What happens when the unexpected happens? When you thought you had everything planned, then a meteor lands, disrupting all in its path. That's what this pandemic has been to most of us; an unexpected, life-altering catastrophe. Whether its effects have been minimal in your life, you have certainly been touched in one way or another.
The COVID-19 crisis has seen businesses in all industries suffer but the effects have been especially palpable for those in close contact services. I set out to find how self-employed artists have managed to navigate these testing times and what the future looks like for them.
Lauraine Bailey, Multidisciplinary artist and hairdresser, London
“It’s made me think about whether I actually want to continue in the industry”
Lauraine has been freelancing for two and a half years. The pandemic has meant that she has not been able to earn any money as a hairdresser. She usually works on-site and doesn't have a physical space to do hair.
Lauraine has had to give clients tips and tricks on managing their hair over the phone and spoke about the emotional aspect of appearance; when you don’t look your best, it affects not only your wellbeing but also your ability to perform day-to-day duties.
As a multi-disciplined creative, Lauraine is also a Portrait photographer, Fashion Stylist, Creative Director and a Mentor for a group of hairstylists. The future for her is about having different streams of income. She’s currently doing more photography and creative consulting with brands about their aesthetic, brand identity and brand story.
Social media links
Hard as Nails Studio- Birmingham
"Being at home has allowed me to really focus on my business and it has given me the time to think about expanding"
Nail Technician & Studio owner Shenique started her business last year and has been actively trying to find other means of income. During the pandemic, she started making press-on nails with beautiful abstract designs. This allowed for her business to expand beyond the studio to reach her social media followers in other regions.
Euphemia Hair - Walsall
“The pandemic has forced me to think of more creative ways to reach my clients and to cater to their needs.”
Euphemia Marks, hairdresser and owner said her business adapted fairly well to the changes. They now rely more on technologies that allow online appointment booking and have expanded their business to provide an online shop and local delivery service.
Moving forward with the latest virtual technologies, they intend to introduce live tutorials and hair care classes with the hope of supporting clients that are not able to come into the salon for whatever reason. She has seen the need to be more inclusive of clients that may need alternative solutions to face-to-face hair care.
Nat Bury, Celebrity Barber- London
“I always used to say haircutting is recession-proof but it’s definitely not corona proof, I had a lot of disposable income from last year but I’ve realised it’s not as disposable as I thought”
Nat survived the pandemic through savings from past invoices. During the lockdown, he produced content for Nike and BBC. We talked about the importance of networking when it comes to promoting your work and diversifying your skillset. He is exploring the idea of mobile hairdressing and tapping into more editorial and commercial work and assisting on fashion shoots in the future.
One marked change is that beard trims will be a thing of the past. Great news for beard lovers, but not so great for those who prefer to be clean-shaven.
Social media links
The accounts from these four creatives have highlighted the need for freelancers in hair and beauty industries to be adaptable. The future requires you to consider: using technology, network, create content, save and plan for unprecedented events.
Written by Ruvimbo Kuuzabuwe Instagram: @ruvxmbo