Communicating with Clients & Landlords

Are you a responsible beauty professional? This question informs how we respond to the significant challenges of the coronavirus pandemic. We offer our take on how to communicate with clients (including those requesting services!) and landlords expecting rent when we’re not allowed to work.

Show Notes

Resources:

MultiState – COVID-19 Policy Tracker – State-by-state information on executive orders, essential business definitions, school closures, travel restrictions and more

Google – COVID-19 Map – Current statistics at national, state and county levels

USA.gov – Unemployment Help – Unemployment benefits amid the coronavirus

SBA.gov – Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources – Information about funding options

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A note from your hosts: While we make every effort to provide current and factual information in this podcast, we are not lawyers or accountants. Information contained in this podcast should not be viewed as a substitute for legal or tax advice. We always recommend you seek professional legal and financial advice where required.

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Edited for length and clarity.

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

JAIME: Welcome to Outgrowth Podcast: A Slice of Pro Beauty with your hosts Jaime Schrabeck.

ASHLEY: And Ashley Gregory. In our second mini episode, we’ll answer two of the most frequently asked questions in the last few weeks. Let’s grow together.

JAIME: Ashley, I need to check my calendar because it seems like months ago that we recorded our first mini episode, and we happened to be in New York City, the day after the state of emergency was declared by Governor Cuomo.

ASHLEY: And it feels like the month of March has 9,000 days. I can’t believe it was less than a month ago that we were in New York City, in the basement of the Javits Center, recording together in person. And now the Javits Center is a large field hospital with something like a few thousand beds for COVID-19 patients and it’s just a completely different world.

JAIME: If you want to hear our initial reactions to the cancellation of the show, which seemed shocking at the time, but now looking back on it seems like a really wise decision, check out our first mini episode titled, Live from New York City.

ASHLEY: Given the fact that we are in such a different frame of mind and such a different  landscape right now in the industry, the mini episode questions, I think, are really apropos of what everyone is feeling right now and what we’re all dealing with, depending on your employment situation, what state you’re in, and what’s happening with shelter in place,   essential versus non essential services. We’re all really in the same boat but, so many things depend on what the other people in that boat are doing that will directly affect us, whether it’s people not social isolating, people who are heeding the CDC guidelines. It’s all going to determine what happens next for us, not just as an industry, but as individuals.

JAIME: Early on in this process, when only a few of us were being directly impacted by orders from our governors, I don’t feel as many people were as focused on what’s going to happen when this comes to me because I think deep down they might’ve hoped that somehow it would be resolved and never, ever affect them directly.

ASHLEY: Well, and a virus is such a strange enemy to have because you can’t imagine. As I go outside here in Chicago, yes, we’re under a shelter in place, but you can still take your dog for a short walk and just get outside in the fresh air. It’s in the 60s. It’s beautiful. It’s sunny. The 60s for Chicago is fabulous spring weather and it just, it seems unimaginable that there’s this thing out there trying to essentially kill us, and because we can’t see it, it’s such like an amorphous concept of, how could this be happening right now? Especially when we’re feeling the squeeze financially, we’re really trying to figure out what our next steps are. To have this unimaginable enemy, I think, is maybe part of why people were so reluctant to take some precautions in the beginning, or even there’s some of that reluctance now, unfortunately, too.

JAIME: Now, most of the country, at least by population, has been ordered by their state governments to shelter in place, stay at home. There are different words used to describe what orders are being given to the residents of that state, and to only engage in essential business.

ASHLEY: Right, and essential meaning, getting food for yourself and your family and not taking extraneous trips. I mean, stores are closed. People are, are home, but it’s just very interesting, really this kind of leads us to our first question. What do I say to clients who want me to do their services even though we’re not supposed to be open?

