waves Beauty Bar has six different locations in Ontario, and owner Colleen Lippert has been working diligently to ensure each one is equipped with the proper tools and infrastructure to provide a safe experience for both clients and staff members.
But safety isn't Lippert's only concern. As a personal care business, she says she wanted to make extra sure the pampering experience could be maintained along with the desired look of the place, which she describes as "beachy shabby chic."
"The experience shouldn't change in our industry. We are in personal care. We pamper and groom ultimately," she said.
So instead of installing medical-looking Plexiglass barriers in between seats, Lippert and her team hired a local carpenter to construct small window barriers.
"I took inspiration from my childhood home. On our wall there was a window frame. Then it hit me. Why do barriers need to look like a makeshift Plexiglass barrier? Why can't they look like and feel laid back and relaxing?" she said.
"And that's what we did. Those window barriers look and feel like they have always been there. We took those window frames and owned them! The windows look like they are floating between manicure stations and [we] hung them from a decorative wall mount at the pedicure stations."
Lippert said she was also inspired to take an innovative approach to transforming her business thanks to something Premier Doug Ford said.
"I remember specifically listening to Premier Ford say, 'Take this opportunity to be better.' And it hit me that he is right," she said.
"We will have time and energy to really work on policies and processes that are better than they were before. That's really the job of an entrepreneur, isn't it? Find a need and do it better then everyone else. And in this case, we took our brand and blended it together with the Ontario guidelines and you get what we came up with."
In addition to the window barriers, all employees will be equipped with personal protective equipment (PPE) at all times and each location will have increased disinfecting, hygiene and general cleanliness — though Lippert says those elements were always present given that the industry is already heavily regulated by the local public health board.
"We have added more steps in those processes," she said. "But as for the experience, the client should feel the same calming and pampering as pre-COVID-19. "
As for whether Lippert is worried about the health and safety of employees and customers once her salons reopen, she says this will always be a concern but the most important thing is to make sure everyone receives proper training and processes and guidelines are consistently followed.
"You can lay out all the barriers and hyper-cleaning you want, but it comes down to people. So we will be relentless on the guidelines and processes," she said.
"It will be an hourly occurrence of reminding and hammering the message through. The store mangers should just put it on auto-repeat: PPE, barriers, physical distances, hygiene, hyper-cleaning and repeat."
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