The past few months have been an extremely challenging and difficult time for our industry. Here, in the first of two guest posts, Melissa Timperley, owner of Manchester-based Melissa Timperley Salons Ltd, offers advice and inspiration based on her experiences of going back to business after the lockdown.

Since opening in December 2016, Melissa's salon has been voted best hairdresser in several national awards including top haircut and hair colour, tint and balayage competitions as well as best independent salon and best client experience.


Melissa Temperley  

As we have gone back to our profession after lockdown, I wanted to update my thoughts on what’s happened to us, and provide some encouragement and perspective now that we have all started again.

A lot has changed - but the essence of what we do hasn’t. Hairdressing is one of the very few things you can’t buy online - and clients have now realised the immense value and skill we bring. It's both the same… and different.  Here’s why: 

We continue to use scissors sharper than a chef’s knives and a surgeon’s scalpel, millimetres from our fingers, moving them quicker than your eyes can follow. We are wearing PPE and visors that are difficult to see out of – but we will all still produce beautiful work.

An artist's eye

We still use both science and maths, combined with an artist’s eye for beauty, to find the exact angle to cut our client’s hair so it falls perfectly when they leave, and continues to do so at home – but this time many have turned up for their appointment having cut their own hair, so our skills are doubly tested … but we are up to it. 

We will go on using our detailed knowledge of chemistry to create perfect colour formulas for each client’s hair … and we will be fully appreciated for our expertise - especially if they have used box colour over lockdown. Now we are their hair saviours; professionals with the ability and skill to correct their missteps without judgment, and we do our absolute best to put things right.

Transform and heal

We help clients to transform their looks - and their mindset. Through our work, we can heal in our own way. We make clients fall in love with their hair again, make them feel like their true selves once more.  We hairdressers create beautiful hair – a very visible sign of new beginnings and fresh starts. 

And we do it all with a smile. Although they don’t see it through our masks, they see the smile in our eyes. We may be wearing a visor, but a bit of plastic doesn’t stop the care shining through. 

Of course, IT IS TOUGH; for example, talking to clients in an outfit that’s a cross between a doctor's and a welder's – visor, mask and all – is hard, but we are doing it all in super-hygienic conditions that the best hospitals would be proud of … and that means huge peace of mind for our clients - and is a massive comfort for us hairdressers too.

A human-to-human experience

A salon client journey that involves no waiting and no touch DOESN’T mean giving up on having fun, sharing love and stories, laughing and empathy - and creating a human-to-human experience in a super-safe and hygienic place. We need to do more of it. 

We hairdressers are in a unique position to bring some much-needed joy into the lives of our clients. We can help mend ... and shape a new personal optimism through our own approach and attitude. 


Making a real difference

Despite all the challenges, this is a time for us all to make a real difference to each client’s life through our skills. We  have created a new and full appreciation of the miracles we perform now that clients have had a while to look after their own hair. 

We deserve that recognition – we are the professionals who build our clients’ confidence and help them take on the world … and everyone continues to need that right now. We are a scientist, artist, counsellor, chemist, time management expert, friend, architect, diplomat and transformer, all rolled into one.

A new phase and moving forward

I, for one, am immensely proud to call myself a hairdresser, with all it entails at the moment, to create beautiful hair and to stand next to all of us who see themselves in these words – for me, this is what it means to be a hairdresser right now. How do you see it?

Read Melissa's second guest post: 'Seven things I've learned as a developing entrepreneur'.

Photographic winner 2017

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