Adapting to COVID-19 and providing superior service to clientele
The beauty salon. A timeless place beloved by women for the atmosphere, glamour, and that little bounce of confidence when you walk out of the doors after a fresh cut and style.
Time spent in a salon is a sacred time, a calming time, and a place for transformation. However, since the start of Covid-19, there has been a drastic change in the beauty community, and folks all over the globe have had to pivot from their routines. Indeed, the old saying, “All dressed up with nowhere to go” has taken on real life meaning as we sit and wait for the days social gatherings become normal again.
LUXYMOM® sat down with celebrated Naples, Florida-based salon owner and stylist, Philip Douglas of Phillip Douglas Salon, to get an intimate view on how a once pulsing social point for men and women alike has been impacted during the on-going COVID-19 saga.
LUXYMOM®: What has been the biggest shift in trend you have seen?
Mr. Douglas: Instead of receiving a blowout or styling service, clients are opting to simply have their hair cut and leave without anything further done. It has been a noticeable trend that clients are going straight home instead of going out after, so there is no point to be styled. The trend is moving towards a more natural and relaxed look. We are teaching women how to naturally dry their hair to have a more get up and go look to fit the shift in their new day-to-day routines. We are also hearing, “I don’t want to fuss anymore.” Ladies have even made the wonderful decision to embrace their gray hair.
LUXYMOM®: Do you think this is also a reflection of how women are dressing?
Mr. Douglas: This is a direct reflection in the style of dress we are seeing in the salon. Women are more relaxed in their wardrobe selection, again, reiterating the more natural look.
LUXYMOM®: What, in your opinion, do you think this shift indicates as far as the emotional state of clients?
Mr. Douglas: Hair reflects the work people want to do. People seem to have given up on the social aspect and have focused more on themselves. Inner work. We are hearing from our clients that they are exercising more, finding new interests in arts, and funny enough – cooking more. Think about it – people aren’t going out to eat so they are using those beautiful kitchens that hardly get utilized.
Shifting to adjust to the new norm of hair and wardrobe styles was just one layer on the COVID cake. Douglas had to now maneuver around hurdles such as social distancing, safety protocols, and the top of the list, clients comfort levels. Naturally, it was his mission to embrace his community and quell anxieties by getting innovative.
LUXYMOM®: How did you cater to clients that didn’t want to leave their residence, but still wanted a salon experience?
Mr. Douglas: They are still our family, and it is our job to make sure they feel safe and provide results at the same time. I would show up to their home in a mask, gloves, body cover, and face cover to perform my service. If it makes them feel safe, then that is all that matters. Again, the relationships we build here at Philip Douglas Salon are lasting relationships and a pandemic does not change that. Once this is over, our people will remember that we adjusted and did not forget them.
LUXYMOM®: How did you adjust your operation to fit safety protocols put in place all while ensuring you could still provide the superior service you are known for?
Mr. Douglas: We got creative. I started providing sidewalk cuts, over the phone consultations, and even instructional videos to stay connected with my folks. I was on the phone A LOT in the beginning. We also started offering pre-mixed hair color and clients can pick it up and take it home to do their own coloring. We invented an a la carte concierge service if you will. It has been great, and we get to keep our clients happy.
LUXYMOM®: Were you worried at all about push back or that clients wouldn’t return?
Mr. Douglas: Obviously, there was a little push back by some who were concerned about loss of clients if they were offered the wisdom to perform their own maintenance. However, my goal is to provide excellent service in lieu of loss of possible income. It is about the experience and friendship made between stylist and client, a relationship built on trust and expertise, so this makes me feel better, integrity is important.
LUXYMOM®: What do you think your clients miss the most about the salon experience?
Mr. Douglas: Remember, the salon was a social gathering point where people come to socialize and chat with their stylist. That is gone for the moment. You can see the change in people when they come in. The conversations aren’t happy like they used to be. The tension is palpable. It is like people are looking for hope. I think that is what we provide here, a moment to relax and step away for a moment. We don’t talk politics, but we always ask how people are doing and build on our relationships. We are a family here and we will be back.
Right off the bat, it was clear Mr. Douglas had the foresight to see – change was coming- and adjusted his operation without compromising service to his clientele. In fact, he was able hybrid the workspace into an a la carte concierge service. Instead of fighting against the new normal, Mr. Lindquist saw this moment as an opportunity to get creative. Or, in his words, “Be the willow and bend with it.”
If you would like to make an appointment or receive a consultation, call Philip Douglas Salon at (239)-643-0233. Philip Douglas Salon is located at 2118 Tamiami Trail N, Naples, Florida 34103.