JAIME: Welcome to Outgrowth: A Slice of Pro Beauty with your hosts Jaime Schrabeck.
ASHLEY: And Ashley Gregory.
JAIME: As different parts of the country experience the coronavirus pandemic, the response of the beauty community to being closed has been vocal, but not unified.
ASHLEY: From petitions and protests, to partitions and PPE, what impact will our words and actions make? Let’s grow together.
ASHLEY: Well, Jaime, we have a lot to talk about this week.
JAIME: We certainly do. And as we were formulating this episode, it just seems like more and more information was coming out and I think it’s because people are very anxious about their futures and what normal might look like when we’re not facing the eminent threat of the coronavirus.
ASHLEY: It seems like I say every week that we have a lot to talk about, or there’s a lot going on, but it really is true. As the week progresses, there’s something new to focus on. There’s a new happening. There’s a new piece of information in the news that draws our attention as a beauty industry. And this week it seems like everyone has really caught on to, and is interested in, creating and signing a petition online.
JAIME: And these petitions aren’t really any different from other petitions. They’re being done through organizations like change.org or MoveOn that do outreach. And the only difference, I would say, is that people are actually paying attention, except that this is not the moment nor the process that will accomplish the goal of opening up salons.
ASHLEY: I think the draw of a petition is to make you feel like you’re taking some type of action or that there’s some sort of control that you’re exercising over the situation by signing your name to something and petitions have their place for sure but, I wonder in this case if, the petition itself is really the tool by which we’re going to take the next step. What I mean by that is signing your name to something, first of all, is very low stakes. There’s a lot of these online petitions. They either reach their goal or they don’t. You sign your name to it and you really never see it again, or in some cases, you never think about it again. I wonder here why the petition is such a tantalizing draw, especially for members of our industry because I could maybe count on one hand the amount of times a petition actually did something. How about you?
JAIME: Could it be that our industry is hyper-focused on what’s happening in their own states, but instead of watching the briefings that are being presented by their governors and health experts, they think this is what’s going to get them back to whatever place they feel they’re missing, and we’re all missing that place. There are very few salons that aren’t closed. They’re limited to those states where there aren’t shelter in place orders, and that’s a very few number of states. So you have something that we’re all experiencing, almost all, experiencing simultaneously. And the reaction to this is very telling. And so when you see these petitions and they’re done state by state, and some of them are targeted even more narrowly to a particular city, we don’t even know who’s signing these things. You’re talking about low stakes. Essentially, you’re just saying that you agree with the author says, and you may not even agree with everything, but hey, in general, I agree with that I want to be back at work. So my thinking is, is that these petitions don’t really accomplish much other than to demonstrate that there are a lot of people who want to get back to work, and there are a lot of consumers who want to be able to receive beauty services again.
ASHLEY: That’s the beauty of an anonymous online petition is that you can use it however you want. The part to me that’s so interesting is being shared alongside a lot of these petitions, I’m seeing on social media posts and Facebook posts and things like that, is a photo circulating from what the caption says is the 1918 flu pandemic and the fact that there were barbers cutting hair or doing barber services in open air wearing masks. Now I haven’t taken the time to look into the veracity of that photo or the source of it, but you can take any photo, put it in black and white, make it look like it’s old timey and say it’s whatever you want. I know that we’ve talked about this previously, but I think it’s very important, especially right now, to consider the source of this information. Consider the source when it comes to someone saying it’s safe to go back to work. We should only have high risk people continue to self isolate and we should do this one at a time thing. A lot of the people that are beating this drum are people that have something to sell you or something to materially gain by you getting back to work. I can only take that perspective with a grain of salt right now because you don’t have my best interest at heart. You just want to continue to make money off of me working. Part of it just really makes me wonder what are the motivations? And I can’t honestly vouch for the safety of one at a time. I don’t care if you’re seeing one person at a time or a hundred people at a time, there’s still risk involved.
