Who We’re Talking To
T.J. Rosbeck, Owner
Owner of Stylist4u247, LLC
Artist Team at Schwarzkopf Professional
Tell us a little about yourself and your business.
I’ve been doing hair since 2005 and I’ve worked in a few different salon settings and managed a salon with two locations. In 2018 I decided to move into a suite rental so now I’m a one man show banging out hair a lot!
Did you re-open your business right away when the governor announced the lift, or did you wait it out?
Wisconsin allowed salons to re-open about 2 weeks before I decided to re-open my suite. As a professional I wanted to wait it out for guidelines from the state, but we didn’t get any mandates. Instead, the state released a list of suggestions. I also had issues acquiring PPE [Personal Protective Equipment.] and sanitation materials the first few weeks.
Can you go into detail about the difficulty you had securing PPE?
Items such as hand sanitizer, Clorox, Lysol, masks and gloves were hard to find. I’m a bargain shopper and I’m not going to pay more for surge pricing. Once I ordered from Amazon, Ebay and some of my product distributors it took anywhere from 2-4 weeks to receive it. The most difficult thing to come by were surface sprays, but now I’m using LUCAS-CIDE™ that I was able to secure through my product distributor.
What did you do to prepare for re-opening your business?
I met with the other suite renters in my building and we decided on the safety measures in the common area. We closed the lobby and beverage bar and the front door remains locked. Clients now must text me when they arrive and bring their own beverages to the salon. I sent emails and texts to all my clients informing them about these new procedures so there was no confusion. During the closure, I refreshed my safety and sanitation certifications and attended a few classes through Schwarzkopf that they hosted weekly on their Instagram Live, and as part of their artistic team I taught two classes on their Instagram.
What was it like on the first day you re-opened?
The first day was stressful and exhausting – both physically and mentally, but also rewarding. You have to remember to start slow and be gentle with yourself. You can’t start off sprinting or you will burn out by the second day! Because my suite was closed for 8 weeks, I had to make up for that time, which made my new schedule insane. I’m working 10-12-hour days 6 days a week and I’ve been able to rebook all the missed appointments in 4 weeks. It’s daunting because clients want to catch up during the appointment, but the whole time I’m thinking that I have to stay on time, and I can’t afford to run behind schedule. Next week will be my last week of insanity and my schedule will go back to normal thankfully! I was itching to go back to work – I eat, breathe, live hair so I was ecstatic.
What are some steps you’re taking to ensure clients they will be protected from risk of infection?
I am requiring all clients to wear a mask when they enter. I tried the face shield over my mask the first day and 20 minutes in I was drenched in sweat and decided the face shield wasn’t happening. I’ve moved all the products that I sell into a locked cabinet because clients love to touch and smell everything before they purchase the product, so now they have to ask for a product and I can properly sanitize it if they decide against it.
How have your clients reacted to these new safety measures?
Most of my clients have been really respectful and understanding that they need to wear a mask and bring their own beverages to the appointment. A lot of the new procedures are on my end – I used to keep all sanitizing products stored away and only brought them out when I needed to use them as it seemed they ruined the aesthetic of my suite, but now they have become part of the aesthetic. It’s comforting for the clients to see everything you are doing to keep them safe.
How are you handling scheduling appointments that were cancelled due to closure?
A lot of my clients have 2-3 standing appointments, so I was able to keep most them on books by their second or third cycle. Then from there I prioritized guests that purchased gift cards during the closure to fill in my schedule.
How are you handling appointment times?
I’ve added an extra 15 minutes to most color appointments to accommodate the extra growth, and an extra 15-minute pad time for sanitizing between each client and I’m no longer double-booking appointments.
How are the appointments different now than before?
It’s a lot of pre-work that I’m not used to doing. Usually I would ask my clients what they want to do with their hair at the appointment and go from there, and now after a few months everyone wants to catch up but I have to focus on their hair before we can relax and talk. Now before any appointment I will do a consultation either through Facebook messenger or Zoom. Some of my clients are less tech-savvy, and I understand so I just ask them to send a picture of their roots so I know what I’m working with. This way we spend less time in the suite figuring out what needs to be done. I know all my client’s hair so I can assume what kind of outgrowth I’m dealing with, but some of my clients dabbled into the box hair dye during quarantine. Sometimes I look at a picture and I’m like “Hm, you should have more outgrowth than that so there’s something you’re not telling me” [laughs.] But they didn’t do too much damage, so it was all salvageable when they came in.
What Vagaro feature helped you the most during closure?
I used Email Marketing to send email blasts to clients to help them get through the tough time with their hair. I sent bi-weekly blasts to clients about gift card specials or product runs. I only used Text Marketing for really important information. I noticed that the clients who didn’t read my emails were much more responsive to text messages.
Did you adjust your pricing when you re-opened?
I only increased the pricing for my color appointments because I anticipated an increase of product usage.
What tips would you like to share with the Vagaro community for those waiting for their state to lift shelter in place orders?
The first few weeks are insane, but after the initial push be ready to scale back to keep yourself sane. Work smarter, not harder! Now’s the time to reset and set yourself up for success. As hairstylists we love to get into ruts and do the same thing over, but now is a good time to make those big sweeping changes you’ve been meaning to do and make room for yourself personally.
Does your business have insights to share about preparing to reopen, or what it’s been to be back at work after the pandemic? We’d love to hear your thoughts! If your business is interested in being considered for a business spotlight on the Vagaro Blog, click here to fill out our interview form!