I’ve been doing a series of Q&As with local business owners but was mainly sticking to food, wine, and beer…with the exception of the one I did with Andy from Daniels Wood Land. I wanted to expand this series and ended in communication with Jullie on Facebook about The Wearhouse, so here we are. Thank you to Jullie for doing this, I appreciate it.
Matt: First of all, I’ve not done a Q&A with your category of business before so, if you don’t mind, what services do you provide?
Jullie: The Wearhouse LLC is a full-service salon store and venue. We offer luxury services for men and women in hair cutting, coloring/styling, nail grooming, eyelash extensions, makeup application, and wedding services. We also provide medical-grade aesthetic services such as botox, fillers, laser and skin rejuvenation, laser hair removal and much more.
In our store, we retail professional-grade beauty products as well as apparel, jewelry, home decor, and gift items. Our retail brands include Davines, Comfortzone, Color Wow, Living Proof, Reuzel Men’s Products, Xtreme Lash, Mud Cosmetics and much more.
Located behind the salon in the beautiful courtyard next to Jeffreys Wine Country bbq, we have a 518 square foot micro venue offering temporary rental by the hour or day for private or public business and personal events. The versatility of our venue rental can accommodate instructional classes, meetings, or even a pop-up shop.
Matt: When did you start your business?
Jullie: The Wearhouse opened in July 2013.
Matt: We are living in some crazy times with this COVID-19 thing. How are you hanging in there personally?
Jullie: These are strange and historic times we are navigating our way through. For my own well being, I am trying to maintain an optimistic outlook and use this downtime to my advantage. I have been staying productive working on business and household projects that I normally wouldn’t have enough time for. My husband and I are both self-employed, so the shelter in place order has made a huge impact on our household. We both are trying to scale back and reserve what we can with hope that these orders don’t last too long and we will be able to recover and continue to provide services to our loyal customers.
Matt: How has your business been hit by these recent issues?
Jullie: As most businesses have hit a screeching halt, the recent issues have greatly impacted The Wearhouse and the 20 independent contractors that operate from within. We closed our doors as of March 19, 2020, and have canceled all services until further notice. Unfortunately, this sudden closure feels like we are frozen in time, leaving us with little opportunities for income and growth and an excess feeling of complacency. We have been offering at-home color kits to our clients and curbside pickup for retail products to generate sales.
Considering our entire team is self-employed we have yet to be approved for unemployment. The federally funded Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program for individuals who are self-employed will not be accepting applications until April 28th. At this point, none of us have received any stimulus checks and have all been denied by every option of financial relief provided by the government.
Matt: What are you doing to try and mitigate the impact?
Jullie: As soon as we had to close our doors, I was very proactive in trying to get ahead of our expenses for the next few months. I immediately began contacting our landlord, utilities, suppliers, etc. to discuss payment deferral options. At that time most were unsure what they could do but since then everyone has been understanding and open to negotiating options to help us.
The only services we can provide right now are home Color Kits and curbside pick-up for retail products. I am working on creating an online store to help streamline our retail sales. Once we get that in place, we may initiate some sales/packages.
Matt: Do you have a message to your regular customers or to customers in general?
Jullie: There are a few concerns that clients have brought up and I would like to address. First, I would like to say that as soon as the shelter in place orders are lifted The Wearhouse will re-open. I have had many concerned clients reach out to us asking if we are closing our doors for good. The answer is NO and to be honest closing down never even crossed my mind. We are doing our best to be a business for the community and follow the guidelines put in place by our county and state but as soon as we can, The Wearhouse will open and all of our stylists will be back to work.
Second, many clients are asking if we are booking current or future appointments. Right now we are not booking any appointments until we get our reopen date. As soon as we get that date, each stylist will contact every existing client who had an appointment that was canceled for rebooking options. We ask that all clients email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for appointment questions. We have started a list of clients to contact as soon as we have an open date.
We ask that our clients be patient with us as we all navigate through these uncertain times as they are our priority and we are eagerly waiting to open our doors again.
Matt: Any advice to other small business owners?
Jullie: The coronavirus pandemic has created uncertainty and stress for many small business owners causing them to live their daily lives as an emotional rollercoaster right now. Many of us cannot help but feel like we are watching our businesses crumble right in front of our eyes. While these concerns and emotions are valid, we have to remind ourselves that we are not alone while keeping in perspective that as a business owner, you are a leader. Many of your employees, co-workers, clients or supporters in our community are looking to you for comforting answers. Many will understand you might not have the direct answers but having something relatable to say is valuable.
As a small business owner navigating my way through the coronavirus pandemic, here are my tips for other small business owners:
- Be optimistic; You become what you believe. Rather than focusing on how bad it is, focus on what you can do to better the immediate lives of yourself and your staff.
- Be proactive; No one is going to call you to defer any payments, you must call everyone and ask for help. You might be surprised by some reactions, I was.
- Be productive; Now is the time to work on all the business things you don’t normally have time for. All we have now is time, get your websites up to date, plan out your marketing, organize your offices, etc.
- Be creative; think outside the box. What do your clients/customers need now and what can you do to help them with no/little in-person interaction.
- Be forthcoming; plan for the future. How can you use this time to connect with future customers, or optimize marketing strategies establishing a new audience/demographic? What do you want your business to look like when it reopens and what will it take for you to get there?
- Be nice and thoughtful; reach out to your fellow co-business owners. Ask them how they are doing and ever offer help. Talking with other business owners has been extremely helpful for me, they understand how I am feeling and it helps to share your emotions and ideas. Plus creating stronger relationships in our community is always a good idea. Community over competition.
Matt: Anything else you want to bring up and discuss?
Jullie: Social media can be a resource at this uncertain time, If you see a promotion provided by a local business, or organization, SHARE IT! Not only are businesses trying to survive, but you never know who may be searching for that exact product/service.