JAIME: That these petitions are positioned as one client at a time or a soft opening, we’re not in any position to dictate what that looks like and despite what the content of these petitions are, we are not experts in health and safety. We took a very minimal training to qualify for our licensure exams. We are in no way the health experts. In fact, most of us, speaking for the industry as a whole, we’re not even adhering to the health and safety rules that were in place before the pandemic, and yet now you’re expecting legislators and consumers to trust? We haven’t earned that trust. We don’t deserve that trust. And some of the things that are being asked for within the petitions are things that we should have been doing by law even before, so what’s different? How much more are you willing to do to make sure that you’re safe and your clients are safe? We’ve not answered that question yet, nor have we really had the opportunity to get the attention of our public officials, and not because we need to open right away but because, we need to answer these questions before we even talk about an opening date.
ASHLEY: Thank you. Exactly. That’s why one at a time doesn’t really make a lot of sense to me because you’re the common denominator and for a client to come into you and be the only one in your salon space. You’re still going to be there the whole day. You’re still going to be the one seeing the clients, touching the clients, interacting with them well inside of the bubble of social distancing. So when it comes time for someone to catch this virus, what’s going to stop them from saying, well, I got it from my barber. I got it from my nail technician. Because you were open and you decided that your bottom line was more important than any of these other things. And I really want to take this one in at a time, or one at a time thing and break it down because in this scenario, we know that with COVID-19 you can be shedding this virus and be very contagious and be 100% asymptomatic, meaning that you have no indication at all that you are sick. No fever, no chills, no tiredness, no dry cough, none of that to show that you are potentially ill with this virus. You book an appointment with me as your nail technician and you come in. You’re the third client I see that day. So clients one and two, potentially, would be safe for that day coming to see me provided I did all the immense amounts of disinfection that I was purporting to do based on my back to work plan. I’m doing everything I’m supposed to be doing. I’m wearing a mask. I’m wearing all of my PPE. My clients are doing that as well. But my third client for the day comes in, touches her phone, and then I touch her hands, and I inadvertently touch my face. Okay, now I have it. And now clients four through eight for the rest of that day are going to potentially be exposed, or they touched a surface that I didn’t even think to disinfect. There’s just so many potential variables and so even though you take it down to one person at a time, there is still a cumulative effect. And that’s the thing I don’t think any of these petitions have spoken to. That you can try to control as much of your environment as you possibly can and be vigilant, and I know we’re going to be talking in the future to someone who is a liability insurance expert, but I can’t even imagine that if something like that were to happen, that your liability insurance would touch you with a 10 foot pole, or a six foot pole in this case.
JAIME: I have to make a comment about your photograph of barbers working on the streets, supposedly in 1918, because I, don’t expect me to be an expert on barber lore but, I believe at one time, weren’t barbers responsible for dental care?
ASHLEY: You’re right. It’s interesting to use something that happened a hundred years ago as precedent when it’s convenient, when it supports your argument, but then you look at flattening the curve and these are the things that we were told when this whole social distancing thing started is that, just when it looks like it’s working, that’s the moment when everyone’s going to tell you it’s time to go back to work. It worked. It’s over. We’re happy. The thing that people who use the 1918 flu pandemic, what’s inconvenient for them or what they may be purposefully exclude, is that there was a second wave of this pandemic and it’s because once it started to subside, everybody relaxed, and there was a second wave, and it killed more people than the first time. So to use the 1918 flu pandemic which, honestly, was likely the reason the first world war ended, it was that big of a deal because everyone was dying of this flu. It’s so weird to take things from this pandemic and apply them to us now when it’s convenient for you, like, oh, well, when this flu happened, A, B, and C happened. This is not the flu. There’s just so many different inconsistencies and incongruities where it’s just funny to me to see pseudoscience and facts and little pieces stitched together into this quilt of bad information is being used to support these arguments, like, please just let me go back to work because I found this one thing on Wikipedia that sort of supports my argument. Then to say, to stand on that leg and also say that because I’ve been trained on the basics of cleaning, disinfection, and sterilization, I’m a much more responsible citizen and know exactly what it takes to keep my clients safe. If you actually did know that, you would know that there’s no way for us to do our jobs and also continue to be socially distant.