JAIME: The first realization is that, as a service provider, as a business owner, you need to know what laws apply to you, and you need to read the orders and understand what steps you’re supposed to be taking as someone responsible for the business. This gets to the communication that you have with your clients. I believe that if you were a credible business owner before, and you were engaged with your clientele before, they need you more than ever to communicate with them. I would encourage everyone to be very proactive. Don’t wait for clients to contact you. Be ahead of it by sending it in email. That would be the easiest way to do it because if you are like most salon owners, there are dozens, if not hundreds, if not thousands of people, perhaps, in your clientele that you’d want to connect with, but the most important people would be those clients who had appointments within the next four weeks on your schedule. Those are the people that deserve priority in communication because they’re the ones that were planning on seeing you. All the rest of them, people you might’ve seen six years ago, they might still be in a database that you might have. They’re not as important in this very moment.

ASHLEY: Communication is essential here, and I don’t think it’s appropriate to allow or require your clients to assume that their appointment is still on, because it creates this false sense of hope that, oh, everything’s going to be back to normal. First of all, no one knows that. No one knows when the shelter in place orders are going to be lifted. I’m going to take a pretty hard line here, but if you’re still performing beauty services, you are in direct violation of CDC guidelines and you are the reason that this will last longer than it absolutely has to because the whole purpose of the shelter in place orders are to flatten the curve, and to ensure that our health care facilities aren’t overwhelmed with more patients than they can handle, more patients than they have beds for, more patients than they have ventilators for. If you’re not doing your part to do that, you’re not being a responsible citizen, let alone a responsible business owner. And I know that people are gonna get their hackles up about this, but there is absolutely no reason for you to be performing beauty services on anyone, whether it’s from your home, whether you’re sneaking in the side door of your salon. If you’re doing that, you know it’s wrong. So why are you allowing this to continue? Because when this is over, people will know and people will, will judge you accordingly. If you’re willing to be that cavalier with people’s safety under these circumstances, what are your normal business practices like?

JAIME: I am here for your support of compliance always, and let’s talk about what you could be doing to get ahead of this if you haven’t already. If you are making phone calls on a day to day basis, canceling appointments and trying to reschedule, that’s ridiculous. You have no idea when you’re going to reopen again. You don’t. So to reschedule is just creating even more work for yourself, and as you mentioned previously, creating a false sense of hope that somehow things are going to be back to normal on a particular date. There is no date. There is no date. The date is when you all can comply. We’ll start this process. But even then, at the moment of compliance, that will help slow the growth, but that does not end the threat.

ASHLEY: I’ve been seeing a lot of Instagram posts, especially saying we’ll be open again May 1st. Everything will be lifted on April 30th and especially if you’re in a more rural area, or you’re in an area that doesn’t have a super large city near you, you’re seeing your future right now. You’re seeing what’s happening or what will be happening in your area in 30 to 45 days. I’m in Chicago. I’m in the middle of it, and we’re seeing exponential growth despite shelter in place orders because there’s still people out in the park. There’s still people gathering and having parties that need to be busted up by the police, which have much bigger fish to fry right now. And you’re right. The first day of, I guess, quote unquote normalcy is the day everyone. complies, and guess what? It’s 14 days after that because if everyone on the planet was frozen in place right now, six feet apart, this virus would be done in two weeks. That’s just not possible because there are essential services that still need to be opened, but beauty services are not life or death. However, at this point, I think a lot of beauty providers, because they need to make a living and they’re feeling the squeeze of the pocket book versus the squeeze of what’s ethically correct, I’m seeing a lot of posts about like, we’ll be back May 1st and everything will be fine. You don’t know that. And to create that false narrative and to create that expectation for your clients, you’re just kind of showing them that you don’t really know what you’re talking about. And, why should they believe you in the future if you’re creating these false hoods now? I get it. It’s hard. This is tough. People are being put into situations that they’ve never been put in before and having to make decisions that they never want to make. However, there are still some people asking for services. I’ve received messages myself, hey, are you doing acrylics? Are you working out of your home? How is that any different than working out of a salon? Just because I’m doing it on the down-low for you? Like why are you concerned about your nails right now? Number one, and secondly, I’m having a really hard time rectifying these two versions of our industry because we want to be taken seriously as professionals. We want to complain on Facebook about how clients don’t want to pay our prices, but then we also, by the same token, now want to be considered an essential service during something like this, like you can’t have it both ways.

