"It's so important to reopen": Hairdressers and barbers among personal care services looking forward to future

When Tracey Ireland gave up her work in agriculture for more than 20 years and opened up a hairdressing business 18 months ago she knew the challenge would be hugely different.

But the Malton-based small business owner, who opened The Shearing Shed in August 2019, did not expect to have to endure long periods of her first business venture counting up the cost of being closed and finding herself in a “worrying” financial situation.

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Having only been able to open for five of the past 12 months, due to coronavirus restrictions, and unable to qualify for the Government’s £10,000 small business grant scheme, due to the newness of her business, Ms Ireland has been counting down the days until she can open on Monday with eager anticipation.

Pictured, Tracey Ireland in her salon, The Shearing Shed, in Rillington near Malton. Hair dressers and salons can open when covid lockdown restrictions are lifted on April 12th. Photo credit: Tony Johnson/JPIMedia

Ms Ireland told The Yorkshire Post: “It’s so important to open now.

“It has been totally disastrous for me because I have had no income since August 2019.

“It’s been difficult, considering we are a new salon - because we had just got started, and trade was picking up.”

Ms Ireland, who left a career in agriculture to re-train to become a hairdresser two years ago, said it was “vital” she had been able to put her three staff on furlough.

Tracey Ireland in her salon, The Shearing Shed, in Rillington near Malton. Photo credit: Tony Johnson/JPIMedia

However she had faced significant financial hardship with her business, which had a base of more than 50 regulars, was making a loss of £250 a week when restrictions first came into place. Ms Ireland, originally from Rillington, said she had relied on support from her husband Philip Booth, who works in agriculture.

The former animal health expert, said: “It’s been awful, I’ve had no income at all since 18 months.

“I have staff to pay - each week I was making a loss and there was only so long I could stand that for.

“When you are shut the bills aren’t even covered.

The Shearing Shed opened in August 2019. Tracey Ireland did not expect to have to endure long periods of her first business venture counting up the cost of being closed and finding herself in a “worrying” financial situation. Photo credit: Tony Johnson/JPIMediaResell

“I have not qualified for any of the grants because I hadn’t been open for long enough.”

She added: “But thankfully I’ve been fortunate that my husband has been able to work through this.”

Barring any last-minute changes, Monday is the date that non-essential retailers will reopen – alongside gyms, indoor swimming pools, hairdressers and outdoor hospitality venues.

Ms Ireland is hopeful for the near future, with her books full up for the next couple of weeks, including more than 80 eager customers booked in for the first week, with the hairdresser having “all hands on deck” and extending opening hours to fit everyone in.

Tracey Ireland said: “It’s so important to open now... The past year has been difficult, considering we are a new salon." Photo credit: Tony Johnson/JPIMedia

“I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone again and people are desperately wanting to get booked in. Ms Ireland said. “I’ve been trying not to turn anyone away and get them booked in at a later date.”

She added: “Even though the business is 18 months old - I’ve been closed for half of it so really I’m still a new business.

“I do have high hopes but I don’t like to get too hopeful because of how unpredictable the last 18 months have been.”

In Hull for Rosie Mason who runs a hair salon in Market Place in the Old Town, she is relieved to be back and while it has been a struggle the small business owner was able to access the £10,000 grant from the Government.

“It did really help to pay the bills and help implement the measures and provide the PPE,” she said.

While a spokesperson from The Barbers Leeds, based in the city centre said: “We’re excited to be back and see our old and new clients.”

Beauty salons, spas, tattoo parlours and nail bars, which all fall under personal care services, are also welcoming back their first clients for months, as part of the stage two of the Government’s roadmap.

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