JAIME: The use of information makes me reluctant to even commit things to writing at this point, because I’ve seen how, for example, the information that Barbicide made available has already been misused as if Barbicide, and by extension, Leslie Roste, who has been so graciously generous with her information, particularly with us, has been used to promote this as if they’re endorsing opening now and absolutely not. That is not the position. The position is when the government makes that decision based on the science and we’re able to go back to work, these are the precautions. These are the actions. This is the cleaning that we should be doing, and then beyond that, we should consider doing, if not obligated to by some new regulations. This is what it will look like, likely when we get back into our salon setting. But not, hey, if we do these things, we get to open up right now. That’s absolutely not what Barbicide intended, and so to see some of these petitions reference Barbicide, and I use this as an example because it’s the first one I came across, and it may be happening to other companies who produce these kinds of products, disinfectant solutions and such, but that Barbicide is such a well known one that consumers could relate to it, I think, makes that even more egregious that this information, it’s not that Barbicide has bad information, quite the contrary. But that their information and that their brand is being used in this way is pretty disturbing.
ASHLEY: Yeah. It is disturbing. It’s troubling and it’s disheartening too, to see the agendas that are coming forward, and the way that little pieces and factoids and parts of information are being stitched together to create this justification for beginning to work before we know it’s safe. No one knows what’s going to happen and even the scientists that are working on this are using and basing it off of models. We’re basing it off of history. We’re basing it off of how we know specific viruses to act. The virus doesn’t care. The virus doesn’t care that you went online and got certified to do something. The virus doesn’t care that you have a state issued license and that you clicked through a multiple choice test 20 years ago to give you this piece of paper. And so I just find it very arrogant to think that we know better than some of the most base forces on our planet. I understand that we need to get back to work. Believe me, I absolutely need to get back to work, but it seems like the bravado and the arrogance of coming at this from, well, I’ve got a $1,200 check in my pocket. I’m feeling fine. I’ve sat at home for two weeks and now it’s time to move on. I think that this is really, honestly, the most dangerous point in time that we’ve been in in a very long time.
JAIME: It’s as if we’re all serving our own individual quarantines and we feel like, well, I’ve done my time. I’m checking my calendar. It’s been X number of weeks, moving on, and that’s not the way that any of this works. And I’m so glad that you brought up a point about the certificates because certificates, as we will likely talk about in a later episode, certificates really don’t mean anything when we’re talking about reviewing some material and taking a quick little quiz and having something printed out. That’s not anything that really we can stand on. I think it might be used, in fact, perhaps not intentionally, but it could perhaps give consumers and your own clients a false sense of security. If you get some sort of piece of paper to display that doesn’t have any meaning, it’s just something to point to and you can point to it, but this doesn’t mean that you’re actually taking those actions that that certificate would indicate that you know to take. It’s the difference between knowing what to do and actually doing it.
ASHLEY: Yes. I love this, and I love when we talk about certificates because I can just, I can even picture your face right now as you’re saying it. For taking an online class or, and we’re not just speaking about certification for disinfection, but certification really for anything. It’s not worth much more than the piece of paper it’s written on if it doesn’t make its way into your knowledge, into your practices, into your daily life, into your routine. I can buy one square foot of property in Scotland online and I can become nobility for having that one square foot of land in Scotland. And the certificate will come to my home calling me Lady Ashley Gregory Hackett of Humboldt Park because I spent the $75 to do it. I’m very tempted. I think the novelty of that would be outstanding. And you can have your passport changed so that you can get in to, you know, all the hottest clubs and whatever, but it doesn’t mean anything. It doesn’t mean I actually have anything beyond the piece of paper. It’s interesting to see who is taking these actions, how they feel justified. I don’t have a crystal ball. I’m not a fortune teller, but I do believe that this is going to come back and bite us in the you know where in the future and in the very near future too, because a lot of the information that’s being circulated right now, it’s just not factually accurate. And if so, you’re going to be basing business decisions that could have potential life or death consequences on things you’re reading on Facebook. I don’t know if I can help you.