JAIME: You can’t have it both ways. And I get criticized frequently, although at times I take it as a compliment, for being very direct and blunt, but I think in those moments, I’m being very sincere and not wasting anyone’s time. When I say, for your safety, we’re closed until further notice. I don’t need to offer any more explanation. Everyone understands why it’s happening. I have not received any pushback. I don’t have clients asking me to come to their homes or do anything that would be considered dangerous, reckless, delusional, irresponsible. We can name a whole bunch of adjectives, because they know better. They know I would not do that, not only to protect myself, but to protect them and to be compliant. That’s just who I am, as an individual. So these lengthy explanations of, I’m being forced to do this, and I love you so much, and I will miss you and okay, we get all of that. You don’t need to say all of that. Get to the point. The point is they need to know that you have taken a particular action, in which case, I hope it’s that you’re suspending operations. I would expect that you would do that, as a licensed professional and what the plan is going forward. You don’t have to be specific. So I will give as an example what I said to my clients the afternoon that the order came down, which was March 16th. It was even before the state mandated this in California. My county, Monterey County, did this. We emailed every person, blind copy, who had an appointment in the coming four weeks. And some of them actually had multiple appointments in the coming four weeks, but we only had to send the one email, letting them know what was happening and that we would contact them later when we knew a date where we could reschedule them. I emailed them again as a followup because at that point, it was even more serious, and it looked to be extended for a longer period of time, that I would be confirming appointments with them going forward and they would likely be completely rescheduled. In other words, it’s like a complete reset of the schedule. And let’s be honest, some people are not going to come back. 

ASHLEY: Yeah.

JAIME: They’re not going to come back. I hope it’s not because they are no longer with us. I hope it’s because, perhaps, they’ve made a decision that they have other priorities, whether they be financial, or whatever. That’s okay. Anytime any chang is made, these things can happen. But I want them to know that the priority that I give them because they, for the most part, had standing appointments will still be in place. I am going to go to them first. It’s not going to be this mad crush of whoever just happens to call and get on the schedule. No, it’s going to be very deliberate. It’s going to be rebuilding the schedule based on a foundation of those clients who have been the main support of the salon for many, many years. Those are the people who will get priority as they always have.

ASHLEY: Well, and it’s up to us to set the tone. I mean, going back to what you said about having to go on to this lengthy explanation. If somebody solicits you for a service right now, you can just say, no. You don’t have to go through this whole rigamarole of, well, based on CDC guidance, no. Everyone knows. Everyone knows what’s going on. And the reason that these potential clients are reaching out to you, through maybe unofficial channels like a Facebook message, and they’re not trying to contact you directly through your salon, or if they are, it’s because they know they’re doing something wrong, or outside of what is the norm now. I can see how it’s easy to feel kind of guilted into doing these services, especially when we all need the money. That’s not even a question right now. The question is, are you a responsible business owner or a responsible beauty professional? And I hope the answer to that is yes, but this tells you everything you also need to know about a potential client or a client you already have. If they’re being insistent, if they’re making you feel like you have to be defensive, is this a client you really actually want to have in the future? Like they’re putting their desire for a beauty service above your health. I would start working in absolutes and say, you know what? We’re booked. We’re booked until the 15th of forever because I value myself, and I know what I do, and what it’s worth. I don’t need clientele like that. I received a random message from someone I’ve never talked to before, asking me if I would, if they could come to my home or if they, if I could go to their home. It made me so angry that I had this like big long paragraph typed out and I’m like, why am I feeding into this? They’re wrong. So I just said, no I am not. And I left it at that cause I don’t owe anyone anything beyond that, honestly. I have to focus on keeping myself and my family safe, and finding alternate means of income, and that’s what’s taking up all of my time. It’s not trying to spend 20 minutes on the phone with somebody ,or typing out a big long message to make sure their feelings aren’t hurt, while they’re asking me to risk my health. I don’t have time for that.

