On July 19, 2018, there was a steam-pipe explosion in the Flatiron District of New York, just outside of Butterfly Studio Salon, forcing the evacuation and closing of 49 buildings including businesses and residences for five whole days. In an act of desperation, salon founder Kattia Solano began to text colleagues to figure out where she and her stylists would service their clients.
“It is no secret that our industry can be very competitive and at times our egos can also get in the way. In NYC, you have to survive in order to succeed and this can sometimes affect the community spirit within our industry. Deep inside, I believe that our industry could and would work best by supporting each other, but through the years I have felt there has often been a separation. Wow, was I proven wrong during our most recent situation,” says Solano. “I literally sent text messages in desperation to figure out where we were going to service our clients. The support and love that we received from other salon owners and their team members has been extremely touching. Big and small, they opened their homes and hearts to us.”
Some salons that opened their doors include: Marie Robinson Salon, Chris Chase Salon, and Salon Ziba. These salons shared everything from space, products to even some of their tools. In addition, Mark Garrison allowed the Butterfly team to take over a full floor to service clients. Solano served as his assistant years ago when they both worked at Frederic Fekkai and to have one of her mentors help during her time of need was such a blessing.
“I wanted to share our story, not because of hardship, but because I think it’s important to highlight the sense of community, love and giving back that we were so fortunate to receive. In a world that seems to be full of separation and fear, it is wonderful to know that our beauty industry is there for one another. I truly hope that no one has to experience being displaced or a similar crisis but believe me I will be there with opens arms to pay forward this act of kindness,” says Kattia Solano.
What should you do if a crisis hits your salon?
After experiencing the steam pipe crisis, Solano offers some advice to other salon owners and hairdressers who may be going through a similar situation. Situations of crisis can include floods, natural disasters, blackouts, walkouts, health scares or anything else that comes up unexpectedly.
- Keep good relationships with other salons, especially the ones located in your area. We have been extremely lucky to have salons open their doors to us, from uptown to downtown throughout several occasions.
- Obtain interruption insurance to protect yourself from most situations. It’s pricey but worth it. Make sure you know exactly what you can be covered for.
- Obtain cloud base software so you have access to all of your clients’ information and you can easily communicate with them. This helps so much especially when you need to access notes and formulas.
- Keep an extra set of tools for your entire team so that if you can’t gain access to your space, they will have their tools to work with.
- Panic! You have to keep your team and clients safe and reassure them that everyone is doing their best to get back to business as usual.
- Assume that people are getting updates and information from social media. You must make the effort to follow-up personally.
- Hesitate to accept help from brand partners and team members. We literally had people lend and deliver product from their trunks and go shopping in different locations to get all the products and color we needed.