Leeds salon owner is prepped and ready to return to 'best job in the world'

A Leeds salon owner said she is all prepped to welcome her clients back from tomorrow and be back doing what she described as the "best job in the world."

Sunday, 11th April 2021, 11:45 am
File photo of a client having their hair worked on at The Salon in Leeds. Picture: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Louise Howard-Long, of Architect Hair in Headingley, said she had been inundated with appointment bookings since she opened her phone lines a few days ago - and is now fully booked until the middle of May.

She said: "It's mad. But we're delighted to be opening. We have the best job in the world so to be back doing it is great."

She added that the salon has been "quite strict" with clients and is not expecting too many disasters to sort out on reopening.

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"We put up a fringe trimming demo on Instagram and the odd person has phoned up desperate, so we've advised them on some gentle colour. Nothing permanent.

"The salon's been sad and forlorn but we've done the big clean and we're ready to welcome clients back."

Last week, Matthew Sutcliffe, co-owner of Leeds city centre salon Tint, told the Yorkshire Evening Post how his backlog of clients stretched into June as pent-up demand means long waits for that all-important hair fix.

The National Hair and Beauty Federation (NHBF) said anecdotal evidence from its members across the country suggests most are fully booked for at least six weeks.

NHBF chief executive Richard Lambert said: "It's important to remember that our hairdressers and barbers provide so much more than a hair service - they are often the hub of the community, offer an ear to talk to, are essential in making us feel good and improving our mental health, especially for those struggling with confidence or illness-related hair issues."

Salons and barbershops have been unable to open for almost eight months, which has had a devastating impact on the industry.

Some 46 per cent of businesses are unsure if they will survive until the end of social distancing requirements, according to the NHBF's State of the Industry survey taken in March.

Full-time employment in the sector is down 21 per cent on 2019 and 60 per cent of businesses entered 2021 with no cash reserves, up from 27 per cent in 2019.

Customers will see no significant change to the original social distancing and operating restrictions, and salons say clients can be confident that it is completely safe to return.

They say high-quality hygiene is "intrinsic in any decent salon" and the extra measures introduced after the first lockdown had been easily adopted by the industry.

The latest government guidance details further information about using ventilation to mitigate the transmission risk of the virus, and salons should be checking this as part of their risk assessment.

Extra funding in the recent Budget has thrown a lifeline to many businesses but there is concern that the most vulnerable will still struggle to survive.

Some 88 per cent of those employed in the industry are female and there is an over-subscription of hair and beauty salons in the UK's most economically deprived areas, leaving them most at risk.

The NHBF has urged the Government to speed up the distribution of the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) by local authorities to help those in greatest need, and to reconsider the VAT reduction to support those hardest hit and secure jobs.

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