Hair salons remain closed in Massachusetts and business owners are waiting for more information on when they’ll be able to reopen. The unusual time has been difficult -- but for some -- it's been a catalyst for innovation.
Owner Marina Melnikova had to close her Beacon Hill salon, Zena Rose, weeks ago. She grew frustrated after seeing posts on social media warning people not to color their own hair. Melnikova said she didn’t think it was fair for those who still needed to work or wanted to look their best.
She decided to try to figure out a solution, a way she could guide clients through the process and, in turn, make it easier for everyone once she reopens. She began going to her salon and mixing color kits for clients who were interested and dropped them off at their homes.
Once they had the product, Melnikova set up a virtual hair appointment -- a video call to walk the customer through the entire process.
"I’m walking them through the whole thing telling them what section to take," Melnikova said. "I see if they’re saturating properly. It’s worked out really well.”
The calls for kits kept coming and within days Melnikova had an updated website, new packaging, and more than 50 orders to fill. She started shipping kits to other sates including Vermont, California and New York.
One former client, Jillian Daily, moved from Boston to New York two years ago. She is currently working at a cancer center and is considered an essential employee.
Daily immediately reached out to Melnikova to place an order after she saw a post about the at-home kits online. The process was simple, according to Daily, who said she can’ t believe she’d never heard of it before.
"It makes it so much easier for me," Daily said. "I have a newborn, so going to the salon isn’t as easy as before.”
Meanwhile, Gov. Charlie Baker announced a four-phase plan to reopen the Massachusetts economy Monday. He said he hopes to begin the first phase on May 18 assuming public health data continues to trend in a positive direction.
Melnikova plans to keep offering the service, even when her doors reopen. The service is a great way maintain social distancing and to connected with clients who need to travel moving forward.
But Melnikova said she never imagined having to close would open up the door to a new business venture.
“Best ideas grow during times like this. The need is there, it’s just a matter of recognizing it,” Melnikova said.