JAIME: Don’t waste your time and you’re being generous by using the word insistent because I have seen screenshots posted to social media where either existing clients of these beauty professionals or,  as you say, potential clients, consumers that never have supported them in the past are asking them to do exactly what you say, and that is to prioritize their wants over the need that we have to protect ourselves physically and financially. And there are going to be some long term consequences, not just in your health and finances, but from a legal standpoint. I will be surprised if out of all of this does not come some big changes in terms of insurance regulations, all of these things where our actions now as beauty professionals and salon owners does not actually lead to some of these changes because of the irresponsibility of some.

ASHLEY: Oh, totally. And I think it’s perfectly healthy to let your clients miss you a little bit, to let them really feel the impact you have on their lives. When their nails start growing out and catching in their hair, and they now have to put together a slapdash kit of ways to remove and enhancement, or ways to touch up their roots, or whatever it is. Everybody’s got a lot of time on their hands. They’re looking in the mirror and they’re being very critical. And so that kind of base reaction of wanting to look your best, especially when you have nothing to do but sit at home. I get that. But to me, this just tells me the demand for our services are going to be very high, when we’re able to be back in our salons. And honestly, my prices are going up, because you’ve basically proved the value your services have, by not doing anything. And it feels so counterintuitive to do it that way, to have this absence and lack of services really drive up the value of what you’re doing. But at this point, clients are asking you to risk your health to do services for them. If that doesn’t tell you the inherent value of beauty services, I’m not really entirely sure what will.

JAIME: We’ve always had the right to refuse service and no matter how insistent someone is about having something done, we’ve always had the option of saying, no, I’m not interested as if they were trying to sell us something, sell themselves as being your best client ever. I think the priorities of clients will change. I hope our priorities change too, and going forward, we realize, hey, if we’re going to be spending time at our salons interacting with clients, why not make them the best possible clientele? People we love to spend time with. That’s, I think, a lesson that can be learned coming out. Even now, I hope people are not only looking forward to connecting again with clients, but prioritizing which clients they want to reconnect with most.

ASHLEY: Well, and just like we spoke to Leslie Roste last week about, I think there’s going to be big changes in the industry too, just as far as basic structure. I think that this is likely the end of walk-in services. And yes, there’s going to be some salons that are, that’s their bread and butter, and that’s what they’re going to continue to do, but the need for appointment-based systems, the need for controlling the common areas in our salons. Because the virus is not going to abide by an April 30th deadline and just go, okay, it’s gonna be May. To quote that Justin Timberlake meme and it’s just going to drop out of the sky and say, oh, okay, it’s May. I can’t be an active virus anymore. We’re still going to have to proceed with caution. Whatever that looks like for your business, I think it’s really important to start making those decisions and thinking about that stuff now.

JAIME: Well, what that looks like is April 1st having come and gone, and then May 1st coming   two dates where likely you will owe rent. So, our next question, Ashley, do I need to pay booth rent if I’m not working?

