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It has been one year since Nancy Pelosi had her hair done in a San Francisco salon and walked around maskless, violating California’s coronavirus regulations which mandated that salons be closed.

Unfortunately, Erica Kious had to close her business, eSalonSF. Kious had rented a chair to an independent hairdresser who did Pelosi’s hair, yet she got all the grief.

Kious has since joined forces with Heritage Action’s Save Our Paychecks Tour, intended to raise awareness of how coronavirus regulations have put small companies out of business. She spoke at their launch in Fresno on Tuesday, August 10:

Fox News reported on Kious’s talk (emphases mine):

“I thought if I ever lost my business, I would have lost it in an earthquake,” Kious said Tuesday at Heritage Action’s Save Our Paychecks Tour kick-off event in Fresno. Never did I ever think that I would have lost everything I worked for by leftist politics. Gone.”

Fox News obtained surveillance video last summer of Pelosi visiting the salon for a hair wash and blowout, despite local ordinances keeping salons closed amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Pelosi, D-Calif. later claimed she was “set up,” which Kious denied. 

“I never set her up. That was a lie. I’ve had cameras in there since I opened. I didn’t put them in there I didn’t turn them on. They’re on all the time,” said Kious, who noted she was traveling when she saw the video footage of Pelosi. 

The former owner said Pelosi was serviced by an independent stylist who rents chairs in her salon. Kious said she decided to share the now-viral security camera footage when she found the Speaker indoors without a mask in what she called a “hurtful” display of hypocrisy. 

“I went through the exact footage of her walking through my reception area with no mask,” Kious said Tuesday. “I literally felt like she took a knife and stabbed me in the stomach. … I know inside me what she did was wrong, completely wrong” …

At the time of the incident in 2020, Kious described the harassment she received:

“I started to just get a ton of phone calls, text messages, emails, all my Yelp reviews … saying that they hope I go under and that I fail,” Kious said at the time. “So just a lot of negativity towards my business.”

Tens of thousands of small businesses in California closed last year, with more closing in 2021:

Nearly 40,000 small businesses closed in California by September 2020, which was around the time of Pelosi’s visit, according to Heritage Action, a conservative grassroots organization. Thousands more have closed since.

The Western Journal reported that Kious now rents a chair in another hairdresser’s salon in Fresno:

Kious said she doesn’t plan to start another salon and now rents a chair from Bree Gentry, a Fresno salon owner, according to The Daily Signal.

Gentry said her own survival was uncertain.

“I’m proud to say that you have a space to stand in today because we also survived 2020, 2021, and we weren’t sure we were going to make it. It got a little shaky,” Gentry said.

How sad to have to move from San Francisco to Fresno with nothing because of left-wing harassment. At least Kious found steady work and is making a living for herself and her children:

Meanwhile, Nancy Pelosi is enjoying her stash of designer ice cream. I bet that Kious can only dream of affording such luxuries on a regular basis.

After a long winter lockdown that began on the evening of Saturday, December 19, 2020, England began reopening on Monday, April 12, 2021.

This was a bit like Groundhog Day. We saw the same scenes last June and July. The only difference was the weather:


Let’s get the serious business out of the way first, then we can have some fun.

Gyms were allowed to reopen their interiors to customers.

TalkRADIO broadcast from a pub in London on Monday morning and interviewed a gym owner from Surrey:

Barbers and hairdressers

While some rushed to the pub at midnight, others went to get their hair done:

Other customers waited until daylight:

It was the same further north:

Piers Morgan went to top-drawer stylist Daniel Galvin for his haircut:

Actor Daniel Brocklebank had a good Monday:

However, not everyone is in a rush to return for a Spring shearing. Some are enjoying the lockdown look:

Shops of the ‘non-essential’ variety

Department stores and other ‘non-essential’ shops were able to reopen.

Once again, it was a bright day for Primark. This was the scene in Birmingham’s Bullring in the city centre:

Unfortunately, for Debenhams, where financial troubles started before the coronavirus crisis, it was a bittersweet day:

I’d never thought they would close. That leaves John Lewis as the last nationwide chain of department stores. How sad.

