• Mary MacCarthy

Hairstylist grateful for some clients paying in advance

Updated: May 7, 2020

Mary Eileen is a Denver-based hairstylist who is among the hundreds of thousands of beauty professionals across the U.S. who have suddenly been forced to shut down. We chatted on FB Messenger on March 23rd, the day before Colorado went into "shelter-in-place" mode, and a week after beauty salons were ordered to suspend operations. HOW AM I GETTING BY? A little backstory about me. I have been in the beauty industry working as a hairstylist/makeup artist since 2002. Two years ago I rented a suite and started my own business. While being self-employed has its challenges, it’s something that I value immensely. I am also a single mother, and being self-employed allows me the flexibility to juggle that work/ life balance a little easier.

The health department shut down salons in Denver on March 15th. We were told we will not be able to open our doors again until May 1st. That’s six weeks. I haven’t been out of work for six weeks since I was 17 years old. I even broke my leg in half and was only out for three weeks, working on just one leg for several months.

The service industry is hard enough as it is. We don’t have benefits, sick leave, retirement, vacation. If you don’t work you don’t get paid.

Being self-employed I don’t qualify for unemployment, even the emergency unemployment funds that have recently become available. The only resources I’ve found so far are business relief loans with low interest rates, and in my opinion, you can’t get out of the hole while you’re still holding the shovel.

The building I lease from has suspended rent for the time being, I’m not sure how long that will last but it’s so helpful. I have wonderful clients, some of whom have paid in advance which is literally lifesaving. I’ve had some clients ask me to do their hair on the side, but I’ve declined. My license is too important, not to mention how important it is that we limit our contact with each other at the moment.

My New Year’s resolution was to sleep more and stress less, I didn’t know what was coming LOL. I’m still trying to stick to that. I’m trying to keep busy, do some projects around the house, enjoy time with my daughter. I have a couple of mannequin heads that I brought home to work on, but I haven’t felt any inspiration yet.

In the meantime I’m making sure the lights are out when we leave the room, and that the thermostat is set very low. I’m hoping the impact isn’t too great on my clients, because without them I have no business to go back to. When it feels like I’m getting swallowed up, I take a nap.

One day at a time.

I hope we all make it.

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