The Covid-19 pandemic has hit global economies hard and has the potential to inflict even greater harm in the months and possibly years to come, as businesses lay off staff and Government aid dries up. Cayman has seen ups and downs within its own economy, some industries appearing to weather the storm well while others have been hit hard. This new series examines Cayman’s economy from the local business perspective, to get a feel for how these Islands are going to fare in the medium to long term.
By Lindsey Turnbull
The business of Eclipze Hair Design & Day Spa came to a sudden grinding halt on 22nd March 2020 with the imposition of lockdown island-wide, but owner Darla Dilbert did not sit back and close her doors for good. In fact, quite the opposite.
“I went into overdrive the minute we had to shut down,” she advised. “I immediately set myself up with a makeshift home office, running the administrative side of the business there for the entire lockdown.”
Darla said she kept in constant contact with her team from her home office, arranging online training for herself and her staff, particularly in the field of sanitation and sterilisation.
“Training in sanitation and sterilisation is something you learn at college from day one, however I thought it was important to undertake these courses, as what we were dealing with was slightly different,” she confirmed. “We needed to ensure we had the correct protocols in place to ensure the safety of the staff and our customers once we reopened.”
In addition, she and her team underwent further online training in other areas, such as cutting, colouring and new product lines. In all, they each did between six to eight certifications.
Darla said she lost three staff members during that time, all of whom has been concerned about what the future would bring and deciding to go back to their home countries. She did not have to let any staff go.
On 22nd June the salon was able to reopen and Darla described the experience as “Christmas in June”, so happy were they to see their customers again.
“It was a crazy time,” she conceded. “I still cannot believe how many clients we managed to pack into our eight-hour working day in just the first week and a half of opening, where we saw more than 500 clients. And that was with our staff having 15 minutes in between each customer to resanitise their station.”
Darla confirmed that July and August were also good months for the business and September was still better than usual. She said they were still waiting to see how October is going, however they were very pleased to see a good deal of new names in the books.
“We have always had a large percentage of local clientele but we have seen a lot of new people come to the salon since we reopened. I think it may be because we kept a high profile, especially on social media, during lockdown,” she said. “We posted on home care and giving our clients new ideas; we showed we cared about our clients.”
Clients do not appear to be scaling down appointments or opting for cheaper services.
“I think people are living by the saying ‘If you look good you feel good’,” Darla said.
As to the future, Darla said she felt quite good so long as things continue on the same trajectory.
“If it continues, we are just happy to pay the bills, pay ourselves something and keep our families going,” she confirmed. “I think we have had it much better than most.”
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