One record shop customer had a therapeutic experience:

Charity shops were also allowed to reopen:

Thank goodness. I have a few donations to make — all wrapped up pre-COVID.

Pubs and restaurants

Pubs and restaurants were allowed to reopen outdoors.

In some places, such as London’s Soho, streets were closed to traffic in order to accommodate customers:

Pubgoers queued for a midnight opening. This was the scene in Coventry in the West Midlands:

In London, journalists from The Sun waited until their working day ended on Monday evening:

One wonders how many people used the paper’s Beer Matt as a beer mat:

Renowned historian and author Simon Sebag Montefiore enjoyed coffee in London:

At the end of the day …

London’s Evening Standard reported on Tuesday that the capital came ‘back with a bang’:

That’s great to see.

Best of luck to everyone in the retail, beauty, gym and hospitality industry! May this be the last doggone lockdown!

England is finally reopening during the latter stages of the coronavirus pandemic.

On Friday, I wrote about what’s coming up during the rest of July.

However, I did not have time to write about what happened at the beginning of the month.

Saturday, July 4, was called ‘Independence Day’ by the government and ‘Super Saturday’ by the media.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson made the announcement during the coronavirus briefing on July 3. The businesses concerned were already prepared:

Barbers and hairdressers reopened:

Restaurants, pubs and cinemas were also allowed to reopen that day.

This was the scene in Camden (London) at midnight:

ITV reported:

Sandra Jacobs was among the first people through the door at Tusk Hair in Camden on Friday night when the north London business opened its doors at midnight for the first time in three-and-a-half months.

Despite the abundance of masks, aprons and faceshields serving as a reminder of the new normal of post-Covid society, Ms Jacobs said she was just relieved to be sitting in owner Carole Rickaby’s salon chair again.

“It’s such a relief, I can’t tell you,” she said …

Despite the late night, things are only set to get busier for Ms Rickaby with bookings flooding in over the last few days.

But she said she is delighted to be able to give people something to look forward to in these difficult times.

“I’m just happy to be able to come back to work,” she said.

“Getting their hair done makes people feel better.

“Getting a haircut is a big boost for mental health and that’s exactly what people need right now.”

Judging from men getting a welcome shearing, it does appear that it gave them a great mental as well as physical boost:

Queues appeared outside barbers across England, from London …

… to Essex, in the South East …

… to the Midlands, where an ITV Central reporter shared his before and after photos …

… to Herefordshire in the West Midlands …

… to Wigan, in the North:

Boris had his hair cut, as did other MPs:

As for pubs, Prince William visited his local in Norfolk:

ITV reported that Prince William spent time talking with the publicans, who reassured him that they were ready for any rowdiness:

The duke took a seat in the pub’s garden with the landlords, their head chef Philip Milner and duty manager Lucy Heffer, and when his drink and food arrived he joked: “I don’t know where I pay, I’ll do that before I leave, I promise.”

Concerns have been raised about pubs and bars reopening on the weekend dubbed “super Saturday” rather than a weekday, and the Prime Minister has already appealed to pubgoers to show restraint …

Anthony and Jeannette Goodrich have owned the pub for 25 years and had to close their premises and furlough more than 25 full-time employees, who are bolstered by another 10 or 15 temporary weekend workers, when the outbreak struck.

Government ministers had issued a warning about breaking the law:

In the end, it rained nearly everywhere in England that day, so the weather put a dampener on any crowds, rowdy or not:

Everyone who went to a pub was just delighted for the experience of going out for a drink for the first time since Friday, March 20.

Pubs were allowed to open at 8 a.m. One Guardian reporter shared his experience in north London:

One does have to sign in at the pub, in case of a coronavirus outbreak. The Test and Trace folks can then get in touch with you. This man rips apart Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s original policy of registering online with a pub. This is an amusing but considered video made on June 22, well before the reopening and signing in at the door. He also points out that the government is very good at perpetuating the illusion that the public are in control of their own decisions; clearly, they are not:

Chancellor Rishi Sunak does not drink, but he recognises the importance of pubs as part of English life:

Finally, a sign of normality for both businesses and customers during a most unusual year.

