Welcome to the Sister Shout. A series of articles about our members and things that happen around Cheshire. In this issue of Sister Shout, we'll be chatting with Big Sister Sally who runs a very well established Chester business that's been around for around 20 years now. Currently based in the Forum, The Hair Shop used to be up on the rows in Watergate Street. about her business and how she's handled the Coronavirus crisis.
Tell us about how your business was doing just before lockdown started, were there any plans you had to put on hold?
2020 was looking like a great start to a New Year. We had upgraded our quality and was looking at introducing new products into the collection. This came with its complications from the end of January. With Covid-19 taking its grip in China production stopped and not just for the usual 2 weeks Chinese New Year but for a whole month with some leading to 6 weeks.
Some manufacturing picked back up after 4 weeks in Feb and luckily stock arrived with me 3 days before I went into lockdown. This was good news for coming back to work in June as had stock but not so good for the bank balance.
How did you cope with lockdown? The personal toll has been so very hard on many of us, especially when it comes to not being able to see family.
My personal experience with lockdown has been a rollercoaster (as I'm sure most have found). I actually quite enjoy time by myself and took on the project of restructuring and sewing new hair pieces from some of the older stock. The hardest part was really looking at finances and how would the business survive. I so much appreciated being able to speak to Helen, the girls in Sisterhub and my closest friends who were in the same boat who calmed me down.
How did you feel about the support on offer for businesses during lockdown? On a local level and a national level.
The support received from the Government has been greatly appreciated and did help us to survive. So nationally great. Locally not so great. The councils (in many of our cases being our landlords) have been less than helpful. Different counties have experienced things differently with some being extremely lucky. Chester I feel not so much. They have been very money driven
Has the Coronavirus crisis changed your relationship with your customers? For the better or
Corona Virus has definitely produced a lot of positivity in my relationships with customers old and new. I have seen so many return to me needing that little extra confidence that hair can bring you as well as some new very exciting projects for the rest of the year.
How are you handling the restrictions being lifted? Tell us about any changes you've made to
As restrictions have lifted I have tried to still stay pretty strict in store and online with handling products. Hair is a difficult product to quarantine and this has led me to asking people not to touch products in store, no exchange or refunds and seals having to be intact for website orders.
Where would you like to see things this time next year?
This time next year I would love to be able to look back and think lockdown was a much needed reset and see the business bigger and better with all the new projects being fruitful.
What do you hope to gain from your SisterHub network over the next 12 months?
Sisterhub gives a great space to be able to voice concerns as well as lift each other up. Would love to get back to our socials in time and really help empower each other as we all grow to the highest heights
If you'd like to join SisterHub - click here
To learn more about the photographer of these amazing pictures - click here
Get in touch with Sally via one of these links or call into her shop, just on the right as you go into the Forum shopping mall, Chester.