How Covid has changed the industry as companies are lauded as ‘champions’ –


Salon owner Paul Stafford

The beauty industry in Northern Ireland has been praised for the way companies have struggled to maintain success in the wake of the Covid strike.

The salon owners explained how they adapted to survive after the pandemic began and were described as “champions” of what they have achieved.

Paul Stafford, co-owner of Stafford Hare with his wife Lisa, said the company deserves credit and should get a “return” for the distance it has traveled.

It comes ahead of the NI Beauty Excellence Awards, a “celebration of excellence and achievement in the field of beauty, beauty and hair.”

The awards are proudly sponsored by West Coast Cooler and media partners Daily Mirror and Belfast Live.

Speaking as his salon closed after another week of staff preoccupation with Covid, Stafford told Be that the past two years have been “an all-out war on the hair and beauty industry.”

Paul, one of the award judges, told Be: “Unlike the spinning industry, [the hair and beauty industry] He was one of the unknown victims of all this. The industry itself has not received the same loans and grants as the host, perhaps because they are not as vital to the economy as hospitality.

“Then he just got to know us. This situation we are in now, the world is somehow telling us that this condition is coming and the wave is coming back, but the business must be closed, without resistance: this is one of the sad scars of Covid.

“We, as employers, have to think differently about how people are hired and how people want to work.

The salon owner explained how many workers in this sector have decided to work from home or find an alternative job.

He said: “The most important thing that has happened to our industry is how people are getting out of lockdown, and many beauty salons agree that it has been very difficult to get employees back to work.

Alternative avenues of employment and alternative ways of working can be found.

“Covid has fundamentally changed the industry and also changed the way we salon owners view our business. We have learned to operate more effectively, and we have come to realize that commitment, competence and talent in our industries must be rewarded and appreciated.

“We know very well what our clients expect when they come to the salon.

“The hairdressers were the backbone of Main Street, a little safe haven where people could go for a run and relax. .

“Salons aren’t just places where people get their hair cut, but they get in the way, escape, and distance themselves from the daily lives we all participate in. This is a treat.”

“It’s all about communication, and for a lot of people, getting back to where they were buzzing, laughing, talking, socializing was really, really important.”

He continued, “As salon owners, we began to regard it as important as the quality of the work we were doing.

“Since the last shutdown, there has been a huge change in our employees, what they got and what they should be a part of.

“We understand that we depend on them, love them, they are important to us, and we want to guide and nurture them so they can have a successful career in the salon and reward them for their commitment and hard work.

“We’ve cut back the hours, made people accustomed to understanding that we’re in this team car that was designed and built to create a good factor for everyone.

Paul added how his company is trying to open its doors to different markets, improving skills.

“The factors that have been banned in the past two years have made me feel what we are missing,” he said.

Mr Stafford explained how his staff would continue to wear masks, urging customers to wear them even if they could in the near future, but ensuring that going to the hairdressers remained a “luxury experience”.

“One thing I can say on behalf of the NI Beauty Excellence Awards is that this year is great for people to look at their businesses and how they have really moved beyond the past two years to realize how amazing they are. They have been able to adapt, transform, and change so quickly that the businesses they built for years don’t just exist. They also thrive on being a better version of themselves.

“For me personally, I have a smaller team, and I had a more rigorous process.

“It’s shaking hands and saying, ‘We’re past this problem,’ and I think people should be acknowledged for that.

“If they look at their work and see what they have overcome, perhaps they will realize that they are champions. They are true leaders, team builders and entrepreneurs who definitely deserve recognition.”

Laura Murray, Director of Training and Sales at The Beauty School

Laura Murray, Head of Training and Sales at WarrenPoint School of Aesthetics sponsored by The NI Beauty Excellence Awards said some changes made Covid “better”.

He told Be: “Initially with Covid we shut down, but thanks to the wonders of online technology, we were able to stay in touch with our customers, old, new and existing, and start training online.

“We can train them online, they will complete the whole theory and have a deeper knowledge, and then they will come for the practical training.

“That means they were getting more training. In a way, it could be a bonus for us and our students, and that’s a good thing we can achieve.

“We will continue to do it, it works very well and this is how we are going. Some of them are now fully accredited online courses – you just need online training for them, which is great.”

Since the beginning of the epidemic, Laura has noticed a massive increase in the number of people wanting to break into the beauty business.

He said: “The people who always cared about him, man and woman, Covid may have woken some people up and made them say ‘Life is too short, let’s go and do it.

“People were sitting at home and didn’t even know what to do, so they thought, why don’t I show that interest I have and see where that takes me? Many home salons have also started, and there has been a big increase.

“It’s really great to see the sector recover.”

Helen Alcorn Hayes, owner of Urban Beauty & Skincare Center

Helen Alcorn Hayes, owner of Dundonald’s Urban Beauty & Skincare Center, won the 2019 Beauty and Skincare Salon award.

“Since 2018 I started to see a change in the industry as more and more people started doing their nails at home etc, which has increased significantly due to the blockade,” he said.

And his center has undergone a lot of treatment, even as it reopened between closings.

“He couldn’t do the massages, the facials with blankets, towels, all the things that make it a luxury.

“We were able to do online consultations with people like people did back then. Many people started investing because they wanted to learn about good skincare routines, and products that would change.

“It was less cuddly…and more clinical. We were able to open up and make our treatment more clinical.

“Because we had a big building, I was able to split the team in half and balloons,” added Eileen.

The business owner said he made sure he kept in touch with customers during the shutdown and how employees contacted customer lists once they reopened because they knew people would be “nervous”.

“You can literally break it down,” Helen said. “33% of the companies died on the way back, and then there were 33% of those who were on the edge and needed a little bit of reassurance that they were going to be completely safe and then there. There were 33% of those who died.” Covered by someone, protected, or they didn’t feel comfortable.”

The owner of the company said he was proud of his adaptability, adding, “We are convinced that we are attracting more customers with our facial products etc.

“There is still a sense of relief, it is a difficult task. We have always been full and now we are not full. We need to be in constant contact with people through social media and make sure our standards are met.”

The 2022 NI Beauty Excellence Awards will be presented by TV personality Pamela Ballantini and take place at the Crowne Plaza Belfast on Sunday 15 May 2022. Application deadline approaches, Friday 4. And the March 2022. For more information on categories and criteria, visit

Awards are proudly supported by main sponsor West Coast Cooler, media partners Daily Mirror and Belfast Live and event partners, Luxury Tanning Brand, Bellamianta; Leading skincare brand, Epionce; Influenza App, Fetch Ireland; vegan and cruelty-free cosmetics brand, Pearl Beauty; Award Winning Training Academy Beauty School Manufacturing Technical Specialists Sparq Med FX Supplier of All Cosmetics and Skin RejuvenationProduct needs and beautiful buy, supplier of high quality and professional beauty brands.


Source: Belfastlive


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