Hair salon salon-poster-800-wideSome hairdressers belong in one of the nine circles of Hell.

There are many unsung heroes of the hair world out there, but, from what I see, they are increasingly harder to find.

Why would I care about hairdressers? Only because I’ve seen so many bad highlights, cuts and styles emanating from our local salons over the past few years. None of them is cheap. The barber — not the professional stylist — seems to be the best bet for a proper haircut. Go figure.

Cardinal hairdressing sins

1/ From my observations, highlighting today often reveals lack of attention and apathy when it comes to a woman’s hairline. No hairdresser should need to be told that colour must be carefully applied to and around the hairline. A ‘senior stylist’ — as they insist on being called — should be a dab hand at applying foils or a little root touch-up to every woman purchasing highlights. Yet, I often see lines by the temples where it is clear colour has been applied but not blended in. It looks like … hell. It also makes it impossible for that woman to change her hairdo; sweeping back one side is out of the question. Yet, she will have paid £100 for a poor job.

2/ Today’s haircuts are abysmal, especially for ‘older’ women. It used to be that a hairdresser didn’t consider a female customer old until she went in one day asking for a blue rinse and a perm. Nowadays, a woman is old in a hairdresser’s eyes when she hits 50. She can be assured that her hairdresser does not have a vision of beauty in mind for her, even when she describes what she would like. She will give that woman a granny haircut, often one with fringe (bangs) that is too short and blunt. The customer then emerges from the salon looking no younger or prettier.

Francoise Hardy francoise-hardy-elle-jpg_9967Francoise Hardy francoise_hardy_01On the other hand, the French singer Françoise Hardy has been blessed with a lifetime of great hairdressers (see photos — decades old dos which are still stylish). Furthermore, she — and her hairdresser — demonstrate that une femme d’un certain age can look chic and beautiful. Hardy’s haircuts are not complicated. Any hairdresser should know a basic cut which can be modified: longer fringe, layering around the ears and tapering the lower third of the head.

On the other side of the spectrum, the other atrocity I often see are young women with very long hair leaving a salon all gussied up with three inches of dry, frizzy ends. A good hairdresser should have broken the news months before: ‘I’m sorry, but the longer we let those ends go, the worse it will be for your hair.’ They must be cut. No deep conditioner can save them.

3/ The styling is basic, flat and boring. Why? It isn’t free of charge. I can tell when some women have been to the salon because they emerge with helmet head or a bob with a crown that has been blowdried into a square. It’s hard to imagine a professional being guilty of such a sin but I often see it here in the world capital of hairdressing. Yes, it is possible for a ‘professional’ to take a perfectly serviceable cut and totally mess up the styling. These women look so much better when they style their own hair in their own homes.

4/ The lack of interest from the hairdresser. There are some vile hairdressers out there. In researching this article, I perused a number of hair fora — some for consumers and some for ‘professionals’. I also know a few salon owners. Only one salon I know of — a husband and wife team — is worth the money. The others, men and women, say, ‘There’s nothing I can do with a hairline — that’s their problem’ or ‘The client isn’t clear about what she wants’. Does that absolve them of being interested enough in their clients to find out or suggest and make a positive difference? After all, they are the ones who insist on being recognised as ‘experts’.  Experts, my eye. The customer — again, man or woman — can pick up on this. Search online for ‘bad hairdressers UK’ and you’ll find a wealth of complaints from both sexes about the shabby treatment they have had.

5/ Because you’re not worth it. This ties in with the previous point. Customers are picking up on the fact that, after a year or two, the hairdresser is no longer that interested in their hair. Highlights are sparser. Cuts cannot be changed or improved. Cuts are butchered. Colour is clearly defined; no deviations. The hairdresser communicates boredom and a desire to be anywhere else but styling your hair. One ‘senior stylist’ told me, ‘We can do anything. It’s a question of if we can be bothered. Sometimes it’s too much effort’. And it clearly shows, even in small provincial salons with undeserved big-city prices.

