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Salons report seasonal upswing in business

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The Spring season has brought with it an encouraging increase in business for several salons, following a slow post lockdown recovery period.

Says Jared Hines of Hines & Harley Men’s Grooming Lounge in Johannesburg: “I have definitely seen an upswing in treatments. As of September, we are at about 85% of our pre lockdown levels. I do think that during October we will get back to normal.

“We have seen an increase in new clients, as well as more clients booking massages, facials and pedicures, much more so than before. So definitely the relaxation and pamper treatments are picking up. I think people are realising the benefits of those types of treatments more.”

Corli Schoeman of Alchemy Skin & Body in Graaff Reinet concurs that business has definitely picked up since Spring. She continues: “We just closed off September month-end and by the grace of God, we had a 20% growth compared to 2019. While a lot of our business is still retail oriented, we’ve seen a wonderful, positive incline in therapy treatments and the therapy forecast for October is already much better than that of September as there’s more movement in town.

“While we were previously negatively affected by the schools situation in that moms had to keep their children at home and so couldn’t come for beauty treatments, several moms have decided to send their kids back to school and are returning to the salon. I am positive about the final quarter of this unprecedented 2020.”

Amazing month

Bella Vita Nail Art Studio on the West Rand is back to full force. Says owner Chantelle Ayres: “It’s been an amazing month and I’m so happy that everyone is coming out of their homes and supporting us once again. I am extremely grateful for all the pedicures everyone is booking. It’s such a quick service to perform and therefore a solid revenue generator.”

Bev Courtney of Grace Skin and Wellness in Sandton, adds: “Business has actually been wonderful recently. But the boom has been rather strange in that it’s not been from existing clients, but rather from new clients.”

The manager of an upmarket salon in Johannesburg’s northern suburbs who does not wish to be named reports that every month since reopening in late June is getting ‘a bit better’, with clients rebooking as per normal. Although both retail sales and overall business is down from the same time last year, the salon has a positive outlook for the summer months.


Esna Colyn, CEO of the Imbalie Group (comprising Placecol Skin Care Clinics, Perfect 10 and Dream Nails), has definitely seen an uptick in trade.

“Retail is still outperforming services. Our salons in the smaller towns are doing exceptionally well, like Lephalale and Emalahleni. We’re experiencing much higher trading volumes during weekdays, as a result of people working flexi-hours or from home,” she comments.

The Sorbet Group is delighted with the upturn in its business. Says Sorbet CEO, Linda Sinclair: “Many of our guests have been eager to come back to our stores and indulge in some of their favourite treatments that they were unable to enjoy over the initial lockdown period. We attribute this positive trend to the stringent hygiene protocols and safe social distancing measures that we have put in place, and the trust and loyalty that guests have for our brand.”

Record retail figures

For the first time since 1980, The Beauty Clinic in East London has achieved retail sales that outweigh treatment sales.

Says Pieter Olivier, who co-owns the salon with Gwen Pietersma: “The reason for this is that our therapists were coming in for only two or three days a week for services, so they had to sell a lot of retail to make up their income. Our lead therapist generated massive sales figures with one of our skincare brands, which had just brought in a new serum priced at R3,000.

“In terms of treatment services, we did notice a definite uptick at the end of August, but then business dropped a bit again in September. At the moment our overall turnover is down 50% from the same time last year. It certainly hasn’t been easy to survive in this pandemic climate. We’ve managed to get by and now hope for the better.”

Olivier and Pietersma have diversified by opening a shop inside the salon, selling small, affordable items such as soaps, body products, sponges for exfoliation, nail files etc, all of which bear the Beauty Clinic branding.

“These items, which I call ‘stocking fillers’, are on show in lovely display cases next to reception,” Olivier says. (Report by Joanna Sterkowicz)

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