Janet Jackson is a hairstylist, TV personality, Contessa finalist and the owner of JouJou Hair Studio in Toronto. We caught up with Jackson to discuss what it’s like being a salon owner during the second salon shutdown in Ontario, what salons are currently going through and advice on how to get through it all.
What is it like being a salon owner during the pandemic, particularly now during the second salon shutdown?
There was a lot learned when going through the first quarantine, so it kind of prepared us for the second lockdown. Outside of the salon, I’m still keeping myself relatively busy but at this time, I’m dissecting my business, and kind of detailing it from home. I’m looking at my business structures to see what I can do better—how I can prepare for when we go back. Also, seeing what more I can do in terms of being creative and re-promoting my business.
Right now, it’s really about brainstorming and figuring out how to get through this and how to stay on top because we don’t even know how long this is going to last for, so it’s really about keeping the business afloat and figuring out what I’ve got to do to make that happen.
How does the second shutdown compare to the first? What did you learn from the first shutdown that helped you manage this one?
I learned that you have to make yourself ready and stay ready for anything that comes at you. You have to stay motivated and keep yourself busy. The [first salon shutdown] taught me about resilience and being able to conquer whatever comes my way. I’ve learned to be resilient and look within myself and within my business to figure out what’s next.
What kind of impact has the second salon shutdown had on you as a salon owner? What about your staff? How do you help them stay motivated and hopeful?
The impact is obviously huge from a financial standpoint and from a mental standpoint. My team and I have a WhatsApp group chat, where we communicate and share classes and courses that are going on, so we stay motivated in that group. It’s been quite difficult because there are free classes, but the classes that we really want to take, the ones that cost money, you’re thinking from a financial standpoint that it’s not something you want to do because we’re not receiving much income right now. It’s been very difficult. It’s been a trying time and it’s frustrating not knowing what’s going to happen and when it’s going to happen.
As a business owner, I stay motivated by listening to a lot of podcasts and getting into social media. I get a lot of inspiration from social media. I like to look at other salon owners, hair artists and beauty companies. Some people tend to stray away from social media, but I stay motivated in that aspect.
Do you have any tips/advice for stylists during this time? How can hairstylists use their downtime to learn new skills?
You have to stay motivated and become creative, in terms of looking at other means of income. The first quarantine taught us that it’s now a necessity to have multiple streams of income. As a hairstylist and business owner, I would suggest looking into that. Leverage your passion and figure out what it is that you really love doing and figure out other streams of income. I think that’s one thing that we can all agree upon.
In terms of education, now is the time to educate yourself. We have all this downtime to learn about different hair types and hair textures—use this time now. If you’re a stylist that never knew how to work with multiple hair types and textures, now is the time to get yourself up to speed. Now more than ever we have the time, so use it to learn and become a more well-rounded professional.
Have you been offering or attending any online education sessions?
Yes, I’ve been offering education. I started late last year. It’s a masterclass that I started offering for styling techniques for hair types 3 and 4. I started that just before the second quarantine and I’ll be announcing some more dates this year for online classes.
I’ve also been taking classes myself. I’m taking in a lot of free education that’s out there—the Instagram lives that people have been doing. I’ve been eating all that stuff up—what I can get out there for free.
Do you have any business tips or advice for salon owners who may be struggling during this time? What is your salon doing to help generate revenue during this time?
As much as I suggest that, I too am learning that. I realize that creating multiple streams of income for my salon is important.
I’m working on now having a larger presence online. I’m looking into doing a lot more retailing online and offering gift cards, so we can try to get some finances that way. I am exploring that and looking to expand. I want to sell more and offer more while we’re still in lockdown, so why not focus on what we can do for our clients at home; providing them home [haircare] kits (the right shampoo and conditioner) so that when we are able to reopen and they do get back, we won’t have to deal with all of this “craziness” in terms of what people have been doing at home with their hair.
I’m doing that myself—helping my clients as much as I can, from home. We’re working on our website and offering curbside as well. Reaching out to beauty brands is also a good way to supplement your income. A lot of the brands are offering education and are doing a lot of promotional stuff online. Reach out to these brands, let them know you’re a salon owner, and ask them how you can partner with them—how you can work together. Partnering up with a beauty brand is a potential for income for salon owners. It’s about getting creative and reaching out. Figure out who you need to get in contact with and make that connection because now you have the time.
What are some ways salon owners and stylists can maintain good relationships with their clients during this time?
We personally do that through social media. It’s the most effective way right now and it’s free! For salon owners who never really got into social media, now is the time to explore that. For salons that have no presence or a small presence on Instagram, now is the time. I believe that’s the easiest way to go about it right now—to stay connected through social media. Post hair tips or inspiring information or quotes to your clients.