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Bridget Haren in her Ennis Salon.

Flood of appointments as Clare salons ride post-lockdown wave

AN Ennis hair and beauty salon expects to see 200 people in its first week back trading following a relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions across the country.
Monday saw the return of hairdressers and other personal services, alongside other measures including the phased reopening of retail and the resumption of religious services in churches.
Bridget Haren Hair and Beauty Salon on Woodquay opened at 9.30am on Monday to welcome its first clients in months, with staff on site since 8am busily preparing to ensure everything was in place.
Perspex screens, mask wearing and sanitiser is the new normal when it comes to getting a hair-cut.
Bridget told The Champion, “It’s going great so far, there’s a good buzz and everybody is really happy and delighted that Ennis is opening back up again.
“It’s great for everybody and next week we’ll have the retailers joining us in bringing a lot more atmosphere to the town.
“Everything is by appointments only and we have all our clients booked and our schedule mapped out so we know what we are doing and who is coming into the salon. We’ve painted and power-washed, everybody has done their bit.”
She admits that following the announcement less than two weeks ago that salons would be allowed reopen “it was a bit chaotic”, adding, “but we got there”.
“The appointments was the hardest thing to actually work through because there were so many people that wanted to get in and get their hair done.
“There were seven of us on the phone last Friday week trying to get everybody in, we even had to put up on social media that if a private number is calling it’s not a scam, it’s your hairdresser!”
The salon contacted those who had pre-booked appointments first, explaining, “we felt it was the fairest way to do it”, before contacting others on a waiting list.
Even though the hairdressers have been closed for five months, fortunately Bridget and her team didn’t see any home hairstyle disasters on their first day back.
“A lot of our clients didn’t even touch their hair, which was great to see. There are a lot of products out there to help camouflage the roots so it’s not like there isn’t the option there.
“Anybody who did go at their hair, we tried to help them and advise them on what to do. But a lot of people have opted to just tie their hair up or wear hair bands as they’re not in the office.”
Throughout the closure the stylists have been offering advice via social media, through online consultations and their online shop.
Saturday nights were spent on Instagram answering queries sent in by clients online, while they also got involved in the Come Find Us Clare campaign, a weekly fun treasure hunt.
“We used our time wisely, everybody in the team up-skilled with courses and we kept in touch with our clients.
“We love chatting to our clients and what we have been saying to them in preparing to come back is, if you have a picture of a new style that you would like to try, bring it in to us.
“Now is the time if you want to change your hair, you’ve got a bit of length to it. People have been very good, bringing in their pictures from Pinterest and Instagram.
“They’ve been loving that, and loving the online shop because they could still get all their products and then we were connecting with them through Instagram live to explain how they worked.”
She said they are expecting 200 clients to the salon this week, however in the interests of the health and safety of staff opening hours are being kept as normal as possible.
“We’re not going back into opening at six and seven in the morning. We have to think of our team as well.
“Coming out of the last lockdown we were exhausted after three weeks and we don’t want to go back to that.
“Obviously for the first couple of weeks there is going to be a bit more pressure and a bit more of a demand, but down the line what we want to do is try and keep everybody focused and healthy and not over-worked. Hairdressing is a very physical job so you have to look after yourself.”
She added her team are thrilled are to be back on the salon floor.
“It’s great to see the team buzzing and looking good and feeling good. They’re back doing their craft, which they have trained really hard for.”
Bridget has also seen a “huge influx” of new clients coming to the salon, with hopes that this will continue and the team will expand.
There are also four apprentices working as part of the new national hairdressing apprenticeship.
“We’re delighted they let us open and then retail will open next week. We’re all excited to get back out and shop local, and to try and get Ennis back on the map and up and running again.”

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