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How young stylists are dealing with the national shut down

Two finalists in the Up & Coming Hairdresser of the Year category of the Salon International Sponsored by Schwarzkopf Professional Hair Awards share how they are spending lockdown.

Says Melanie Backlund of Shag High Voltage Hair: “The weeks leading up to lockdown were spent, I think, in the same way as normal but with a degree of uncertainty and panic about the future. However, as lockdown was announced, I quickly realised that it should be seen as an opportunity for growth. So, during lockdown, I’m trying to stay up to date with as much online education as possible, as well as trying my hand at filming tutorials for clients and stylists.”

Backlund admits that staying motivated during this time can be tough. She continues: “I’m so fortunate to work with an incredible team, and they are continually inspiring us to be hungry for more and to aim to keep bettering ourselves. We are in contact daily, and are constantly formulating little ideas to keep the salon’s community engaged and to make sure our clients aren’t neglected during this time. The clients themselves have kept me motivated too! Their continuous support and words of encouragement mean the world to me.

“I think it’s been absolutely incredible to see the industry connect the way it has. I’ve been able to connect not only with local stylists but with international stylists too. Whether it be a quick Instagram message, or a one-on-one FaceTime to map out some education during lockdown, I really feel these connections have been a blessing to this industry and it has made my heart burst with pride to be a part of this industry.”

What Backlund misses most about not being in the salon is her work family, her clients and the ‘forever friendly’ faces of all the reps that she and team see on a weekly basis.

“As clichéd as it may sound, we do spend the majority of our time at work,” she comments, “so I don’t consider the salon my ‘place of work’ but rather it’s my home. And, I am indeed, homesick. I think my colleagues and I are all feeling ready to hit the ground running after weeks of self-growth, self-love and self-empowerment.”

New skills

Marni Malan of Hair @ Bennies is spending the lockdown time learning some new skills.

“I've looked into things that will help me to be more of an emotionally supportive stylist to my clients,” she reveals. “This entails things like body language and life coaching knowledge, etc. I do also watch educational hair seminars to refine some practical skills, but I'm focusing more on the relationships side of my industry.”

Malan is keeping herself motivated during this time by practicing some mindful meditations and by writing a lot. She says: “I always journal but as we all know, life has a way of just going by faster and faster. Now that we're forced to slow down, I have a lot of time to reflect by re-reading my journal, seeing what I've achieved in terms of goals, growth and overcoming challenges, and identifying my future goals.

“When lockdown first happened, fear wanted to creep into my heart. But now I'm filled with immense gratitude, as being forced to take a break from our industry has just opened my eyes to how fulfilling it truly is.”


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