Interview with Samantha Grocutt, President of Hair and Beauty Charity

by | Jul 10, 2020

With thousands of hair, beauty and barber salons unable to work during the lockdown, British Beauty Council affiliate member, Hair & Beauty Charity have witnessed an unprecedented increase in requests for financial support during COVID-19.

The charity, which was first established in 1853, supports hair and beauty professionals who have been affected by illness, disability, bereavement, or financial hardship.
Samantha Grocutt, President of Hair & Beauty Charity, announced that during the current crisis they have seen a staggering 78% increase in requests for financial support.

Alongside working as President of Hair & Beauty Charity, Samantha is also Managing Director for Essence PR. We discussed life in lockdown, how Hair & Beauty Charity is coping during COVID-19, and Samantha’s advice for any beauty professional worried about their financial situation.

1.How are you coping with lockdown and what have you been doing to keep a healthy mind and body during this period?

It’s been a challenge, that’s for sure.  Working from home has been a new experience and I quickly realised early in that I needed to keep to a routine and set hours or I’d never get a work/life balance.  I start my day with HIIT exercise in my bedroom – PopSugar and Bodycoach are my go to.  Then I’m at my desk by 9.30am until around 5pm when I go for a daily walk with my husband.  I try to not talk work during this time and then when I get home spend another hour or two prepping for the next day.  I’ll also try to do a Facetime yoga session in the evening with my client Dr Nitasha Buldeo of IYogaaa – or a glass of wine or two depending on my mood! I’ve realised that exercising is key to keep me sane.

2.The Hair & Beauty Charity is a wonderful charity, it would be great to hear how you became involved with the organisation.

I was invited to a committee meeting about 12 years ago by my good friend Hellen Ward (of Richard Ward Hair & Metrospa).  We were working together, and she thought I’d find it interesting and could also perhaps help get the charity message out to more people.  I ended up getting more and more involved as the years progressed.  It’s such a unique charity and I love being a part of it and making a difference by giving back to such a supportive industry.  After a time as Vice-President, I was invited to be a Joint President in 2018 before my time this year as sole President.  2020 has most definitely been an experience and knowing that the charity was created in 1853 to help those in our industry who need financial help – never has it been need more than right now.

3.The Hair & Beauty Charity often holds fundraising events and activities to raise funds to support industry professionals. Sadly, due to the current crisis, many of these have been cancelled. How has the charity overcome this obstacle?

We were very, very fortunate to hold one of the last industry events early in March before lockdown happened and our annual fundraising ball raised almost £10K on the night, which was very well timed.  However, since then all our events and activities to raise money have been cancelled or postponed.  Not to be disheartened, I decided to set up a Relief Fund and aimed to raise £20,000 to help those in need.  We’ve had a great support from both companies and individuals and we’ve so far reached £30,000.  I’m hoping we can keep the fund going as we don’t know when we can start actual fundraising again.  We’ve had donations from £3 to £10,000 and we’re grateful for every penny.  People have just been donating from word of mouth, whilst some salons have been hosting educational webinars, one hairdresser even organised 2 live auctions during lockdown and raised £6,000.  Companies such as Salon Success donated £7,000 from their Paul Mitchell carrier bag sales, Kao Corporation gave a £5,000 donation this month, whilst the L’Oreal Professional group have been raising funds through their health and safety e-course by donating £1 for every course undertaken, which is helping not only raise much-needed money but awareness of the charity too.  It’s been wonderful to see the support from our industry.

4.What advice would you give to a hair or beauty professional who is concerned about their business’s financial situation due to COVID-19?

As a charity, we help people personally rather than businesses itself.  Our website is a great starting point for anyone considering help.  We even have a Coronovirus statement on the home page that helps explain how we can help. Someone recently asked me if it was a loan that we give, but it’s not.  We help people in need with financial support – whether that’s short term or long term.  During the crisis, we’ve had a mix of people contacting us who are salon owners, self employed or employees.  There’s a mix of needs from basic living expenses, to help whilst their undergoing medical treatment, even financial support for domestic abuse survivors – the requests  we normally receive haven’t stopped coming in, it’s just that it’s been exacerbated with COVID as there isn’t any money coming in at all for many of them.  Often people have fallen through the government support system and that’s why we’re needed so much at the moment.

To find out more information about the Hair & Beauty Charity, head to https://www.hairandbeautycharity.org/

And follow their updates on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

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