Unlock ’21 Delhi-NCR: Salons brimming with work, far from any profit
Heading back to office or meeting up friends are activities that are resuming occurrence in the daily calendars of many denizens, who are venturing out after having braved through the second wave. In this unlock phase, most of the owners of neighbourhood parlours apprise that though they are brimming with requests for appointments, but are barely able to break even since their expenditure has gone through the roof due to the Covid-19 situation.
“The parlour is for sure packed, but that doesn’t mean we are making profits,” says Shikha Ahuja, owner of a unisex salon by in Delhi’s Shalimar Bagh, adding, “Business has increased as customers are returning, but our expenses have increased, too. Now we have to use disposables and also arrange for regular sanitisation of the parlour. Also, we need to provide masks and face shields to our staff. All this does add to our cost of operating the business.”
But, staying safe comes at a price. And in case of parlours in the city, this price is being paid by the owners. “Our regular clients have returned. However, to carefully maintain all the safety precautions, we have had to increase our expenditure on buying protective gear,” says Pamela Singh, owner of a parlour in Gurugram. And Asha Bhatia, owner of a salon in south Delhi’s East of Kailash says, “Clients themselves insist on following all Covid-19 protocols and necessary precautions. So though they have started coming in again, but that only means that we have to provide so many more disposables, which don’t come for free! And then if we hint at increasing the cost of services then again it hurts our regular clientele. So it’s a tricky situation for us. As of now, we have to be and are being very particular about following all safety measures, and therefore are bound to operate even in absence of making profits. Because if we don’t have all protective gear in place beforehand, most clients won’t even agree to take any service!”
Delhiites confess that they are being careful about selecting which parlour to visit for grooming services, keeping in mind that the pandemic isn’t over yet. A south Delhi based homemaker, Surbhi Verma, shares, “I’ve resumed going to my regular beauty parlour, but I’m very careful. I only go there when I’m sure that they are taking proper precautions keeping in mind the Covid-19 norms. Like for instance, I ensure that the waxing gowns they are using are disposable, and also observe whether the staff is wearing N95 masks and face shields at all times or now. If I notice any lacks, I change gears and head elsewhere! It’s important to be careful because the second wave was very scary!”
Some salon owners have accepted this as reality and say that it’s better to be safe now, and make money later. “We are in a pandemic, and the fact that we have got work and don’t have to sit idle any longer is enough to keep us spirited,” says Suman Wani, owner of a make-up studio in Pitampura, adding, “I know these things such as masks, face shields, and PPE kits, charge extra but I’m bearing all the costs from my pocket and not charging my clients extra for these. I feel that these precautions are important for the health of my clients as well as for my staff. We are certainly functioning on a no profit no loss model as of now. Par abhi sab sahi raha toh paise aage jake kama lenge.”
Author tweets @anjuri