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July 31, 2020 Meredith Simmons

Art of a many cutting hair outside

2020 hasn’t lived up to anyone’s expectations, but Lizzy Broughton can’t believe that her barbershop is now operating out of a dog park in San Diego, California.

“In the beginning of 2020, I’d never, never in a million years thought by July we'd be setting up in a dog park, but the positive is that there have been no dogs on it,” Broughton said.

Like many salons, spas, and barbershops in California, Broughton’s Tailored Hair was mandated to close mid-July due to an influx of COVID-19 cases across the state. A week later, the state amended the decision to allow salons, barbershops, and wellness businesses to operate outdoors under strict guidelines about safety and service offerings.

These limitations left Broughton a choice: to go outside with limited services or wait to reopen when coronavirus cases dropped. Luckily for Tailored Hair, there was a perfect solution nearby—a beer garden with an event space (and dog park) that had sat empty for months. Broughton hired a moving company to bring Tailored’s barber chairs and stations to their temporary home, not knowing what to expect over the coming weeks while cutting hair outside.

To her delight, the move proved successful: her barbers had a full appointment calendar for the first two weeks in Tailored’s temporary home. If you can pivot to take your hair salon outside, here are three tips from Broughton on how to make it work.

1. Communicate with your clients

Communicating with clients during this time is key—especially if you’re planning on migrating outdoors. While Tailored Hair’s appointment books are full, Broughton made it clear to clients that their experience would be different. Hours (and appointments) were shifted to beat the heat, a pre-haircut shampoo wasn’t going to be available, and masks were still required to prevent the spread of COVID-19. To make sure all clients were aware of the changes, Broughton added information to Tailored Hair’s website and sent a comprehensive email to customers when they booked cuts with stylists. “Preparing the expectation for the client is the most vital part in this to keep the trust and the brand intact,” Broughton said. (Need to build an email marketing strategy to communicate with your clients? Download the playbook.)

2. Support your community

Broughton saw an opportunity to help support the beer garden that was helping her stay open. Instead of offering free beers to clients like she usually does, she’s recommending that clients spend money with the business that offered Tailored space. “They are being so sweet to have us here,” Broughton said. “So hopefully our clients will enjoy some adult beverages, maybe some food over there. I think it should be a really positive partnership to navigate all this.”

3. Advocate for those that can’t open

Broughton knows that her business is lucky—most businesses in the beauty industry don’t have ideal outdoor space nearby, nor San Diego’s near-perfect weather. When she’s not keeping shop at Tailored’s temporary location, she’s protesting and advocating for other beauty businesses to be able to reopen. “Even though salons that can go outside, I think that we still really need to advocate for the industry and be an advocate for going back into our establishment,” Broughton said. “It's important to keep other salons that aren’t able to open back up right now alive on the other side of this.”

These three steps have helped Tailored nail its move outside—and using their tactics can help you stay nimble, no matter what 2020 throws at you or if you find yourself cutting hair in a dog park.

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