Beauty is one of the many things that are timeless. Many people make sure to have a budget for their beauty needs such as makeovers, makeup, haircuts, facials, manicures and pedicures etc.
For someone like myself, these could be weekly needs but for others, maybe every two weeks or whenever they can find the time to pamper themselves. With prom season on the horizon, graduation in our midst and any other springtime occasions on the calendar, the books were filling up and seats were getting filled. Until one week mid-March when we were told our doors would be closing for two weeks.
Covid-19 had been in the news weeks prior to the closing of businesses, but no one fully braced themselves for what was to come. Suddenly, cancellations were being made, dates postponed, events cancelled, and thus the downward spiral of business.
Since retail is not considered essential work, many experienced layoffs, furloughs, or termination altogether. Employees grew weary of the rising situations but were assured by their company that the contingency plan for unforeseen circumstances such as this will allow them to continue to taken care of at least until mid April.
When retailer Sephora layed off over 3,000 of its part time and seasonal workers, it spiked fear in others who work in the same industry and had a similar contingency plan. Armane Flemming, who works at Ulta says she fears something similar may happen to her.
“Although nothing has been confirmed as of yet, it’s only a matter of time before I’m in the same situation as them”, says Flemming.
Nearly 1 million retail workers have been furloughed as of April 3rd according to the Washington Post, and those troubles are just the beginning as the extension dates for stay at home orders keep being pushed back.
“I filed for unemployment benefits when my serving job closed its doors. I figure that since I’m in the customer service job no matter the location that I was bound to be affected by both jobs” says Flemming.
With uncertainty of what lies ahead for the future of these cosmetics companies, the employees are doing the best they can to stay creative and in high spirits during these times. Zoom interactions, Instagram live tutorials, and exclusive employee online training sessions aide as resourceful tools to employees during this time.
Kyasia Fields, a freelance cosmetic worker, has picked up a hobby that she never had time for before. Making the most out of her time and the situation, she plans to use the time to brush up on old and new skills.
“I never expected to be in this situation and while a part of me is wanting to feel discouraged and saddened by it, another part of me is telling me to make use of this time because that’s all I pretty much can do at this point”, says fields.
Switching from the norm of everyday life for those in the beauty industry has not been easy for some like barbers. For some it’s a full-time job, and for others, it’s their second job. Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation gave a mandatory order that all services must be ceased and failure to do so will result in license revoking.
Barber Andre Wiggins fears the financial strain this will cost him, seeing as he owns his barbershop and there’s currently no steady income.
“This is my livelihood and my one and only job. Even if I want to go out and get something else during the meantime, I can’t because pretty much everywhere is shut down or has maxed out the work available” says Wiggins.
With over 30 local barbershops in the city, those workers are left to find an alternative if they don’t have one to continue to hold themselves over until this time has passed.
For now, those who work in this industry are continuing to have to find an alternative until given orders otherwise. For some it’s easier and for others a lot more is at stake. Without them being able to service customers, some are taking this time as a break and other are using this time to find a new trade or skill that’s beneficial during these times.