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What you need to know about COVID-19: September 29, 2020
Entrepreneur Tracey L. Crawley’s Crowning Glory Hair Studio Plus has been cutting, colouring and styling the hair of patrons for a dozen years. Crawley has more than 25 years of experience as a hairstylist. Her salon has two stylists, a barber and an on-call braider who comes in to do hair extensions.
The pandemic closed Crowning Glory for 11 weeks, starting in mid-March, causing revenue to drop to zero the first few weeks. Crawley’s customers were calling and emailing, worried the salon might be forced out of business.
During that shutdown, Crawley, whose faith figures prominently in her business decision making, produced inspirational videos with tips for hair care. That grew her client base. She began to sell hair extensions and hair-care products through Crowning Glory’s Facebook page and created a new revenue stream.
Worship music fills the air in stylist-turned-entrepreneur Tracey L. Crawley’s hair salon at the foot of the Angus L. Macdonald Bridge in Dartmouth.
The name, Crowning Glory Hair Studio Plus, is inspired by a biblical passage. The sign above the front door sports a cross. T-shirts inside carry the message #GodIsMySource or are inspired by Crawley’s mission work in Haiti, where she has been instrumental helping women set up businesses.
Even Crowning Glory’s motto is a pun on the virtue of service: We are hair to serve you!
While many entrepreneurs shy away from proclaiming their religious beliefs at work, Crawley is unabashedly Christian.
“It’s my brand,” she says.
It’s also a driving force in her business decision making.
When the pandemic forced Crawley to temporarily close her 12-year-old business in mid-March, it was her faith that led her to believe everything Crowning Glory might lose during the shutdown would eventually be restored. Instead of worrying about her troubles, Crawley decided to start making inspirational videos to buoy the spirits of her customers.
“I’m not a video person,” she says.
“This was outside my comfort zone . . . but I knew I had to do something.”
Her first included a giveaway of hair-care products and a T-shirt in a segment she called Thankful Thursday. The feedback was immediate.
“It was really positive,” says Crawley.
“I just think everyone needed something in their day at that moment.”
The videos helped her stay in touch with customers via social media and led her to realize the products many of them used were in short supply.
Hair extensions to make braids, relaxers to loosen curly hair and hair-straightening products are regularly used by Crowning Glory’s Black clientele, about 90 per cent of Crawley’s customer base.
With shipping bottlenecks due to travel restrictions, many products were in short supply.
Except at Crowning Glory.
“I had quite a lot of product, a lot of braiding hair. I was one of the few people in Nova Scotia that was carrying it, and a lot of the people who had it sold out,” says Crawley.
“So, I had a braiding hair sale and I started to offer hair gems, as well . . . and metal clips you could braid into the hair.”
In roughly two months, Crowning Glory took in thousands of dollars in profit from the sale of products and roughly 3,000 gift cards. Using Facebook to promote sales, Crawley would take orders, package them and allow shoppers to pick up their purchases at the curb.
The $100 gift cards were a particularly hot item, as they were redeemable for an extra $20 of services. As soon as the salon opened June 15, Crawley was able to fill her appointment book.
“Our first six weeks are completely booked. It’s been steady,” she says.
“We come in at 8:30 a.m. and leave at 6 pm. I want to pace myself so that I don’t burn out.”
The salon is observing social distancing rules, with chairs more than two metres apart. Staff wear masks. Cleaning is done of high-traffic areas and chairs between appointments. That’s cut down on the number of customers Crowning Glory can handle by about 50 per cent. The business is operating at a loss, Crawley says.
“If I can get 10 customers per day (per stylist on the job), we would be OK,” she says.
Crowning Glory employs another full-time stylist and a barber. A specialist in braiding hair extensions works at various times.
Despite current losses, Crawley is unfazed. She’s doing video consultations through Facebook Live. Her salon has an extra chair should a stylist with customers want to join, and an e-commerce store is expected to go live in about a month.
Her faith leads her to be confident about the future.
“I believe in my heart of hearts that there will be no second wave.”
The Pivot is a regular business feature showcasing an Atlantic Canadian company adapting to new market realities with innovative products, services or strategies. To suggest a business, email: Pivot@SaltWire.com.
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