JAIME: And that this information is being circulated means that your clients are seeing it and they’re seeing what you’re doing online and potential clients are seeing it also, well, and your competitors too. I don’t think people have really taken into account that it’s not just the state boards that can take action. Just yesterday, I was listening to a virtual town hall that featured our local county supervisor because I live in an area where we have small cities with their own mayors, but then we have the county supervisors who have much more leadership and impact on our daily lives. And they had a really nice array of county officials on there but the person I was most interested in hearing from was our district attorney, and she made it quite clear that her two priorities right now are going after individuals who are price gouging on products that have become in short supply. And then the other thing was pursuing businesses and individuals who are violating the shelter in place orders by operating their businesses when they’re considered nonessential.
JAIME: She even called out that it’s unfair competition to those who comply. And I felt like, amen. Finally, someone speaks truth because this is exactly what it has been, is now, and always will be when you have businesses that comply, whether it’s with health and safety regulations, or labor law, or tax law, they’re are always going to be at a competitive, and by that I mean a financial, disadvantage to businesses who don’t care.
ASHLEY: I want to write her a love letter. Can we embroider that on a sampler and put it on a tee shirt? I mean, compliance is not sexy, but it is required. Thus the name.
JAIME: I think what we’re seeing that is most frustrating, those that are doing the right thing being punished.
ASHLEY: This is that to, honestly, the highest degree, because those who have done their civic duty by social isolating. They’ve taken the proper precautions. They’ve listened. They’re not throwing parties. They’re going to the grocery store only when needed. They’re limiting interaction with people outside of their home unit. They’re not going to the park. They’re not jogging past people and coughing on them. Those are the ones who have and will bear the burden of this because of the people who either believe they’re above the law, they’re above the laws of nature, and that they can just do whatever they want because most of the world is doing what they should be doing. Those of us who are compliant are carrying that burden for the people who aren’t. And I can see us getting itchy. I can see us, based on my scanning on social media and based on just interactions I’m in with other beauty industry professionals and things, I happen to see your head, my radar. I can see it starting, and the itchiness is going to get scratched. And the way it’s going to get scratched is by doing something noncompliant. And I guess, if you would be noncompliant about this, what in your business would you be compliant about? So if this weren’t happening, are you actually taking the time to reset your pedicure station correctly? Are you actually taking the time to pull the hair out of that round brush, or are you just like, eh, it can’t happen to me, so the rules don’t apply?
JAIME: Suck it up and get over yourselves. Those of us who have been under this the longest have the most right to be antsy and frustrated. And yet when, if we were to believe the polls of the American people, or even state by state, where we see that we’re having an impact, where we’re actually accomplishing the goal of slowing the spread of the virus, we’re not excited to get back to work. We’re only interested in doing that when we know it’s safe because what will happen is, if we all rush to go back, I can envision it now. Suddenly we’re able to open our businesses again and clients should they have the resources and have decided that, yes, that’s how they want to spend their money is to come back and get professional beauty services. That would be wonderful. However, if we see that the numbers instead of declining start increasing again, we have just demonstrated what most people fear is that we’re just not safe enough. Not only are we not essential, but even with all of the additional promises of cleanliness and perhaps some new regulation, it’s not safe.
ASHLEY: No, it’s not.
JAIME: We’re all struggling to a certain extent, but I think the more that we have this experience of, well, we didn’t get reopened when we said we were going to get reopened, and they keep extending the orders, and you know what? I didn’t get my $600 from the federal government when they said, or the $1,200, and the unemployment hasn’t come through, and gosh darn, I got in line for that payroll protection program and that didn’t come through either. I think the more these kinds of things happen to us, if that makes you feel entitled to open up, like somehow, these things haven’t gone my way, so I’m justified in doing what I have to do. That’s going to cost us. And it’s going to cost us not just as individuals, but collectively as an industry.
ASHLEY: These petitions have really taken the place of any kind of lobbying power that our industry has, or had, because we don’t really have the ability as beauty professionals to speak directly to government agencies on a large scale, and some of the industry associations that are out there are part of the beauty industry, but the individual beauty service providers are not their membership or their focus. Now, it may seem like it is, but if you actually go in and search the bylaws and what their mission statement is, you’ll see that the person behind the chair is rarely the focus of those efforts. If we feel so impotent to be able to create any kind of change that a petition on change.org is our only course of action, maybe that means we need to start looking at who’s serving our interests going forward and how we can come together as an industry to make our numbers really count.