ASHLEY: I’m making friends throughout this entire recording. I feel like people are going to either love me or hate me after this, but yes, you have to pay your booth rent, and it sucks, and I get that. And you’re probably stabbing at your smartphone right now, wishing it was a voodoo doll to put pins in my eyes. But yeah, you still have to pay your rent. And it’s going to be difficult because you’re not working, and whatever that looks like for you, if it’s an SBA loan, if it’s a grant, if it’s whatever, you have to get out in front of it and be proactive to find a solution, because your landlord, whether it’s you’re renting a chair in a salon, you’re renting a suite, whatever it is, they still have their mortgage to pay, the utilities to pay, and all those other things. And so if you’re expecting your space to be there when this is over, you have to secure that by honoring the contract of your lease. Going back to your original point about communication being so important, this is paramount in this situation. You have to be. Your landlord is not your enemy. Although you know, sometimes it does feel that way. You have to communicate with them and work something out, whether it’s your rent goes up a specific amount per month when this is over to make up the slack, whether it’s applying your security deposit to your rent now, looking through your lease and seeing if this qualifies as a force majeure, whatever that looks like. I think that there’s going to be two camps here. It’s the people who are proactive and they work with their landlord to find some type of solution. And there’s going to be the people that are going to lose their spots, lose their salons, and not have a place to go back to, leaving a lot of landlords a little bit shy about or weary about renting to other beauty professionals in the future. And so I think this is definitely going to be a topic we’ll be discussing in a full episode, but I wonder if COVID-19 may actually be the death of booth rent. The trend in our industry right now is to get out of school, immediately go into like a suite rental or booth rental situation because you want the freedom of it. But what a lot of us are realizing right now is, while it comes with freedom, it also comes with risk and it comes with consequences. I very much love the freelancer life. I live it day in and day out. If I were to open a salon space right now, it would be through some type of booth rental situation. But when you work in a salon, you do have some of those protections, like some of the overhead taken away, some of the rent, whatever, and the trade off of being an actual employee. It’s just kind of food for thought, like where we think the industry is going in the main direction of whether this booth rental trend is going to continue or if we’re actually going to go back to a traditional multi-department large salon format.

JAIME: There’s a third category of individual who is actually considering hiring a lawyer to look at their lease. Those same people didn’t hire a lawyer to look at their lease before they signed it. 

ASHLEY: Yeah.

JAIME: That to me, that’s crazy and a waste of money. Talk. Connect with your landlord. Say, can we work this out? Get creative, because they’re having to get creative likely with multiple tenants. You’re not the only one that’s going to be asking for some sort of either forgiveness, or forbearance, or some delay in having to pay what’s owed, and if they can afford to give you some grace, that’s fabulous but, here we go. You better not have been the person who’s been always late on your rent payments, or someone who can’t be trusted to take good care of their property, because all that goodwill that you build up by being a responsible tenant is going to come in to play when you ask.

ASHLEY: I understand. I live in a world where that isn’t always realistic, and I get that. I just think it’s a big leap to have the expectation for that space to wait for you if you can’t pay for it. Your landlord, again, has their own bills that they need to pay, and yes, wouldn’t it be an ideal world if rent was canceled and mortgages were canceled? In some localities, that’s possible. And that is happening, but you can’t rely on that being the solution to your issue right now. And so yeah, get creative. Communicate with your landlord, and figure out a way to make this work because they want to keep you as a tenant versus having to find a new tenant, which puts them at absolute like past zero, I think, into the negative. But to expect to pay nothing, during this, I think it’s just a bridge too far. It’s really difficult and I, I’ve been saving Facebook posts knowing that we’re going to be talking about this this week. You know, you could potentially restructure your lease. You could potentially, again, like I said before, change your rent amount for the rest of the year to kind of make that up. But pretty much all the posts I’ve been seeing, it’s people coming to the defense of landlords and understanding that just because you have bills, it doesn’t make your situation unique. Everybody’s got to find a way to figure out how to do this. And the, the argument is that if salon owners are not providing access to the salons, you know what our stylists paying for? Well, you’re paying for the promise of future business, and you’re paying for the space being there and held for you so that when it is time to go back and see clients again, you still have a business.

JAIME: And if you don’t think you’re going to have a viable business, be up front with your landlord now. Let’s not get to the point where you have a commercial eviction on your credit report. It’s going to complicate things not only in the present, but for the future. If you ever decide to go into business again, your credit rating is going to take a huge hit.

ASHLEY: It’s not worth it. And I think time and time again, we’re seeing that being proactive, and being on top of your finances, and planning for the worst and hoping for the best is really kind of the way forward now because so many people that have been like caught without a savings or having filed their taxes, et cetera, are learning that this is stuff that you can’t avoid because it’s going to just create more work for you later. To hold this against salon owners, and salon landlords, or suite landlords, they’re all handling it differently. But I think it’s a truth universally acknowledged that if you are communicative, you appear to be proactive. You want to work out a solution. Those are the people that are going to be given the consideration versus those who have to be forced into some type of agreement, are not communicative, do not return phone calls or emails, and are just kind of head in the sand pretending it’s not happening.