My mother’s story

My mother had worn a variety of hairstyles in the 1960s for short or shoulder-length hair. When she had short hair, she was happy enough.

Once women began wearing longer bouffants — as they were called — my mother had patchier salon experiences. Ironically, she was happiest when going to the local beauty college every Friday lunchtime. I went with her a couple of times when school was not in session. The student stylist and my mother had conversations about allergic reactions and skin disease. The stylist would explain how exacting the coursework was in this area. Essentially, the cuts, colour and styling were easy; it was the physiology and dermatology courses which could make or break a future beautician, as they were called back then. The exams were rigorous.

We moved house a couple of years later. My mother really missed ‘the girls’. There was no beauty college in our area and no matter what hairdresser my mother went to, they invariably left a line of hair around the middle of her head which made no sense.

She would return home frustrated when she should have felt beautiful and happy.

Years later, I think I know what the problem was. Hairdressers are trained — or acquire a habit of — lifting a section of hair vertically from the centre of the head and trimming it. Once that hair falls to its usual position in styling, it forms a line which doesn’t blend in with the rest of the head. It happens here in the UK, too, so it must be a universal ‘technique’. Oddly, however, the young women at the beauty college did not seem to do this. They trimmed from the sides only.

Well, it wasn’t long before my mother started trimming her own hair. This was back in the 1970s. ‘Why should I pay all that money for a bad haircut?’

My mother continued trimming her own hair until she was in her mid-80s, at which point she reverted back to a skilled (this time) professional. It wasn’t that my mother’s natural talents were slipping, she just wasn’t well enough anymore.

As for colour, once my mother went significantly gray, she started buying box kits. Only one turned out a bit yellowy; the others were a beautiful ash blonde. And, no, I doubt she ever did a skin or hair test. She applied her own colour until she was in her 80s. It can be done and look professional.

How the mighty have fallen — hairdressing statistics

A marketing maxim is statistics: ‘Everyone loves looking at the numbers!’

A 2009 survey of 2,000 women in Britain showed:

  • The majority of women change their stylists before their fourth haircut
  • Less [‘Fewer’!] than 25% of clients stay with their stylist beyond a year
  • Half of women outside London prefer their own home blowdry to their stylist’s efforts
  • 40% of women avoid salons on a regular basis because of unhappy experiences and lack of trust in hairdressers’ abilities.

Those are all the things I mentioned above, and that was from my personal observation and research.

What hairdressers can do

Like every other business in a difficult economic climate, salons seek to increase footfall and revenue.

Salons are feeling the pinch as their equally pinched customers are postponing repeat appointments in an attempt to save money.

Unfortunately, most look towards marketing campaigns (local leaflet drop), periodic discounts, music selection (arrgh), product displays and redecorating. All of these are superficial and miss the point entirely.

Yet, a good hairdresser will always have customers. Build it and they will come — introductory offer or not.

However, this requires listening well, doing a professional job, treating customers as if they are valued and making sure they are truly happy with colour, cut and style.

These guidelines from Vidal Sassoon (excerpted) should be professional basics; they are to the customer. Emphases mine:

The ability to think quickly in order to process and evaluate your clients wishes is paramount to your success as a hairdresser. The consultation is your time to use your skills in gathering information in order to use your creativity in creating a style that both suits and makes your client feel great. ‘The Sassoon Way’ divides the consultation into three distinct phases. Note that ‘failure to complete any or all of these stages will be the cause of any later problems’.

Phase 1

Listening and observation – Take into account the following:

Client physique, proportions and profiles to help you choose suitable shapes and lengths.

Did they stride into the salon with confidence, nervousness or appear intimidated?

What style is their clothing (smart, fashionable, casual)?

– Use eye-contact and re-assuring gestures whilst asking open ended questions (questions that cannot be answered with ‘yes’ or ‘no’)

– Be a good listener. Take time to listen not only to what is being said but also how it is being said.

– Make a mental note of their body language when your client is talking to assess their character.