JAIME: Where’s the petition in which someone volunteers to be one of those people who’s expendable? Can we nominate individuals that we feel are worthy?
ASHLEY: Oh, I believe we can nominate individuals off the air. I keep waiting for the purge siren to start. But to your point, that has been my response to anyone saying, let’s reopen. Let’s shelter the people who are most likely to catch this and back to business as usual. I just want to say to them, you first, you first. We’ll watch, we’ll see how it goes for you. Yeah, that there’s your soft opening.
JAIME: Well, and it’s not lost on me that those most likely to be vulnerable are those that are the most vulnerable in society anyway. It’s older people. It’s people who have chronic health conditions, who don’t have adequate health care, who are individuals who live in places that have crappy air and bad water, and who are people of color or living in poverty or whose immigration status isn’t documented.
ASHLEY: Well, there’s no coincidence, based on the fact that reporting was coming out and widely shared that the most affected by this are generally people of color. And the petitions to go back to work, they came out at the same time and there is definitely a correlation there. And, and I don’t know if we want to really take a hard look at ourselves as a society, but we find that most of those populations are essential workers, given whatever essential means to the government right now. This just brings up the inequalities in our nation, in our systems that we have to address as a country moving forward and that’s a topic for a different time, but it’s not a coincidence. It really is not a coincidence. And to have that knowledge in your brain and know that those populations are adversely affected, and then still want to go back to work and provide a beauty service, I don’t know. I find that to be kinda gross. I think it’s reaching, we’re all reaching our breaking point when it comes to just being able to have any kind of civil discourse, but also we don’t really know who to listen to and who to trust. And that is where I think part of this itchiness comes from, of I can’t sit at home anymore. I can’t look at Facebook anymore. I can’t pretend that this information is right anymore, so I just need to get back to work. And, you know, damn the torpedoes, we’re going to do it.
JAIME: So while everyone is stressing out about their money, can you explain to me why, when we have really no clear idea other than at some point in the future,and we’re all hoping it’s sooner rather than later, as we often hear people say, why are people spending money on partitions and PPE and other things like that that you probably might need, who knows within the next couple of weeks to pay your rent or buy groceries, why are we doing this now? Why is this happening?
ASHLEY: I honestly don’t know. I’ve actually been served Facebook and Instagram ads about putting up a partition because as soon as they did it in the grocery stores, I think a lot of entrepreneurs, we’ll call them, saw an opportunity, not to say that everyone who’s doing this is predatory. I think there’s a lot of good intentions with these partitions but, first of all, I tried to research the efficacy of these plexiglass partitions, whether they hang from the ceiling or they’re bolted to your desk. And the partitions I think are more geared towards the nail audience because I can’t even imagine how a partition would work for a hair artist, an esthetician, et cetera, unless you’re going to take your comforter out of its bag and put it over your head, like I’ve seen, which is, it’s hilarious. It’s a hilarious photo if you happen to see it. We know that this virus is spread through respiratory droplets. We take our cues from the medical field and the clear plastic face masks that are being used to protect doctors and nurses from respiratory droplets. From my understanding, again, knowing I am not a medical professional, respiratory droplets are droplets that are expelled from one person who is sick through their mouth or nose, sneezing, coughing, et cetera, and if it makes contact with your mucus membranes, so your eyes, your lips, your nose, your mouth, whatever it gets into your body, then you have now become infected. What these partitions are, I guess, designed to do is to mitigate that risk. So when they put them up in grocery stores, it wasn’t to create a zone of safety that is impenetrable. It was really meant to keep people from sneezing or coughing directly into the cashiers’ faces. If you want to follow this analogy with me, if you’re going to put one of those up on your nail table, you are essentially saying, I am the salad in the salad bar. This is my sneeze guard and that’s somehow going to magically keep these respiratory droplets from getting over or under. But then to add another fun little layer is they’re going to put their hands through this partition to be worked on. And if you’re wearing gloves and a mask, you think that that’s going to keep that from spreading. But they still have to open the door to get inside. They still have to touch the chair to sit down. They still have to touch their phone and put their phone everywhere, et cetera. I think that it’s a bandaid for a bullet wound, and I am dying to know what you think about it, Jaime, because I think they look goofy. I think that they’re an eyesore, but I also don’t think they’re going to do anything.
