Janel Latessa (@hairbyjanellatessa) of Cleveland, OH, had a client drive 13 hours, roundtrip, for this beautiful blonding and balayage. The reunion of the client and her stylist “made my heart so full!” says Latessa. Seeing this dramatic transformation (“8 hours, stories, smiles, laughter and so much love”) made us want to reach out and check-in on Latessa’s experience of being back at work in her salon suite.
“Day one, I was stressed but everyone has been so prepared,” she says. “I had worried about people not wanting to come in right away—I thought they were still going to be in a panic—but it’s been the complete opposite. They can’t wait to get back in and I can’t wait to see them.”
MODERN SALON: How did you let clients know about your new protocols and guidelines?
JANEL LATESSA: I sent out an email blast to all my clients and I gave them the procedure. I let them know that when they pull in, they should text me to say they’ve arrived, and I can make sure that everything is disinfected and sanitized before they come in. I’m leaving 15 minutes in between each appointment. It’s actually kind of nice having people texting you when you arrive because you don’t feel the pressure of seeing them immediately. You can take a water break or run to the restroom.
I told them I would be taking their temperature at the door and anyone over 99’ should reschedule.
So far, everyone has come prepared and with a mask, ready for their appointment and so happy to be back. I've prepared a bag for each that contains a throw-away mask, as well as a Wellness Goody Bag that includes some beauty items like hand lotions and a note that tells them how happy I am to see them, again.
MS: What does it look like when they walk through the door?
JL: Right now, when someone comes to see me, it’s just me and my guest in the space, together. I’m in SalonLofts and a mask is mandatory in the hallways and waiting areas. They stay in the suite while their color processes and I keep the door shut. Clients are appreciating that it’s just me and them; they’re getting more of that spa feel and total one-on-one time.
I have been using my capes and my towels and everything is one per person. I do laundry every night.
Once I get them to the shampoo bowl, I tell them to just take this time to relax and not to talk.
MS: Have you raised prices?
JL: I’ve added $5 to every single service. I’ve explained that it’s for the extra sanitary measures that now go into keeping all of us safe. Everyone has been completely understanding and agreeable.
MS: Any tips for stylists returning?
JL: Make sure you have water handy. Also chewing gum or mints. Your mouth gets really dry in the masks and I’ve been talking so much because, well, we’re all so happy to be back with each other and we’re doing a lot of catching up!
Keep your hair pulled back. I’ve seen a lot of clients who work in health care since reopening—two nurses, two doctors and two dentists!—and they have all recommended that you wear your hair pulled back.
Use signage. I usually hug my guests because they’re like family to me but because we’re practicing social distancing, I made a little sign that explains we’re just doing air hugs, right now.
MS: How's business?
JL: I am booked solid, Monday through Sunday, until July 3rd. I also have 25 people on my waiting list. So if anyone isn’t feeling quite comfortable, I make sure they know not to feel obliged and that’s it’s ok to cancel. But everyone has said, ‘I trust you.’ I sold 40 gift card during this time to keep afloat. Everyone was so supportive.
MS: Nicest thing to happen since opening?
JL: I had a client come with five cans of Lysol as a welcome back gift. I cried—it was the sweetest thing ever.
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