Happy Monday to you, fine friends! We know what you're thinking. "Hot damn, it would be difficult to run a salon business during all this pandemic craziness." You're kinda right. So we thought it would be fun to catch up with Deanna Everson, owner of Ginger Salon, to get all the juicy details. She has navigated this salon ship with calm, care, and expert guidance through choppy AF waters this past year. How did she do it, and what can we all learn from it? Read on to find out!
G: What a year it has been! First of all, how are you?
D: Wowwwwww, what a year! Man, the first part of the pandemic, when I had to lay a 24 person work force off, that was a full blown nightmare. I love working and feel very safe and calm when I am at work, and to have that all be taken away from me, be told that I cannot work, and at the same time be so worried about my employees, my community and the world regarding their health with Covid-19 was like.......I may have smoked a few cigarettes let's just put that out there. I know I know, but the Gen X in me was like, burn it to the ground huzzaaaaaaaahhhhhh.
G: Clients notice the day to day protocols you quickly put in place at the onset of reopening after lockdown - like masks, silent appointment options, sanitizing, waiting outside the salon until the appointment time, to name a few - but tell us what it was like behind the scenes. How did you come up with the plan to keep Ginger employees and clients safe?
D: It was actually a super stressful time to navigate all of those changes. I was on zoom calls about 6 hours a day trying to figure out what the new protocols were going to be and how to implement them. It changed every day for about two months, and once it was stabilized there was NO PPE to purchase. I had to buy boxes of gloves that were 50 cents PER GLOVE with the initial price gouging. No one had the items I needed to even open back up, so that was a real situation.
Also, all the main people that were creating new protocols kept dropping them away after we were opened, and I had to personally figure out which ones to keep in order for my staff to feel secure in their career of touching other people. It was so wild! The week that daily cases jumped to 1500 a day in Oregon was the same week that OHA took off about five of our protective protocols from their lists. I was having none of it.
G: How has the experience been working day in and day out with these new protocols?
D: Listen. Hairstylists went from Cocaine and Caviar to Dental Hygienist in the course of three months. None of us were happy about it, we were all panicked and couldn't breathe. On a positive note, humans are so adaptive to their environment that once a client's mask fell off and I actually screamed. lol. The both of us later said it felt like we just flashed someone! So, PIVOT POWER over here at Ginger Salon, I'm totally fine with everything now.
G: This pandemic is so dynamic, and what is required of us all to maintain peace of mind and wellness needs continual honing. Do you have additional plans to further protect salon employees and clients as we take steps into the future?
D: I keep adding and subtracting from my protective protocols list. Once I put in the Hospital grade air scrubbers at all the locations, my anxiety level dropped to zero. That being said, I am not going to be having any of my stylists work outside our controlled environment any time soon. If you are having a destination wedding in the woods, we will not be coming to your airbnb to do your hair. It's time for brides to start memorizing youtube videos on how to style!
G: What advice do you have for other business owners trying their best to navigate the long haul of getting through this situation?
D: That is a difficult one. You have to have the guts to withstand the downturn for sure. I work really well under pressure like this. I am a softball player (of COURSE), so the more pressure the better for me. You just have to wake up and do the best you can every day. Do not try to be the hero. Treat every day like it is Thursday. You don't have weekends anymore, but you're probably gonna drink wine while watching Drag Race. Like, every day. Like Thursday! Also, keep thinking to yourself, if not me, then who? Why not me? Yes, me. Let's do this. Like pep talk yourself every day. And don't' drink too much that you'll be late for work on Friday -because Thursdays include wine, but only a glass or two, you know what I'm saying?
G: What are your go-to mantras, products, or beliefs that keep you going right now?
D: I gotta wake up with some BDE(Big Deanna Energy). Also, PIVOT. Just Pivot. Sunk costs are worthless to worry about. If an idea doesn't work, PIVOT.
G: Do you think any of the changes we are now experiencing within the salon experience will stick around - long after the biggest pandemic threats subside?
D: Absolutely. I will always be able to wear a mask and not look wild inside the salon. a client coughs? I put a mask on. I make them put a mask on. ALSO why were we not disinfecting the shampoo bowl after every client? Thank GOD we all do that now. Also, I'm gonna keep the doors locked. You need something? knock. Love that change.
G: We are so hungry for silver linings today. What, if anything, have you discovered is the silver lining in all of this craziness?
D: I can definitely count on my people to dominate with me. My employees are my greatest support, and without them I could not have this steel energy, no way. Everyone needs to find their crew, and hold on tight. My employees keep me motivated and focused, and your crew will do that for you as well. The future looks bright, but it's gonna be bumpy as hell.