JAIME: Do medical professionals still warn people about putting plastic bags over our heads? Just asking.
ASHLEY: I don’t know. I don’t know. I think that it’s printed on the bag itself now.
JAIME: Maybe if there were some ventilation holes in the back, like so that it wouldn’t suffocate. In all of this, this is something that I still can’t get over. If we’re talking about PPE and turning over all of this, whether it’s linens or towels or whatever, we’re going to be doing so much more laundry. We’re going to be throwing out so much more paper product. It’s gonna be ridiculous. There’s gonna be no conversation about whether or not we’re being eco-friendly. I can’t wait for the eco-friendly version of any of these things comes out because again, what are you investing in? If you’re buying masks right now, what kind of masks are you buying? You mean the mass that really should be going to medical professionals right now, and first responders? How dare you hoard those things right now. Or do you think you’re going to get away with just wearing something that’s cloth that perhaps you’re making or trying to sell to your clients? I don’t think that’s going to fly. We don’t know the answer to that question. While we are in a position to talk about what might happen, I’m really surprised to already be reading statements like, well, if that’s what it’s going to take to keep doing my services, I’m not doing that.
JAIME: Yes, I’ve already seen that. So that’s why I think about this question. You know, what is it that we’re willing to do? How far are we willing to go? Whether it’s we’re willing to get vaccinations, which again, a loaded topic, vaccinations. Whether we’re willing to get tested on a regular basis so that we can demonstrate that we are not positive for coronavirus. Whether we’re willing and able to rip out, for example, all the carpeting out of our salons and creating spaces where cleaning is much easier to accomplish. Not that we’re doing the cleaning necessarily, but it looks better if you’ve got hard surfaces. They would be easier to clean. But I could go on and on about all the different types of things that we might be asked to do. And here’s where I think it gets critical and that is, we either volunteer to do these things or we’re going to be asked to do these things, and well, by ask, I mean, we’re going to be required to by regulators. And normally this would take a long time to get these sort of rules in place. But as you see, governors have a lot of power as do local health officials to dictate the terms of our lives. So with the governors say, yes, we’ll allow you to reopen, however, under these circumstances only may you operate. You’ve just provided these requirements now for the entire industry, and this is what’ll be required without any public comment, without any opportunity to have any influence. You can forget about the petitions.
ASHLEY: We are the governors of our own businesses, but it doesn’t give us license to do anything that would negate or counteract what we’ve been directed to do by our government. I think a lot of this PPE discussion and well, I’ll go back to work and we’ll all just wear masks. It’s like, okay. Let’s run that up the flagpole and you tell me where are the masks coming from that you’re going to be requiring your clients to wear. Because if you really are taking that seriously, you would have to provide the masks to your clients because if they come in with something that may or may not be effective, are you then going to have to determine the age of the filter in their N95 mask? Are you going to fit somebody for one? If you have them to begin with, they should be donated to a hospital or used for when you’re doing essential things like go into the grocery store, buying gas, et cetera. So don’t even get me started on that. If you’re just assuming you’re going to be able to order and procure these things when you’re ready to go back to work in, I don’t know, 15-20 days, there’s a lot of questions. And that’s been a running theme throughout these weeks of our episodes, but most of the questions are, where are you getting this equipment? One. If it’s available now, I think it might be of dubious origin or efficacy. Two and three, when it comes to how that client interaction works, I think a lot of us are going to have to swallow our pride and understand that our clients are much more knowledgeable now about disinfection, sanitation, and what they should expect. The client who did not question the fact that you used a used nail file on them, or the client that didn’t say anything when you dropped their comb on the floor, picked it up, and continued to use it is very likely, absolutely going to be someone who’s going to question it now. And so for those people saying, well, if that’s what it takes, I’m not doing it, I sincerely hope those clients vote with their wallets and say, then it’s not worth it to me. I don’t know if that’s going to happen because I think if someone’s trying to get beauty services right now, they don’t necessarily understand the scope of this, or don’t care. But the liability issue here is something that every single beauty professional needs to take stock of and understand and know what you’re going to tolerate as far as risk. What is an acceptable level of risk for you? And if you have liability insurance, what they would even begin to cover for you. So if you’re taking this risk upon yourself and you’re a sole proprietor, are you willing to lose your house, and your car, and your savings over this? Because that’s what you’re doing is you’re risking those things.
