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Together Alone: Support and Guidance for Aveda Stylists and Salons

Classes featured, left to right: Kaleidoscope Color with Kaitlyn Valderrama; At-Home Scalp Care with Naomi Dove; How to Accessorize Long Hair with Bea Carmichael

The past few weeks have been filled with confusion, fear and uncertainty for stylists across the country.

But for Aveda stylists, it has also been a time to come together as a community. Whether they’re turning to a trusted source for unemployment information, gathering with peers for virtual education, or learning more about how they will soon be able to safely return to work, stylists in the Neill and Aveda network have been informed and educated every step of the way.

“I feel like we’re more connected than ever, even though we’re isolated,” says Cass Peña, an Aveda Purefessional™, Neill color educator and master stylist at K Charles Salons in San Antonio, Texas. “Seeing a friend pop up on a Facebook Live class makes me feel connected, and I’m seeing a lot more comments on posts instead of just likes. People are checking in—not just tapping and moving on.

“Neill and Aveda have done a great job facilitating all of these social media classes and events for us where we can chat, see our work being shared and watch artists from all over the world in their corner of quarantine—which makes us feel less alone,” Peña adds.

Source: Instagram highlight #AvedaFamily; @Aveda

Staying Focused and Positive

When Salon Azure and Spa in Knoxville, Tennessee, shut down on March 21, master stylist Stephanie Dickerson says the experience of filing for unemployment went smoothly for the team.

“The calls, newsletters and virtual meetings with Neill kept us all informed, so we were able to follow the right steps immediately,” she says.

“I feel very supported and have been able to relax and enjoy time with my children.”

Jade Madden, team lead at Ellie K Salon in Frisco, Texas, says her team has also felt encouraged and guided by Neill.

“They were checking in with us daily in the weeks leading up to shut down,” she says. “Any questions we have, they have the answers. The resources they are providing, especially the webinars, have been incredible and essential.”

This peace of mind has allowed stylists to focus on honing their skills—even when they’re not in the salon. With a plethora of free education options on social media and Aveda education platforms, there has never been more access to international artists and new content.

“We miss our craft,” says Peña. “And as a stylist and an educator, it has been a double whammy because I’ve also had to cancel classes I was going to teach. But the virtual trainings I’ve been doing for the Institutes have been filling my cup and giving me a sense of purpose. And the continued education I’ve been taking keeps my skills fresh.”

Peña has also been participating in the Aveda Artist i8 challenges to stay creative.

The accessibility of education and educators includes students at Aveda Institutes, who are continuing with online education.

Madden says, “Other schools have ghosted their students and are offering no education during this time. But Aveda Institutes have been providing virtual curriculum throughout.”

Dickerson says her peers who are booth renters are struggling and feeling alone as well. “They’re afraid,” she says. “They’ve had to continue to pay rent, and they’re not making income. I know some who’ve given up doing hair—it took just a month to lose their career. That’s why I’m so grateful for the guidance and community we have with Aveda.”

Though they’re not in the salon, communication with their teams has been ongoing for Peña, Madden and Dickerson, something they say is invaluable and comforting during the turmoil. But clients also need communication and regular contact with their stylists, so Neill and Aveda have provided content and verbiage for salons to share on social media.

“This allows us to still be engaged with them while we’re not behind the chair,” Peña says. “With the content we’ve been given, we can avoid being a dead Instagram channel.”

Reopening with Confidence

As some states begin the first phase of reopening, salons are turning once again to Aveda and Neill for guidance in safely opening their doors to their staff and clientele.

The team at Ellie K has been using these guidelines as a roadmap to reopening.

“We have a good idea of what it’s going to look like,” Madden says. “We’ll only have four stylists in the salon at a time, using every other station. With one manager, one intern and four clients, that will be 10 people total.”

The staff will all wear masks, and guests will receive disposable capes and towels (guests will also be asked to wear masks). And no client will be allowed in until the stylist’s previous client has left.

“Guests will stay in their cars, and then we’ll check them in with the Pocket Salon app and text them when the station/equipment has been sanitized and we’re ready for them,” Madden says.

Ellie K is also doing express color services to minimize the amount of time clients spend in the salon.

“This is just for established clients,” Madden says. “They’ll get their base color applied, and we’ll then wrap their hair in a towel wrap and set the timer on their phone.”

The guest removes the wrap and washes out the color at home after the timer goes off.

Madden says the Ellie K staff feels confident in their new safety standards and eager to return to work.

“Neill walked us through contactless checkout and entry, along with our other plans,” she says.

“Our clients know it’s not going to be like normal, but they cannot wait to get back into the salon.”

Peña says her clients fall into three categories. The first group is laid back and willing to patiently wait out the shutdown. The second is highly anxious to get back into the salon.

“Then there’s the group that wants to know all the safety measures we’re taking before they come back in,” Peña says.

Like Ellie K, K Charles has also been following the Neill’s guidelines, including reducing the amount of staff in the salon, and feels prepared. But with five locations, the company has taken some additional steps to ensure all their clients can receive services safely.

“We’re going to be working longer hours, more days per week,” Peña says. “We’ll be open six days per week instead of five, and we will no longer double or triple book.”

Checking in and out of the salon will happen outside, and Peña says they have discussed putting a hold on some of the services that take longer, instead focusing on express services.

At Salon Azure and Spa, Dickerson says they’re also preparing to run the salon differently than ever before, but with all the support they’ve received, they’re ready to face the future.

“I feel like I belong to a brand that cares about us and wants to make sure we’re ok,” she says.

To learn more about how Neill and Aveda are helping stylists, click here.

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