Mumbai: Smaller salons get PPE suits but no business

Updated: Jul 01, 2020, 07:10 IST | Gaurav Sarkar, Ranjeet Jadhav | Mumbai

Pre-bookings, half occupancy and PPEs to woo customers as parlours open after three months

Juhu's Geetanjali Salon has special seating to ensure social distancing
Juhu's Geetanjali Salon has special seating to ensure social distancing

After the much-awaited permission to reopen from June 28 onwards, salons, beauty parlours and barbershops in the state are looking at a complete revamp of the simple exercise of a haircut, given the numerous SOPs and guidelines laid down by the grooming industry.

The average salon-visiting individual cannot walk in to a salon anymore. All visits have to be pre-booked via phone or online across all brand outlets. Vikram Bhat, founder of Enrich Salon, told mid-day, "Customers can call our call centres, go to our website, or our application, to book appointments suiting their location, expert, etc. For social distancing purposes, we are requesting clients to take prior appointments and are maintaining 50 per cent occupancy at any given point. We are also working with only 50 per cent staff. Currently, we have planned to keep the salons open seven days a week."

Lakme Salon has told customers to book appointments via their app or phone call
Lakme Salon has told customers to book appointments via their app or phone call

Bhat added that they are experimenting with the partition in the haircut area, while partitions were already there for pedicures in some salons. Other measures include a dedicated area for multiple services to ensure that there is no exposure for long hours and acrylic separators for nail colour service and facials. "Customers will also be provided with a personal protection kit comprising a mask, gloves, body robe, shoe cover, ABS key, and sanitiser," he said. "Hygiene and safety are the new normal. It is something that everybody is going to do."

Speaking of business during the past three months, Bhat said: "We served our customers during the lockdown through DIY sessions, webinars and addressed their queries."

Chetan Men's Salon in Andheri West has seen very few customers since reopening
Chetan Men's Salon in Andheri West has seen very few customers since reopening

Pushkaraj Shenai, CEO of Lakme Lever, said that they have implemented 55 safety measures at their outlets, which include half the staff, limited appointments, protective gear for employees, single-use kits for 90 per cent services and continuous screening of salon teams and customers with the Aarogya Setu app and self-declaration forms. Also, they will be advising clients in high-risk groups to not get treatments. "Customers have to book appointments through the Lakme Salon app or call the salon directly. Once the booking is made, customers will get a link for a self-declaration form. We are keeping a ratio of one customer per team member to avoid waiting or crowding."

Sumit Israni, managing director of Geetanjali Salon and Studios, which has its Mumbai branch in Juhu, said, "Our SOPs include complete salon sanitisation, limited appointments, temperature check and health declaration of all visitors, disposable protective gear for customers and employees and sanitisation of stations before and after services.

Geetanjali Salon conducted grooming sessions for its staff during the lockdown
Geetanjali Salon conducted grooming sessions for its staff during the lockdown

"Pre-booking appointments is encouraged via the phone application, call or email. Customers will get a call from the salon to ensure their health is fine. We are avoiding serving walk-in customers. Alternate seating patterns have been adopted, leading to about 50 per cent capacity. We are also providing single-use product kits for all services, towels, capes, shoe covers, gloves, masks, head covers, etc, and encouraging complete digitalisation, helping in contactless bookings, service consultations and transactions."

Israni added that Geetanjali Salon had kept their employees engaged during the lockdown through virtual grooming sessions. "We trained them for the new working norms, ensuring positivity in their lifestyle amid the sudden change. Salon time remains the usual, we have not cut the employee strength but half of them will work on any given day," Israni said.

Lakme Salon has single-use kits for 50% of its servicesLakme Salon has single-use kits for 50% of its services

Few customers at smaller salons
For Amir Sayyed (name changed) who works in a small saloon in Seven Bungalows, the past three months involved using his savings to survive. He used to earn R15,000 to R20,000 per month. With salons allowed to reopen, he thought income will resume July onwards but with only haircuts allowed at his salon, there are hardly any customers coming.

Sayyed said: "I do not just have to take care of my expenses but send money to my family in Uttar Pradesh too. While I have started working again, I don't think I'll earn as much as I used too. The number of customers is very low."

Chetan Men's Salon in Andheri too had very few customers. It had around give employees, all dressed in PPE suits. An employee, who did not wish to be named said, "No other work like shaving, face massages, etc is allowed. People go for a haircut just once a month so there will hardly be any business. Also, many people don't want to take a risk so they prefer staying indoors. We are following all measures suggested by the government because taking precautions is a must."

50%
Staff strength and customers at one point of time most salons are maintaining

55
No. of safety measures Lakme Salon has adopted

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