JAIME: If not your life.
ASHLEY: Well, and that’s, that goes without saying, but yes, thank you for saying it. And your life and whatever you bring home to your family. There’s a cost benefit analysis that I think a lot of us have not done, especially those of us who want to sign a petition and get loud on Facebook about. And that cost benefit analysis is, what is it worth to you to potentially lose everything.
JAIME: We’ve talked before about pricing services. Beauty professionals that are planning on offering discounts while having to extend the time of their services and space the services so that they can clean in between and then adding on the costs of all this additional PPE that they may have to provide for themselves and to their clients. That blows my mind. I don’t think people have done the math to understand what this is going to look like.
ASHLEY: If you were to draw a Venn diagram of those people who got upset at me for saying I’m raising my prices after this is over, and those who haven’t factored in the cost of doing business now with all these additional supplies, and the fact that everything’s going to take longer, therefore your service times will be longer. Therefore, you will be able to see fewer clients a day, meaning in order to make the same amount of money that you’re used to. What is the only thing that you can affect in that equation? It’s your price. I have a sneaking suspicion those are the beauty professionals who haven’t done the math yet. Not to harp on it, but you and I are both big proponents of actually figuring out your cost of service in order to determine your pricing and not just going to the nearest Facebook group and asking, how much do y’all charge for this? I just wonder if we’re being very reactive as an industry and just responding to the stimulus in front of us saying, here’s a petition, sign it, because we haven’t looked far enough down the road or don’t know what’s going to happen to be able to build a likely scenario and figure out what all the moving parts are for our own businesses. And maybe that’s something we focus on in the future, find a way to create a tool for is, what’s it going to cost you to outfit yourself, your clients, your staff with PPE to feel good enough about doing your job safely and keeping your clients safe? And if you do have a staff, what happens if they don’t believe the level of PPE is high enough? They don’t like the masks you’re providing. They’re not going to work because you don’t have the right tools. Are you going to fire them? Like how does that work? What does that look like? There’s so many scenarios that we need to actually run through to the end and figure out. I doubt those who have signed a petition have really thought about it. And if they have, I’m not sure where they’re getting their figures cause it’s going to be very expensive.
JAIME: When we take action, if we’re reactive and we’re responding to circumstances, it could still be the wrong thing because it could be a reaction to bad information. It could be based out of fear rather than logic. It could be all different types of things. It could be too late, and yet when we’re encouraging people to take action and they’re proactive, I think what we’re seeing now is that even those actions are based on bad information. They’re done out of fear rather than logic and they’re too soon. So there’s something that needs to be done, and I think that we’re being told that the best thing that we can do is to do nothing is a very hard thing for people to absorb and to apply. And it’s not that we’re telling people not to do anything. It’s just don’t do these things. Don’t do those things that puts you in harm’s way, that force you into interactions with people in group settings. Those are some really obvious things, but being social like we are, I can understand that’s very difficult. And let me say this, Ashley, as we’ve been talking I’ve just received an email in response to a newsletter that I sent out yesterday showcasing our second episode with Leslie Roste, and I sent that to my mailing list. And this is something that I just received and I hope that you will feel good having read it, cause I certainly did just now. “Dear Jaime. Really appreciate your love of our industry, education and desire to keep us all informed during this time in the world and specifically our industry. This interview was very informative, educational, and addressed and confirmed some of the things I had already been thinking about doing in my salon. It also gave some encouragement to me. I was feeling with the social distancing, our industry will have a hard time surviving. Thank you so much for sharing.”
ASHLEY: That one got me right in the feelings.
