Beauty businesses in the UK have fought hard to reopen, and with a long-awaited date for beauty salons and spas to reopen set for the 1st of August, appointment books were filled and cash was invested in personal protective equipment and inventory. With less than 24 hours notice, the UK Government then told these businesses to push back their reopening date for at least another two weeks, and we can’t underestimate the huge impact this will have on the industry.
“I spent my last financial reserves on stock, investing nearly £2k in PPE and equipment required for reopening. Now, I don’t have any financial reserves and £5k worth of scheduled appointments had to be cancelled. Not only that; I’ve not been able to pay the rent on my premises, putting my business at risk of imminent eviction.” Rebecca Morey
The financial impact of this decision on the beauty industry has been disregarded by the same government that has shown huge support to other sectors. For example, the UK government’s “Eat out to help out” scheme contributes £500 million to 130,000 hospitality businesses; all of which are currently allowed to open their doors for business. This is great for our hospitality friends, but the beauty industry is feeling comparably neglected by a government whose male MPs can’t even use the word beautician without sniggering.
To level the playing field for the hand-tied beauty industry, £166 million would be a fair contribution considering the beauty industry is 33% of the size of hospitality. Currently, this option isn’t even on the table, and the pain is being felt by businesses having to cancel often up to 100% of their booked appointments.
“I was fully booked for face treatments for the week before the announcement on Friday. Now I’m completely dead for 2 weeks.” Shahrukh Shah
The Office Of National Statistics lists the number of hair and beauty businesses in the UK at 43,500. That only includes VAT and or PAYE registered businesses; the real number of salons and people that will be impacted is hugely underestimated because many of these businesses are sole operators.
“I’ve lost 95% of my business, if not more. Feeling so heartbroken. I’ve gone from being fully booked to having one client in this week.” Alexandra Carton
For example, the regional breakdown of this same report lists 80 beauty businesses in Cambridge, but a quick Google search shows us there’s more likely over 200; more than 100% more. Based on that, we can extend this for the whole industry and estimate that there are more than 100,000 beauty businesses in total.
Looking at a sample of 800 of our Timely beauty customers in the UK, there have been 15,000 cancellations at a total value of £450,000. If we were to multiply this out to 100,000 businesses, we could estimate more than £45 Million in lost revenue over these 2 weeks, which is a massive loss to the beauty industry and to these businesses that have worked so hard to stay afloat.
“I went from a full diary for 5 staff members to barely enough for one, and I’ve had to send staff home. We as an industry desperately need some help, like the meal vouchers for the restaurants to get people coming in again.” Paula Ewing, Optimum Beauty
Business owners and their employees in both the hair and beauty industries are hugely concerned for their financial viability over the next few months. The summer holiday season is usually quiet, and heading into the cold and flu season they’re bracing for a high rate of cancellations due to more people with COVID-19 symptoms.
“I’ve lost 50% of my income, plus income I would have had from renting a room to a lash technician because I can’t charge her if she can’t work.” Sarah Kirby
According to this Professional Beauty article, spending on beauty services in the UK reached £1.4 billion in 2018, with the beauty industry contributing £28.4 billion to the UK economy. Beauty is big business, and the UK government needs to stand up and do what’s right for beauty businesses that are suffering in the wake of COVID-19.