Leeds hairdressers already see huge two month waiting lists for appointments ahead of April reopening

It is hoped that hairdressers will be allowed to open in Leeds and across England from April 12 - with the Government's lockdown roadmap having set this as a 'no earlier than' date.

Tuesday, 23rd March 2021, 4:45 pm
Becky Wendel owns Boheme Hair and Beauty Boutique in Farsley and will not book any appointments until it is confirmed that she can open (photo: Tony Johnson)

Personal care premises have been closed in Leeds since the start of the third national lockdown at the beginning of January, having only traded for around five months since the first lockdown was announced one year ago.

It is no surprise now that after nearly three consecutive months of hair care deprivation, most people are after a good hair cut and colour - but how can hairdressers cope with the demand?

Louise Howard-Long is the owner of Architect Hair Salon in Headingley and says appointments and bookings are proving to be a 'tactical nightmare'.

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Louise Howard-Long, owner of Architect Hair Salon in Headingley, is living a 'good nightmare' trying to book appointments in (photo: Tony Johnson)

She hasn't officially opened her appointment book yet, and already has nearly a two-month waiting list for those who are wanting their hair doing.

Louise said: "We're booking well into May and June and we haven't even opened up bookings yet, but it's all our clients who had to be cancelled when we closed, or clients who had bought pre-paid vouchers.

"We also have to give our very regular clients their appointments and although we're working behind the scenes, we haven't opened up to the rest of the public yet.

"When we do, people can think about May but it probably will end up being June that we can get them in, especially for new clients - it's mad and it's a tactical nightmare.

"I get emails like 'have you got anything for the 15th in the afternoon after 3.30pm' and I'm like 'which month darling?!'

"Then we've got situations where we will message or call our regular clients to get them slots, and then if they don't call us back straight away, another four days go before we will be able to fit them in."

Although stressful, Louise said she was living a 'good nightmare' and that because this is 'the third and hopefully last time' this will happen, she's getting good at the post-lockdown rush.

She added: "We're really looking forward to opening and the minute you're back it's just the best thing ever.

"The demand is intimidating and it requires a lot of stamina but it's the best job on the planet and it's great that everyone is so desperate to see us and so happy to see us when they do."

Co-owner of 41 House of Hair in Roundhay Izzy Crosby will be working six full days for four weeks until she can 'get over the massive rush'.

She is in a similar situation to Louise and her next available appointments are in mid-May, having 'only just' opened her diary.

Izzy said: "We were unsure whether to book clients in as we still don't know if we definitely can open on April 12, but it's looking likely so we have only just opened our diary.

"I'm getting messages all the time like 'please make sure I’m booked in for April 12 as I need you to sort out my home colour' and 'please please get me in for your first appointment I am in desperate need of your help'.

"Most people have asked for April 12 but obviously we can't fit everyone in on the first day we open."

Becky Wendel owns Boheme Hair and Beauty Boutique in Farsley and in contrast to Louise and Izzy's booking approaches, she has decided she will not book anyone at all in until the 'Government categorically confirms' she can open, even if this means waiting until the day before.

Becky said: "The situation in November when we were locked down with no notice meant that because December was already full, we couldn't then fit our November clients back in.

"I don't want that to happen again so I've blocked our online booking system, and although we've had loads of enquiries and regular clients messaging, I've put a post on our social media pages saying 'we will contact you'.

"We won't leave anyone out but I can't take new customers at the moment as I need to see our loyal clients and even that's going to be tricky as we don't know what the restrictions will be.

"I will literally wait to book customers in until the last minute when it's been confirmed."

Becky said she actually hopes to open in May rather than April if that means she can work 'like before' without restrictions.

She added: "Working with so much space between each person and doors locked and masks on is so impersonal and it's like we're not offering a service.

"We couldn't do the proper job we were being paid to do so I don't want to work like before and if that means going back to work later then that's what I would prefer.

"Either it's safe or it's not, and if not, keep us shut, and if it is, let us open and do our jobs properly."