By Esther Durand, BVI News Staff
As the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis continues to take its toll on the global economy, at least two beauty shops in the British Virgin Islands are feeling the fallout.
Speaking to BVI News on Monday, prominent businesswoman Patsy Lake confirmed that business has slowed in that area.
She owns and operates a beauty salon and barbershop out of One Stop Mall in Road Town.
“It has been drastic. When we would normally do ‘X’ amount, and have ‘X’ numbers, we are not doing that. Like the beauty businesses and the barbershop businesses, it goes up and down. We will be swamped one day and then another day, barely nothing. We had to stagger hours,” Lake explained.
Widespread lay-offs mean fewer patronising beauty shops
She associates these changes with the widespread job-losses that have affected persons locally.
“A number of persons are still unemployed and there are a number of persons that are still underemployed. And, those are the people who would, of course, be turning over in businesses such as mine,” she explained.
However, Lake said she remains grateful despite the new sporadic nature of her business.
“All we could do is hold on. We have a lot to be thankful for, so the dollar will come in time. As long as we have health, the dollar will come, but if you don’t have the health, where are you? There is no hope. You look at a lot of the businesses in America, they are folding up like paper bags, so if my door could still stay open, I am thankful,” she said.
One client for the day
In the meantime, another beauty shop owner also said she, too, is seeing a smaller client base.
In an interview with our news centre at minutes after 5 pm on Monday, Kishma Bodkin of Kishma’s Braid Studios was servicing the only client she’s seen for the entire day.
“I still have my staff but it’s kind of difficult to take on more people. But still, people coming and do their hair. At least we are making ends meet but you ain’t really saving.”
Business good before COVID
She said she hasn’t reduced her staff hours as they understand and fully aware of the difficult period brought on by the COVID-19.
The full complement of her staff comprises one barber, a nail technician, and two hairdressers. Meanwhile, Bodkin said things were going well businesswise before the COVID-19.
“[Pre-pandemic], you would see a lot of people come. They would do their hair. There were places to go and things to do. But now everything is quiet and everybody watching their money. So sometimes in one month you would say “let me do four hairstyles”, now you would do one braid, something that can stretch you. But we have to do something, we have to survive still.”
Appeal to landlord
Despite the difficult times, Bodkin said she, too, is remaining positive.
“There are days you make and days you don’t make [money]. Right now I’m going to have to talk to my landlord to see if he could give me a little break on the rent. But I don’t know how that would go. If it don’t get better, it will force a lot of business to close down.”
BVI News spoke to a number of other business owners in the local beauty industry who opted to not comment on the state of their business due to the fear of being victimized.
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