WASHINGTON — They are at ground zero of beauty control. Hairdressers, barbers, nail techs and eye-lash goddesses make us look, and feel, cute. Even in a pandemic, we depend on them.
Or shall we say, depended on them?
With coronavirus spreading across our area, along with elected officials banning gatherings of more than 10 people, many wonder what this means for the local beauty industry.
"I had a feeling this past Saturday that things would get worse," Ta'ler Brooke, CEO of The Ta'ler Brooke Experience and Maryland hairstylist, said. "I started packing my essential things for my business – flat irons, products, curlers, etc. – because something told me by the time Monday comes, things are going to get worse."
Unfortunately, Brooke's gut feeling became a reality.
On Monday, Gov. Larry Hogan ordered all non-essential businesses in the state to close – that includes bars, restaurants, entertainment venues and other places where crowds could gather that are not critical to the infrastructure of day-to-day life.
And on Tuesday, Gov. Ralph Northam followed suit and ordered all non-essential businesses in Virginia to close until at least April 27. D.C.'s Mayor Muriel Bowser also shuttered non-essential businesses through April 24.
Cosmetology is a hands-on industry. Working from home and staying away from people is unfortunately not an option, which leaves stylists like Brooke scrambling to figure out what's next and how are they going to survive financially due to the temporary closing of non-essential businesses.
"The thing that I learned is that if you're not digital, then you need to be," Brooke said. "Things can get taken away so fast and this is out of our control."
Some stylists, such as Brooke, are now turning to digital platforms – including social media and personal websites – to keep their business afloat amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
From ideas such as an online shop to online hair tutorials, stylists who were forced to close their businesses are now adapting to creative, but financial ways to keep their clients and their wallets happy.
To stay afloat and to keep her clients, Brooke created several how-to tutorials – with topics such as natural hair and wig maintenance – showcasing easy ways to maintain your hair while shops are closed temporarily.
Interested in learning or seeing more of Brooke's tutorials? Click here to see, subscribe to her page.
"This quarantine is just an eye-opener for everyone that you have to have a backup plan," Brooke said. "With me having a website, that is my own place. So if I wanted to sell something while waiting for the virus to die down, I thankfully have that option. It's just a matter of when we are able to go back to work."
When is a question we have as well: When will COVID-19 let up? Stylists, like everyone else in the DMV area, are taking it one day at a time.
"It's important to create a plan – literally create a plan to bring in income daily or whatever amount to survive during this time. It's definitely important to figure out the financial piece first," Brooke said.
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