Aylesbury salon backs campaign urging Government to increase beauty industry support
Campaigners believe the personal care sector has been ignored throughout the pandemic
An Aylesbury hair salon has thrown its support behind a new national campaign calling for greater government support of the beauty industry.
Duran’s Hair Studio which was recently nominated for seven industry awards, is supporting a campaign organised by Salon Owners United.
In a statement released on Wednesday (December 15), the collective group outlined how it felt the industry had been ignored in comparison to other sectors during the pandemic.
It believes self care businesses have been discriminated against, highlighting the fact the industry is largely female, as a potential factor.
Other gripes include the lack of support and initiatives provided to help out the industry in comparison to the hospitality sector.
As additional lockdown measures and Covid restrictions have been discussed, since the emergence of the Omicron variant, the hospitality sector has often been brought up as something that needs protecting.
The group feels that the beauty sector does not receive comparable support from politicians, despite the significant revenue it generates.
Last year, the government made a concerted effort to proactively support restaurants and pubs with the 'eat out to help out' scheme.
Also, throughout the pandemic the VAT reduction granted by the Chancellor Rishi Sunak to hospitality businesses, was not extended to the beauty industry.
To survive through what's been a near unprecedented time for all UK businesses, the beauty industry had to rely on the furlough scheme.
With beauty treatment banned completely throughout three national lockdowns, it was the only way staff could still get paid at a time when they couldn't do their jobs.
That scheme finished at the end of September and Salon Owners United fears the sector has "no chance of recovery".
Now, with the Omicron variant leading to a substantial increase in cases across the UK, including Aylesbury, the industry faces an even more uncertain future.
Hence, the plea for greater support from the UK Government.
Lisa Duran, Duran’s Hair Studio owner explained to the Bucks Herald, the difficulty her business has faced even as an award-winning outlet.
She said: "It's been really tough, and it's getting even tougher now, especially in the run up to Christmas.
"It is not like any Christmas we have experienced before. Normally, people would book six months in advance for their Christmas appointments.
"Because people have been holding off, we've not had as many future bookings, and what we're having now is a lot of people cancelling.
"We're getting late cancellations, today we had a six-hour appointment cancel. Luckily, we managed to fill it, as we had a bit of a waiting list.
"But normally, we'd be running out of chairs, we'd be falling on top of each other, running out of space in the salon and it is nothing like that.
"I'm in a Whatsapp group with quite a few other local salons, quite similar ones to us. We've got: Ruby Lane, Destiny, Rhapsody, all of them sort of salons, and they are really feeling it as well.
"I popped in to see a friend on Ruby Lane, it was a Saturday and normally they'd be running out of chairs, and it was quiet."
Figures released by Salon Owners United state that 8,000 salon businesses have ceased trading since the pandemic started and 11,000 more are facing failure.
Many salon chains are taking insurance companies to court over business interruption claims.
A High Court ruling meant, insurance company, Hiscox, had to pay out to 400 beauty businesses for loss of trade during the pandemic,The Henley Standard reports.
Other salons are launching similar legal appeals throughout the UK.
Another element of frustration Bucks self care owners have with the government is the lack of regulation within the industry.
Lisa added: "You don't actually have to be a qualified hairdresser. What you'll find is people will go on a day course to learn hair extensions, and then they are doing hair extensions.
"But really, you need to know the physics behind the hair, the skin, the scalp, all of that really."
Salon Owners United statement finishes by stating the government has no plan for an industry that makes £30 billion gross domestic product, makes up 16% of the high street, which has an 88% female workforce.
While Lisa is on board with the owners' group message, she isn't as convinced the industry has been discriminated against because of gender.
She added: "I think the hair and beauty sector does get dismissed, whether it's because it's female, I don't know.
"Or if it's just because, they don't see it as important. One of the things we had from our clients was, 'it is really important to us from a mental health side of things'.
"They come in they offload, we are basically counsellors (laughs). The stuff we get told, we've had a lady in here this morning, because her husband passed away, she was sat in tears.
"We get her a drink and you sit and you spend time with them. Sometimes they need to offload to somebody that isn't family, or that isn't directly involved.
"I definitely think we've been dismissed, but I wouldn't like to say it's just because we're female, there is men in there.
"There is less support though. I watched one of the Parliament debates and someone brought up the hair and beauty sector, and they were all laughing, about it in there all the men.
"That was picked up by all the bodies trying to lobby for us. They asked 'why are you laughing? We put a lot of money into the economy, how is that funny?"