Ways for Small Beauty Businesses to Navigate the Coronavirus
The new coronavirus has had intense and wide-reaching impacts on every industry, but there are ways to mitigate some of the negative impacts. Let’s break down what small beauty businesses can do in this time of uncertainty to stay relevant, accessible, and safe for both customers and employees.
Polish & Focus Your Online Presence
If you don’t have one already, now is the time to create that online storefront. Given that more and more cities (and states) are going into “lockdown,” online orders and delivery is the only way for most people to receive the beauty and personal care products they’re used to. (Note: this may change rapidly as delivery services update policies).
If you already have an online store, but it needs a little optimizing, make sure to do so. Make everything clear: how to find your products, what they do, how to add them to your cart, and how to purchase them. If you need help, web developers and designers are mostly already working from home so reach out to them for a quick polish.
Publicize your website! If you have a mailing list but haven’t used it much, now is the time to let customers know they can still purchase your items. Your website is a key piece of communication, and we’ll come back to that later. Small businesses, but really all businesses, are using the internet to keep going during the coronavirus.
Use Your Products and Skills to Cater to the New Needs of the Coronavirus
There’s a reason stores around the world are selling out of sanitizers, cleansers, and soaps. If you can offer any cleaning products, now is the time to highlight them. If possible, formulate new products that meet these needs. For example, a few weeks ago we created high-alcohol cleansers to clean hands and surfaces, filling a large need in the market. Any version of that is useful, but of course ethical pricing is key.
Also remember that it doesn’t just stop at handwashing—people touch their hair while out in public, and then later touch their face, so shampoo is still an important product to be using. If you have laundry products these are great to highlight as well.
Any products that you have that focus on relaxation have a place in this market too. Do you make excellent aromatherapy blends? Celebrate them! Is your Lavender Cream a calming bedtime favorite? Let people know. Mental health is being tested almost as much as physical health at this time, so come at the problem from any direction you can.
Focus on the Value of Your Brand: People still want beauty while quarantined
If your brand focuses on beauty, antiaging, and related products, you may not be able to shift to directly address coronavirus and people in quarantine. However, you don’t need to. All the reasons that people like your brand and products to begin with remain—people still want to feel beautiful, take care of their skin, and perhaps more than ever, feel pampered and relaxed.
People are spending more time with loved ones and partners, and just because you’re stuck at home doesn’t mean you aren’t taking care of yourself. If anything, people have more time for self care. I know that I, for one, am spending a lot more time seeing video of myself during videoconferences, so I am ready to up my skin care game!
Stress can lead to impulse buying in the search for a release, and that burst of glee you feel when you nab that treat for yourself. Now is no different, so don’t be afraid to highlight those special luxury products people will love.
Communicate to Your Customers During Times of Crisis
Not only should you be communicating about ways customers can find and use your products, but it’s worth taking the time to highlight what you’re doing more directly. What new cleaning measures are in place in your facility? What are your current plans for your company? How will you let customers know when things change? Do you need extra help from them to spread the word?
Make things as easy as you can for your customers, and at the end of the day stay true to your brand. It’s wise to acknowledge the fluctuating environment we’re all so keenly a part of, but let customers know you are still there, doing what you’ve always done. If you need to pause operations, let people know that you’ll communicate as soon as you’re back online.
What If My Business Requires In-Person Contact?
Times are particularly tough if you’re a company that requires face to face, human interaction. This includes estheticians, masseuses, hair stylists, makeup artists, etc. If you’re part of this group, you already know times are tough and have likely started adapting.
Here are a few ideas to help keep a little income active:
- Sell gift cards so customers can keep you afloat and book services in advance.
- If possible, offer your services online.
- Offer individual or group classes. Show customers how to master a skill, learn how to do it for a partner, or simply watch you as you create or demonstrate something.
- Provide consultations for individual clients: hair styles and colors to match their face, skin types and products, etc.
- Sell products from your backbar or retail section. If you have one oil that is a customer favorite, offer to ship them some. If possible, formulate products specifically for a customer, or else send something that best matches their hair, skin type, or scent preferences. Personalized products feel luxurious, and people are often willing to pay a little more for an expert’s recommendation tailored just to them.
How Small Beauty Businesses Can Manage Employees During Quarantine and Isolation
If possible, have employees work from home. We know this, but for many small beauty brands everything is created in one facility and at-home work isn’t an option. If this is the case, consider assigning shifts where no one is near each other, or you alternate days and do a deep clean after every person comes through.
Forcing meetings lowers morale, so encourage anyone who can to teleconference and work from home. If your business is a hands-on one, encourage employees to enact the suggestions from the section above. Help employees book consults or classes with customers to help spread out and maintain some sort of income for people at all levels of your business.
Summary: Communities Help Each Other Survive
It’s clear that at this point, almost nothing is normal or easy. Highlight your strengths, adapt to meet changing needs, communicate proactively, and stay safe. Your local community is one of your strengths, so reach out and connect with people whenever possible. Whatever relief bills our legislature passes may not be enough, so we hope to help you and our community as best as we can.
We’d love to see what you’re doing in any spare time that might have opened up—let us know by posting on social media with the hashtag #stillformulating.
If you have any other pieces of advice, please add them in the comments below. Thank you for your support in this time and we’ll do our best to weather this storm, together.