ASHLEY: That’s very kind and whoever sent that, thank you. Because, honestly, right now I’m sitting in my closet in my bedroom with headphones on and a microphone with my laptop balanced on my knee. It’s hard to know because, Jaime, you and I are so aligned on our thinking, that I don’t want to be part of an endless feedback loop or an echo chamber wherein I say something and then everybody who agrees with me are the only ones who get through. It’s important to know that life isn’t what we’re seeing on social media. I think when it comes down to it, people are inherently good and just want to do the right thing and it’s very difficult right now to know what that is. But I think if we think about what our guiding principles are and why we’re in this business to begin with, it’s that we want to make people feel good about themselves. We want to make people feel better. We want to make people feel like their best versions of themselves. And so if going back to work right now helps you achieve that mission, I guess I would just question how that’s possible. And it makes me feel a lot better, and thank you for reading that email, to know that there are people out there who are finding this information useful. They’re finding this discussion between the two of us as maybe a beacon, that there is a little bit of hope for our industry. I think there’s absolutely a ton of hope. I think that our industry will come back even stronger than it was, just because we’ve demonstrated how much our services are worth by how many people have been climbing the walls, and cutting their own hair, and trying to make things work themselves. And they know just how talented, and skilled, and special you all are for being able to do that for them. So I feel like we end every one of these episodes saying, we don’t know what’s going to happen from week to week, but I do feel like each week we’ve made a little bit of progress towards chipping away at some of the uncertainty, and we are definitely all in this together. I cherish these recording sessions with you, Jaime, because I think it really helps me get a lot of my frustration and a lot of my uncertainty out and be able to talk about it and label it and feel better about it. So thank you.
JAIME: You’re welcome. I feel the same way. I’m recording at my salon where obviously it’s very quiet because I’m here alone. I’m in a building where there are businesses above my head, and if this were under normal circumstances, I might be complaining to my landlord about the noise coming from upstairs, but there’s no one upstairs now. I don’t think I’ll be able to record here in the future, unless we were doing it on a day off. But even now I’m thinking, oh, I kind of missed that sound because at least I know that something were happening and things were back to some sense of normalcy. I agree with you that we’ve all come to understand our role in society and our relationships to each other in a different way, whether it’s with our family, our friends, our business associates. This self-preservation that will kick in because we want to protect our lives, I think we’ll be stronger than that. And I am so grateful for individuals who are willing to literally sacrifice and put their own lives at risk, even though that might be their job. Because we can expect that of those that we usually call heroes: firefighters, police people, all of those, the military, I mean, I could go on and on but the fact that we are in a position to really appreciate all of the people that work and who have probably felt up to this point that they were not valued and that they were disposable. I sincerely hope that all of this will lead us to more empathy and a greater understanding of how we do play a role in society and we are so interdependent in a way that if we don’t take care of those of us who are most vulnerable, we will not survive, or that’s not the kind of society I want to live in.
ASHLEY: Me either. Along the lines of that very kind email, I want to read a lovely review that we received on Apple iTunes podcasts. Ready?
ASHLEY: It’s titled “Great information. Five stars. I really enjoy listening to you both. You have such great information. After 24 years in the industry, I still need to learn things and you guys make it easy. Your energy is great together.” And that is from user spatouch. And thank you so much for that. And I think that might do it for this episode. I don’t know if I can rant anymore.
JAIME: I think we can save it for another day because between now and then, many more examples of things that we feel we need to talk about will certainly rise to the level of our attention. But in the meanwhile, I hope that each of us is doing what it takes to take care of ourselves physically and mentally and that if we need help that we know that there are resources out there to get it. I am so impressed that people are embracing things that perhaps didn’t seem so feasible before, like telehealth, being able to interact with their doctors or other medical professionals, particularly in the mental health field, to deal with all of these things that aren’t so visible. Just like this coronavirus is not something that we actually see, nor is the impact on our individual mental health. And again, I just urge everyone to do what it takes to take care of that.
ASHLEY: Take care of yourselves. I hope everyone has a great week and you can of course leave a review for us on your favorite podcast platform. As always rate, review, and subscribe. That does help us reach more listeners like you. And you can also reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
JAIME: Thank you, Lady Ashley, for that.
ASHLEY: You’re welcome, Duchess Jaime. We will see you next week.