JAIME: Having that control will only expand your options. When I know right now a lot of people feel like their options are very limited. It’s because you’re not taking action. Take the action now. Get ahead of it. Know that, for example, if you perceive the next due date, you are not going to have the money. And don’t count on unemployment coming through anytime soon, or some sort of check from the government. Don’t count on that showing up on a particular date because that’s not likely to happen.

ASHLEY: Yeah. And that’s just another fun blow to the ego cause yeah, the government may potentially bail some of us out with these stimulus package checks, but for a lot of us, it’s going to be an either or proposition. Do I pay my booth rent or do I eat? No one’s asking you to make that decision in the favor of booth rent. What I think the industry is asking of you is just figure out a way to make it work. And I know that that sounds like, oh, Ashley, that’s so easy to say.   Okay, I’m in the same boat. I’m not trying to tell anybody something I’m not experiencing myself. There’s no easy answers here, but just because evictions are put on hold right now, it’s just kicking the can down the road. If you’re waiting for some windfall or you’re waiting for some declaration that may or may not come, then you’re not in control of your own destiny and it’s tough. I, I’m, I’m going to be the first one to admit it. It’s tough. But, this is our reality, and I think the faster people understand that and start making plans. Don’t assume everything’s going to be back on May 1st because, I have to say, I really don’t think it will be. What do the next 12 or 18 months look like for you? And if you are a suite renter, knowing that you’re not going to be able to make suite rent for the next three months, where is your livelihood coming from? And how is that going to shake out, maybe in June or July, when you may potentially be able to work again? And nobody really knows.

JAIME: No, they don’t know. And when you qualify for any government assistance, and I encourage everyone to apply for whatever they remotely think they may be qualified for, please do apply. There’s no guarantee that it’s going to be approved on a particular date, and that you’ll have cash in hand to spend on anything really. And even if you were approved, it’s going to be a fraction of what you’re used to making. I think when you’re your own boss, you’re used to collecting money from clients on a daily basis. That money is flowing through your business. There’s no cash flow in this situation.

ASHLEY: There’s really no easy answers here, and I think that’s really kind of part of the situation is that the solution’s going to be up to each of us as individuals to find. It’s going to be interesting to see how this all shakes out, and the direction the industry moves in. I guess stay tuned. I know that that’s kind of an unsatisfying answer, but that’s where we’re at. It’s just question marks at this point. And communication is key. In the realm of uncomfortable conversations, when I used to have to manage a big team in a retail store, you knew the bad conversations that were going to happen, whether it’d be a coaching conversation, or having to fire someone, or talking to someone about dress code, or whatever it is. The anticipation of that conversation is always worse than having the conversation itself. And so if you’re avoiding it, if you’re avoiding talking to your landlord just because you’re hoping this will all go away, you’re just going to create a bigger problem for yourself in the long run. So nip it in the bud, bite the bullet, and have the conversation. You will feel so much better after this because you are potentially causing yourself more anxiety than you  actually need to.

JAIME: I agree. Rip the bandaid off. If only bandaids could solve our problems.

ASHLEY: Rip it.

JAIME: Rip it. Money, we all want it. We just don’t want to talk about it in ways that are fundamental. And I think right now we understand what the necessities are. If you didn’t understand what was essential for your wellbeing, a home to live in, food to eat, safe water to drink, your mental health, which we haven’t even touched on in this episode. There’s so much more that should take priority, and I agree that the sooner we deal with these things, or at least start the conversation, you may not get resolution immediately, but starting the conversation is essentially a sign of maturity, as far as I’m concerned.

ASHLEY: It’s not going to be fun. But nobody ever said owning your own business or being in this business was going to be fun. I know a lot of us were drawn to it because we’re creative people. This is the ultimate test of creativity. How are you going to get out of this? It’s a choose your own adventure book, and you just want to make sure you make it to the end. 

