It was the chocolates that did it. A huge selection box of dark and milk that came through the salon door a good second or so before the lady carrying it. We’d all spent weeks planning and rehearsing how we’d make things special for our clients, and here was our first client trying her best to make things special for us. ‘Thank you’ doesn’t seem enough, and just when a hug is all you long to give, you remember to hold your arms tight by your side and hope she can see, from your shiny eyes through your mask, how special this day feels.
When Boris first mooted April 12 as a possible hairdresser opening day we received over a thousand emails asking for an appointment. The work started on scheduling each one, and I have to confess I was starting to feel pretty pleased with the way the diary was working out. I just didn’t realise how many split ends, grey roots, home haircuts and pony tails were waiting for Boris to confirm the date. When he did, a few days before April 12, an avalanche of hundreds more requests engulfed us.
In the end, with over 1,500 appointments booked for our first few weeks back and with expectations so high, it’s no wonder the team was feeling a little apprehensive about busy salon life. And, considering all this, we begin to wonder how we usually fit it all in, don’t we! Life I mean…
Of course, in life as in hairdressing, the chocolates helped. Thank goodness the team (mostly) all like different fillings, so there was no fighting over the soft centres. Next time you come in I’ll leave it to you to guess who’s the strawberry creme girl, who prefers a nutty crunch and who’s first to the dark chocolate rum liqueur!
But, of course, as soon as that first lady walked through the door we were in our stride again. The minute I started the service I wanted to make up for lost time…that head massage they’ve been looking forward to, the relaxation away from screens peering into their home. I wanted to help them forget all about the Zoom call they’d avoided to make the appointment!
There’s a rhythm to the clip of scissors across a salon that plays a soft counterpoint to the hum of conversation. You only notice it when it’s gone. And as we start snipping we realise how much we’ve missed this and how much we actually love our job! It’s like having a brand new and exciting relationship with the comfort of your team and your loyal clients. And just like embarking on a relationship you’re delighted to discover you’ve actually chosen the right shoes. You’re unused to standing up for so long but at least your feet are comfortable! And throughout these first hours and days you know what you’re doing but, with the advantage of a fresh perspective. Just just a small change here, or a new technique there, is sometimes all it takes to keep a style looking fresh.
This is a topic that comes up regularly with hairdressers and salons. In fact most clients leave their hairdresser because the stylist doesn’t listen or doesn’t offer the chance to change. But this time round it’s as if imaginations have been released from lockdown and everyone seems to fancy doing something different with their hair.
Perhaps we all just feel ready for something new !
We value the relationships and rapport built with our clients as they begin to share the challenges of the most recent lockdown, this one perhaps even more difficult than the first one. Of course we did have all that glorious sunshine, and all that clapping that we did must have helped!
This time we walked more and more to reach our 10,000 steps a day, or maybe just to pass the time. For me, Forest Gump springs to mind, and that gift of a box of chocolates we received: just like life, you never quite know what you’re gonna get. The thing is when you’re this busy and so hungry, sometimes you just don’t care!
So, to return to getting rid of those split ends. You’ve been pampered for the first time in months, you feel relaxed from the shampoo and head massage, which for some of our clients is their favourite part of the whole experience. And, when it’s all done, the haircut is beautifully finished with a bouncy blow-dry, the colour is rejuvenated and you feel invigorated and, instantly, much better about yourself!
Getting rid of those split ends is not just down to what our clients’ hair looks and feels like: it’s a split with the past and a sign of brand new, fresh beginnings!