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Running a local salon in the post-pandemic landscape can be described as a blend of relief, adaptation and renewed creativity.
With the COVID-19 pandemic far less severe than it was a couple of years ago, the salon industry is recovering as clients return with an appreciation for self-care and personal grooming.
“It’s a really big relief,” said Subairi, who owns a salon called By Subairi on 14th Street in Northwest D.C.
Services at the business include specialized color, catered cuts, tailored styling, texturizing, straightening and perms.
The return of regular foot traffic and appointment schedules has brought a sense of stability there.
After going through the challenges of temporary closures, social distancing measures and capacity restrictions, salon owners and staff are happy to see that things are back to normal.
At least, almost back to normal.
“It’s harder to find employees now,” Subairi explained. “It’s definitely tough because, basically, it’s not the same compared to what it used to be.”
According to Subairi, he had seven or eight hair stylists working there before the pandemic. Now, he has only three, and he is trying to fill the void.
“They’re not feeling comfortable working with people,” said Subairi. “That’s why I had a lot of stylists that decided to quit and find another profession.”
Hair stylists need to be close to their clients, and not just for five or 10 minutes.
“It’s usually at least one hour,” Subairi said. “At a minimum, it’s like 30 minutes for a guy.”
However, as time goes on, the salon experience is feeling more enjoyable and immersive.
“I would definitely encourage people to come out more and not worry about it,” said Subairi. “If they’re not feeling comfortable getting their hair done, wear a mask.”
Some of his customers started doing their own hair at home because of COVID-19.
Subairi said he has a solution for that.
“Yeah, they’re doing their hair at home, but we fix it here,” he said, laughing.