Salons, beauty industry adapting to new normal

PETALING JAYA: Salon operators and beauty brand owners are getting used to new rules under the movement control order.

Michael Poh, president of the Malaysian Hairdressing Association and United Asia Hairdresser Association, said the only thing to do is to stay positive.

“We have less income but we are also spending less, not travelling abroad and so on. We must try to remain positive, ” said Poh.

“If you’re lucky, your sales last year would have only dropped by 40%, but for most of the salons in the country, losses are between 50% and 60%, because we have only been allowed to cut hair.

“Even for chemical treatments or colouring, we have to be done in an hour. How much can we earn? We cannot cover rental.

“With fewer events happening, there’s little earnings on blow-outs and styling, ” he said.

On a brighter note, Poh said customers are still coming as haircuts are essential.

Michael Poh, president of the Malaysian Hairdressing Association (MHA)Michael Poh, president of the Malaysian Hairdressing Association (MHA)

However, many are unclear about the SOP on travelling within a district.

“Before this, it was clear you could travel within 10km of your home, but this time people aren’t sure whether they can cross from Damansara to KL for their haircut, ” he said.

Shawn Loong, founder and director of Shawn Cutler, said business was bad during the first two MCOs.

“We were struggling as we had to deal with salaries as well as rental, while also adapting to the SOP.

“With another MCO imposed, it’s another wave we have to face, and I think this one will be more difficult. Salon rental rates in malls can range from RM20,000 to RM50,000 per month, and I’m not sure if only being able to offer haircuts will cover our costs, ” he said.

So.Lek makeup brand founder Dahlia Nadirah is grateful that Malaysians have been supportive of local brands and they have even gained new customers.

“The first MCO wasn’t so bad, but the second left us struggling and we had to find ways to survive. Launching new products and putting some on sale helped a lot, ” said Dahlia.

Datin Vivy Yusof, co-founder of The dUCk Group - YAP CHEE HONG/The StarDatin Vivy Yusof, co-founder of The dUCk Group - YAP CHEE HONG/The Star

Datin Vivy Yusof, co-founder of The dUCk Group, which houses the dUCk cosmetics brand spoke about a dip in sales as “people don’t feel the need to buy new things since they’re not going out”.

“Stores also have zero sales, so a lot of the retail team volunteered to work in customer service and the warehouse to help with online orders, ” she said.

“Operationally, whenever there’s an MCO announcement, the team already knows what to do – launches have to be delayed, teams have be moved around.”

Overall last year, the FV Group only saw a 10% decline in overall sales despite the pandemic, ” she said, referring to Fashion Valet of which she is a co-founder.

“So I’m still thankful that we’re not hit that bad. There has been no retrenchment or salary cuts since the pandemic.

“I think this is largely due to the fact that we already have a strong e-commerce base.”

Vivy expected businesses to be impacted, especially physical stores.

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