By GRAHAME ANDERSON
A Bradford based beauty salon owner is gravely concerned about the future of her business following the latest restrictive COVID-19 measures.
Successful since opening in 2005 and employing a team of professional therapists, the business has been extremely popular in the area, until lockdown kicked in back in March. In fact, the attractive premises have been closed down to clientelle since then.
Prity’s main business has come through eyebrow threading and treatments such as botox and fillers – but with the Government preventing such face treatments until a potentially mid-August, vital potential income continues to be lost. They’d previously announced services like these could start from the first of the month, rising rates of Covid however, have prevented this from happening.
The original grant of £10K owner, Prity Farooq received from the treasury in line with many other businesses was enough to cover four weeks expenses and to add the additional investment for Covid training, signage, sanitisation, masks and shields in place across the salon. Now closed for more than four months Prity is worried the business will really start to struggle, given the furlough scheme is set to end soon.
It also seems some customers have been in touch so desperate for treatment saying they’d like a certain treatment, but they wouldn’t tell anyone if coronavirus guidelines weren’t met in full. Prity has been refusing all treatments, telling her customers that her business would be sticking with full government guidelines to keep everyone safe, and as a result her regulars have been taking their business elsewhere in the form of those beauticians working from home.
Asian Sunday has investigated and found that beauty therapists advertising themselves on social media, have been offering treatments from home and customers who have body confidence issues have been so desperate that they have been using at home beauticians to get their facial treatments such as threading.
Prity told Asian Sunday: “They have been getting treatments done from beauticians working from home. The home trade has boosted while law abiding salons like mine are losing out.
“These beauticians working from home are not following guidelines – who knows what hygiene is like and they are breaking the law, but making a fortune due to businesses like mine not being allowed to trade
“The Government has thought about the restaurant industry and introduced the Eat out to help scheme for them but forgotten about the beauty industry.
“Beauty for many isn’t just a luxury, but can also help with confidence boosting, mental health and with the current climate this is needed on a far greater level.”
To make matters worse, Prity has missed out on two very busy trading periods involving Eid celebrations in both June and July due to the regulations.
Ninety per cent of employees within the beauty sector are women – the majority of customers at beauty salons are women.
It is estimated 60 per cent of beauticians and hairdressers are self-employed, and some will be struggling to make it through this difficult period.
It’s also a fact beauty salons are vital to the economy bringing in more than £28million each year. Sadly, it seems some will be unable to make up the lost ground suffered during the lockdowns.
While the PM has acknowledged beauticians “feel a sense of unfairness when they look at hairdressers reopening”, he has insisted nail bars, beauty salons and spas must stay closed until “they can operate in a Covid-secure way”.
Asian Sunday contacted the cabinet office and The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy – but no response has been received.
Federation of Small Businesses national chairman Mike Cherry said: “What we absolutely have to avoid is a scenario where whole swathes of the small business community – not least those in the creative industries, tourism and leisure sectors – are wiped out entirely.”
Brow specialist Liarna Jessica Yearwood, director of Liarna Jessica London, says her company has not received any support from the Government because she uses a shared space and is therefore not eligible for any grants. She added: “We have not had any income since 23 March, but we still have ongoing business expenses to pay out. There is a real risk that we may not survive if we do not start working very soon.”
Batley and Spen MP Tracy Brabin, also shares concerns for the lack of Government support for the beauty industry. She actively got on a virtual call with local businesses in her area to learn more about the impacts. Ms Brabin said: “the Prime Minister’s dismissal of the beauty industry as nail bars and keeping them closed has left this female dominated industry guessing about support and when they can open. There is also a strong feeling of unfairness in that salons cannot perform facial treatments with PPE while barbers when trimming beards don’t require any protection.”
On the call there was a wide range of businesses: from start-up businesses hiring a chair in a salon to an internationally renowned training academy. All who were on the call agreed – the government has shown no understanding of the industry and the economic impact it has, with 600,000 jobs and approximately £7bn in tax revenue.
Tracy noted that “whilst the government needed to take action once the R rate started increasing, the haphazard way that the restrictions were communicated, with late night announcements on Social Media, have only added to the uncertainty in this industry.”
Tracy has written to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy calling for more support to be given to businesses in the Beauty industry stating “With 80% of those working in the beauty industry saying they have felt unsupported throughout COVID-19, this would be an invaluable opportunity for the Government to rebuild some of the trust that has been lost.”
In the meantime, Prity and many beauty other salons across the country hope to open on Saturday 15 August. The question is though, will they be able to cover for lost business?