JAIME: I’m so looking forward to other questions that will come up, and they’ve already started as more and more people are being impacted directly by what’s happening. And I’d like to see more credit given to the landlords who are being understanding and cooperative. I know my clients are going to ask. They’re going to want to know how well I was treated, and how well I treated others during this crisis.

ASHLEY: Oh, I think job searches now, that would be my number one question in an interview is, what steps did you as a business take to protect your employees and customers from COVID-19? And if I don’t like the answer, then I don’t want the job. It’s interesting to see what brands have stepped up. It’s interesting to see who’s taking a hard line. This is our reality. I think the sooner people realize that we’re so much more alike than we think, there’s a lot more that unites us than divides us. And if we have the same concerns and we have the same goals, it should be pretty easy to work together if we come at it from a place of cooperation and understanding as opposed to adversarial.

JAIME: We need each other, and we need to collaborate, not exploit. That goes for our relationships with our clients, our relationships with our suppliers that we do business with, and ultimately with our landlords, because that’s likely our largest business expense, aside from, if we have employees’ payroll, would be our lease expense.

ASHLEY: I’m like in a philosophical hole right now cause I want to be helpful and I don’t want to just push this back on the listener and say, well, it’s up to you to figure it out. Go ahead. We are all in the same boat, and it’s up to us whether to determine through our actions if that boat sinks or floats.

JAIME: Being in the same boat is an advantage, because you’re not having to explain your particular circumstances. As I said earlier, you don’t need to explain to your clients that you’re closed because, you know, you don’t want to be closed, but the governor ordered that you’re closed and dah, dah, dah, dah. You don’t need to say any of that. We all, are all in this situation because we’re not on the other side of it yet. We’re still going through this process, and different individuals are at different stages in this process. I think we could almost apply the stages of grief to this entire.

ASHLEY: Yeah.

JAIME: Pandemic because we can talk about denial, and fear, and anger, and a lot of different things as it relates to where you start this journey and where we end up. We don’t know where we’re going to end up. That’s I think the most frightening thing about it is the uncertainty.  We don’t know if our landlords are going to cooperate with us and for how long, like how much time do we need? Well, we don’t know. We don’t know if it’s going to be a month, two months, three months, maybe never, as far as our own individual businesses go. We just don’t know. And I think that’s where as soon as we start the conversation, we’re on that path towards a resolution even though it may not be something that we would welcome right now, it may not be what we want. I would hope that it is what’s best.

ASHLEY: We are living through historically significant times. This is going to be in history textbooks. This is something our grandchildren’s grandchildren will learn about. I guess when I think about what’s going to be written in the history books and what each of our individual actions were, I don’t want to hear about, we spent our time fighting each other on Facebook instead of galvanizing as a community. Because the great thing about being in the same boat is that we’re all headed in the same direction, and it’s up to us to cooperate to steer this boat into whatever this looks like. This is going to have a lasting, permanent effect on our industry, on our society, on how we interact with each other interpersonally, forever. So it’s really hard to say where we’re headed because we’re in the middle of it. And right now we’re just focused on survival, and having a roof over our heads, and not giving each other this virus. I’m almost getting emotional thinking about it because this is very historically significant, and I guess, think about what you would want written in the history books about you, and really use that as your guiding principle, or I guess that’s what I’m going to use as mine.

JAIME: And let me acknowledge the privilege.

ASHLEY: Yeah.

JAIME: The privilege of being in this position and having different resources, different experiences, to cope, knowing that my experience is not the same as others, and realizing that the inequities that existed in our society before this happened are amplified, so much so that I would hope that we’d come out of this with more empathy for each other.