– You need to be able to offer a cut/style that suits their lifestyle in term of time and skill required to maintain the style …

There are additional pointers in this article from Love Hairdressing. Again, these are — or should be — basics for the ‘professional’:

The perfect step by step consultation:

2)      Sit down next to the client at the styling position and make eye contact, NOT  standing up talking to them in the mirror.

4)      Play detective and look for clues. Observe age, body, height, style, colours, skin tone, make-up, hair growth patterns, hair type, texture, hairline.

5)      I have worked with people in the past that struggle with keeping all this info in their short term memory so don’t be afraid to write things down. Just remember to explain to your clients what you are taking notes on and ALWAYS update your record cards after the appointment with key information.

6)      Once you think you have enough information, stop and THINK. Formulate a plan of action together and clearly repeat your thoughts to your client.

‘Have you got anything in mind today or would you like me to make some suggestions?’ …

When hairdressers do all of those things, believe me, customers will come running. One person tells another. This includes men, who are increasingly likely to seek colour highlights. Twenty- and thirty-something males are a relatively new and lucrative market. Incidentally, locally, we have a traditional barber shop and a new young men’s salon, where they probably do colour.

What the consumer can do

1/ Be clear with your requests and bring a picture of what you would like for yourself.

2/ Go to the salon freshly bathed and groomed. Be polite and well mannered. (This should go without saying, but we’re in the 21st century now, when anything goes.)

3/ If you’re getting colour, do not wash your hair the day you go to the salon. The colour process requires natural oils from the hair.

4/ Avoid gossip or complaining about other stylists. Chances are they know each other and might even be friends.

5/ Take something to read. More salons are doing away with magazines — ‘clutter’ — and have nothing at all.

6/ If you are unhappy, say so objectively. You might be able to get a slight discount for that visit.

7/ Take care when paying. Some salons are a bit sly. They might charge more than you were quoted when you made your appointment. Ensure you are charged for what you are quoted (unless you had an extra treatment) and get any discount from a special offer to which you are entitled.

8/ If you’re getting dolled up for a wedding or other special occasion, try not to a) ask for anything too elaborate and b) get your hair done a week or so in advance so the do can bed in. Too many bridal cascades of hair done on the day end in tears. So does a sudden change in colour.

Finally — the ‘wrong’ kind of hair

If the hairdresser deems your hair to be ‘too thick’ or ‘too fine’, you’ll have a problem these days. They will simply not want to bother or they’ll butcher it in an effort to get you to go elsewhere.

A number of online salon reviews reveal the nastiness that some stylists — even salon owners — show towards their customers with ‘problem’ hair. Customers go home in tears.

If they are true professionals, they should have been trained in thick and fine hair. It shouldn’t ever be a problem.

Such customers might need to investigate mobile hairdressers or do their own hair. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. This does require a lot of reading and watching, however.

For DIY cuts, read online and watch good YouTube videos. Start with a tiny trim of an end or two. Progress from there. Take your time and work in a quiet, unhurried atmosphere.

Colour is more complicated and will require even more research. Do not be tempted to start experimenting with professional tube colour and developer. Walk before you can run. Read a lot — including customer reviews — of temporary and permanent colour. Colour should not be placed on previously coloured hair; unexpected results may occur. Hairdressers can do it because they know how to formulate the mix of colour and developer accordingly.

Highlights are particularly tricky. The aforementioned cautions apply. It should also be noted that too much or too little colour on a cap or, if you dare, foil can be a disaster. Placement often requires another pair of hands. Read everything you can before taking the plunge.

Colour can also stain basins, shower stalls, bathtubs, walls and carpet. Have everything you need before you start, including old towels, baby wipes and, for skin around the hairline, Vaseline.

DIY home colour is a big undertaking and not one to be taken lightly. My mother and millions of other women might have been an exception, but, then, their needs were simpler.

In closing, a final word to cavalier hairdressers. You are secular priests and nonclinical therapists. Your job is to transform your clients — getting men and women to feel better about themselves by making them more attractive. Hair is a universal attribute, part of our personal identity. Treat people with the care and attention you would expect for yourselves and you’ll never want for customers. If ever the Golden Rule applied, it is to your profession.

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