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| January 15, 2021

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Sam Robinson

Now that salons are also back in action in Scotland, we caught up with a few to see how they’re getting on. From implementing the new procedures whilst still maintaining great customer service to the new procedures and safety measures in place.

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Mark McCarthy, Owner of MARKDAVID salon in Edinburgh

‘The first day and week back at the salon were incredible! As we thought, it’s been incredibly busy and full on but we’ve loved every second of it! It’s been incredibly exciting seeing some of our regular clients again and hearing from them what they have been up to during the lock-down period. Of course, we’ve had some bad roots and hair that’s a bit unruly, but that’s what we’re here for and it’s been great seeing clients leave in love with their new hair and feeling like themselves again.

We also had a slight inconvenience on the morning we reopened, as I got a bit scissor happy and ended up cutting the phone line! We however managed to get this fixed ASAP and it was only down for around half an hour. We also had so many messages and calls throughout the day of our salon reopening with clients wishing us good luck and saying they are looking forward to seeing us and also with clients complimenting how the salon looks.

We’ve ensured that the salon is as clean and as safe as possible for not only our clients, but also our team, with a station at the front of the salon where clients can use hand sanitiser as they enter the salon and can also pick up a face mask should they not have their own with them. We’ve also added a little seating area outside to avoid having any waiting space inside. Hand sanitiser is also at each of the styling stations, as well as fresh flowers that we hope will make clients smile as they come into the salon’.


Karen Thomson, Owner of KAM Hair and Body Spa in Lossiemouth

‘Our first day and week back at the salon was amazing! Our clients were so happy to be back and so were the team. It was great to be cutting and colouring hair again and back in the salon doing what we do best. Everything went to plan and all the preparation we put into place for the salon reopening throughout lockdown paid off. Working with masks and visors is hard going, the heat builds up and it’s not ideal but we do what we have to do in order to keep our clients and team safe at all times. I am so proud of all the team and how they have coped and looked after everyone with a smile and it’s now fantastic that all our beauty girls are back in the salon too and the KAM FAM are all back together’.

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David Nicholson, Owner of Rainbow Room International Royal Exchange Square Glasgow

‘Our first day was filled with excitement and apprehension. The team were all happy to see each other, the salon was pristine with sanitiser everywhere, signs and social distancing signs and sections were all spaced out. We were ready to go once the doors opened and as a team, we all had a bit of a laugh about how we looked in masks, visors and polythene aprons. Our clients came in and were very compliant with all the rules. 

Since opening the salon has been incredibly busy and we are currently fully booked until mid-August. Most clients are opting to change the hair, but with a new longer look and our colour % has jumped 20%. Our retail is back doing as well as it was before and we’re continuing to recommend products for clients to keep their hair looking its best until their next appointment. Overall, there is a new vibe in the salon, I’m not sure what it is yet though, but it’s good.

Our front of house have a lot more to do with temp testing and explaining what clients need to do when they come in. Our assistants are super busy too, sanitising each section after clients have left, along with all areas they have walked through.

Most clients in at the moment are anxious and this is the first time they have been away from home or their local area and some are overwhelmed and get upset. Our teams have been briefed each day at the end to go through all their issues that occurred that day and they feel better by sharing things that happened. It is tough in some ways, the city centre is quieter, the shops are empty and we hear first-hand all the news from people about family losses and job losses and it’s crucial that we keep the team in an upbeat place so clients feel they can relax and escape. We have moved into the mental wellness business without realising it. We have all the team signed up for support with mental health training because this is an area that’s more relevant now than ever before. Most offices will not be back for 2020, so we have to plan what and how we arrange services and times for these new circumstances.

Prior to reopening we called our clients when we knew we could open to arrange bookings for them and they loved this. It also created the opportunity to change the stylist hours to be what they wanted. As a result, we now open early on most days and all slots have been filled, so although we are distancing with bookings, we have more open hours which is proving to be a hit with not just clients, but the team. I have 14 stylists at the moment and only 30% are full time. All individual and salon targets are being easily hit and exceeded at present and more clients are rebooking follow on appointments. We are dependent on guidelines from government at present so we have to have plan a b c d and e to enable us to move quickly when things change, so that team are briefed and look in control of things when clients are in. The team have been incredible, supportive of all I had to do with lockdown, and are back with energy and focus, they can see how much we cared through lockdown and had constant communication with all to make sure that we’re safe, healthy and had the wages to live on’.

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Riccardo Corvi, Owner of Rainbow Room International Ayr

‘It’s been fantastic to get back open. Once we had the go ahead from the government that it was safe to have workmen in we used the rates grant to get loads of work done to the salon ready for opening. Roofers, plumbers, plasterers, painters and electricians all in to freshen and update the salon. Toilets where updated with hands sanitisers and paper towel dispensers for a hands free experience and screens between all backwashes, sections and reception areas where put in place to conform to social distancing measures. Disposable gowns, masks, gloves and towels were brought in for clients and masks, face shields and disposable aprons were brought in for team members.

A staff training day was complete on the Monday before we opened with the client experience practiced over and over, including taking temperatures, guiding clients to our hands free stations and the gowning up process. Risk assessment and company guidelines were run through with everyone before working on the checklist with the whole team to make sure everything was in place.

The first working week was tough. There were high expectations from clients, massive colours jobs and a lot hair being cut off. Clients have been leaving the whole company amazing reviews on how seriously we have been taking ppe and the safety of clients and our teams and we are extremely proud of this. It’s been a challenge but we are so glad to be back’.

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Simon Hill, Owner of SESH Hairdressing

‘The salon reopening was long awaited and me and the team were all so excited to get back to doing what we love. It didn’t come without its challenges though. At first it was tough to become accustomed to wearing all the required PPE and still providing an excellent service for all our clients. We found the face shields can reflect light and this was difficult to adjust to initially.

The excitement to be back in the salon was amazing and it was heart-warming that all our amazing SESH team were so eager to get back to work. The first week back to the salon we were all full of adrenaline and excitement to be back to our craft and to our loyal clients. Working long hours after being off for several months was difficult but the buzz surpassed this for us.

At SESH we have gone above and beyond standard requirements to ensure the health and safety of our clients and team. We supported local Edinburgh based company, Be Safe by having branded fabric face coverings made for the team. These Breathe Easy masks kept the salon team safe and ensured all clients remained protected and felt at ease instantly. It was important to us to make sure the salon visit remained a luxurious experience and believed the standard issue plastic capes which are popular post Covid-19 would hinder this. To combat this, we decided to have laundry installed in the salon which means clients will still receive the soft gown they were used to prior to the closure. All gowns will be laundered after one use, and this will dramatically reduce the waste we dispose of. Not only is this initiative in the interest of clients, it is also in the interest of the environment which was important to us’.

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William Fleeson, Owner of Rainbow Room International’s Stirling and Buchanan Street Salons

‘We started preparing for reopening the minute we were locked down. The detail of the preparation was expansive from PPE, risk assessment guidelines, salon screen fit out, and getting all salon markings in place. We held regular Zoom meetings to prepare the teams as best as possible and had a full health and safety and new working practices brief before opening on the first day.

The first day felt like being back at school with trying to keep on top of all the new procedures, but by the second and third day we had adjusted and it felt normal. Client comments have been amazing and the over riding comment is how safe they feel. The team also have said how all the prep and their involvement makes them feel safe too.

We have reduced capacity to 60%, but with amount of colour work we do the business is still viable. Our industry naturally pivots exceptionally well with each challenge thrown at it and this will be no different. Here’s to the new normal’.