ASHLEY: Absolutely. I 100% acknowledge my privilege in the fact that I have a bit of a nest egg, and I come from a dual income household, and that is not everybody’s experience. I will be the first one to admit and defend others who have had to make much harder decisions than I have to keep their, themselves and their families afloat. And I think that’s where we really need to get together as an industry and just support each other because I don’t know what it’s going to take to unite our country because we are so divided. I thought this might be it but if you’ve been on social media for even one moment, you realize that that’s not the case. So yeah, I don’t, I don’t get on my soap box here to make anybody feel bad or divide anybody even more than they already are. I just think that there’s a clear right and wrong here as far as protecting your safety, your health, and that of your clients. And even though they’re going to entice you with wanting you to do services off the book or whatever, you have to protect yourself. You have to protect your livelihood. You have to protect your license. It’s almost kind of a good thing that these decisions have been made for us by our government, and you can feel however you want to feel about that. But if we have each other’s best interests at heart, and I don’t even think that doing services on, in a sneaky way right now, is even a discussion. So I don’t know. Where do we go from here?

JAIME: I appreciate that you mentioned the lack of control that comes when those of us who were planning on closing but had not yet been ordered to. When the decision is taken away from you, it’s like a sigh of relief that comes because you realize that because that part of that is beyond your control, the only thing that’s left for you to do, even though it’s a huge thing, I understand, it’s a big ask, is to comply. 

ASHLEY: It’s a huge ask because you’re asking people to essentially put themselves well into the hole financially, and that’s a decision that is harder for some than others.

JAIME: Where do we go from here? I hope we come together. I have seen so much focus on the restaurant industry and how they’re being hard hit. I’m asking myself, are you kidding me? They can at least do takeout. They can do delivery. We can’t do any of that. We are completely shut down. It’s not even comparable except that the restaurant industry has a much stronger presence as far as lobbying goes and getting the attention of government officials at both the federal and state levels. They can make their case because they’ve been able to do it for years. We’re not in the same position. So perhaps that may be something that is good that comes out of this is that we finally realize that we’re all facing the same threat to our livelihood, and we can respond in a more unified way, even as we each have our own individual story to tell.

ASHLEY: Absolutely. I think part of having a government-issued license to do this profession is having to abide by the government’s rules and standards, and this is one of them. You know, in the licensing conversation we can get into again in a future episode and we spoke a little bit about in our deregulation episode. I wish I had more of a, like a book end, or a bow to tie around this topic. It’s, unfortunately, it’s open ended, so I want to end on a positive note. And it’s kind of difficult because there isn’t a lot of positive news right now. I think focusing though on what is happening that is good and a net positive are some of the grants that are, that are happening. I know CND, L’Oreal, and others have stepped up to offer some kind of relief to beauty professionals. Definitely something to look into. As well as, I think just the community that’s forming where we all know what everyone else in our industry is going through because we’re experiencing it ourselves, and this might be the first time as an industry that we have a common experience.

JAIME: I would wholeheartedly agree with that. And as we encourage beauty professionals to communicate with their clients and with their landlords, we also ask that you communicate with us because we want to address your concerns. So please send us your questions to outgrowthpodcast@gmail.com.

ASHLEY: Yes, definitely. And you can always connect with us at @outgrowthpodcast or outgrowthpod on all social media. There’s a lot of conversation happening on our Instagram and that’s kind of our primary method of communication. You can also like and follow us on Facebook. We share a lot of information through those social media channels as well as in our show notes. You can always connect with us and read some of the resources we speak about there. And then the biggest thing you can do for us is to subscribe to the podcast, and rate, and review Outgrowth on your favorite platform because it helps us reach more listeners like you. And it really does help get the word out about Outgrowth and hopefully, put it in front of more beauty professionals who need to connect, and learn, and find a new beauty professional community.

JAIME: Your support does not require that you fill out a form and it does not cost you a thing.

ASHLEY: Exactly. So yeah, we want to hear from you. Please let us know other topics you’d like to hear about and you can always send in questions to outgrowthpodcasts@gmail.com. 

JAIME: Until next time, Ashley.

ASHLEY: Alright. Thanks, Jaime. Take care.

JAIME: Be safe.

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