The Business of Beauty During COVID-19

By: Rachel Carpenter

In only a matter of months the beauty industry, like so many others, has been turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic. In these uncertain times, it’s important to keep our heads up and focus on the light at the end of the tunnel and the bright future it holds for the next generation of beauty professionals. That's why we've decided to publish a series of profiles on people all across the industry.


Today I had the opportunity to speak with Kip Dotson, owner of “A Moment’s Peace Salon and Day Spa” in Franklin, Tennessee. He was able to provide us insight on the pandemic as a business owner and lover of the beauty industry as whole! Take a look below at our conversation!


So, Kip, tells us about you and what you do? 


I am a business owner and I’m very passionate about my business: “A Moment’s Peace Salon and Day Spa”. My wife and I have owned it for 18 years. We have loved it because it connects people and staff in such a great and unique way. Our mission is a moment’s peace for everyone! We are located in Franklin, TN, a little bit south of Nashville. This area is a real hotspot right now. There is a great deal of growth; a lot of people want to move here because our job market is really strong and taxes are low. Many other places in our country are crazy to live right now or the cost of living is so high. Franklin is a place where people can relocate and experience an amazing family atmosphere with us at A Moment’s Peace.


 So ‘A Moment’s Peace’ is your mission and the name of your business- how did that come about? What led you to this mantra in your business?


The name was something we co-created with another individual. This mission seemed to be a very strong way to emotionally connect with people, while at the same time creating an environment where we were delivering salon and spa services in a unique way. It’s about getting clients to focus on the experience of the service rather than just getting a haircut or a massage. We feel really blessed because what we do is trying to deliver on the experience of becoming more beautiful through services or treatments. Our clients walk in and are amazingly surprised at how many services we have under one roof and amazed at how much talent we have in one building. We have five different provider groups- 16 hairstylists, 8 massage therapists, 5 aestheticians, skin care specialists, nail technicians, makeup artists and guest services. Our guest services staff helps put together gifts and unique experiences for our clients. 


What having this many positions also does for our staff member is to provide more flexibility in their work. They can be at the front desk as an aspiring makeup artist or aesthetician who can then go to school while being in this environment and ultimately get licensed. We would then put them on a training program where they can make this a full-time career. They can be the breadwinner of their household. We have some hairstylists, aestheticians and a massage therapist who are earning 6 figures. It’s because they’re really good at what they do. My massage therapist is also a manager. She blends some managerial work in with her massage work. This way, she can create more longevity in her career. 


You’re offering dual experience: the hands-on experience working with clients but also the managerial experience that they might need to move up in their career!


We’re really unique in that regard. There’s no other business out there that gives you that ability. So, say you lose interest in being a nail technician and are interested in being a hairstylist. Or vice versa! You can totally switch that and make a different career path for yourself- or even do both! We like double and triple threats. We have some people that do skin care and the front desk- they’re double threats. And then we have some triples- where they do nails, hair and the front desk.


It’s nice to have people working for you that are so versatile. They can move to those different roles as you need them elsewhere or as they find interest in something else- it’s unique to have that opportunity within your business.


Right! We are a fifty person staff- so when you start working here you become a part of a fifty person family. Everybody is looking out for you and wants you to deliver a moment’s peace, just like they do. Our staff knows that delivering a moment’s peace means that you must be happy in your life, you must be financially secure, you must have some spiritual awareness, an ethical nature- all of those little things that the staff is  aligned with to help them stay motivated and accountable!


I love that! Because working with like-minded people just makes for a better work experience. You’re excited to go to work everyday- you get to be around others with a similar attitude!


Yes- and when you work here you get the privilege of delivering others a moment’s peace. People say to our staff ‘Oh you’re so lucky you get to work at a spa- it must be so tranquil and peaceful’ —and they’re right! The truth is, even with the headaches, you’re delivering happiness with every service, and that brings you happiness from within.


Amazing! You mentioned that things had been crazy in other cities- but how have things been for you amidst the pandemic?


We were shut down for 44 days but were able to reopen May 6th. In this new pandemic world we are taking great lengths to keep clients safe. We have appointed a medical director who is helping us keep our whole operation as medically safe as possible, to the highest standards. We are doing medical spa treatments as well. These measures are also coaching clients and staff on what we have to be most mindful of. The demand for services is way up: my biggest problem is that I don’t have the staff that really feel ready and safe to come back to work. 


That is very difficult. Just because everyone has different perspectives on the pandemic and varying ideas of what safety means to them.

We have modified our whole business, so much so that we now operate like an elective health care facility. We take the temperature of every client and staff member before they come into the building. If they show any signs of sickness they are not allowed in the building. We are making sure that everyone follows tremendous disinfecting and sanitizing procedures. With all that redundancy in our operation being more safe and clean- this extra effort really helps the service. It gets you more confident. People have to wear masks with every service but I think we’re all starting to get used to that- it makes everyone feel safer. 

It’s nice taking the necessary precautions to know that you’re keeping your clients safe. Yes, it’s more work on the front end but your business will never be part of the problem with the level of care you demonstrate for your clients.


Exactly! We don’t want a COVID event to take place and definitely not from within our spa. When we have questions we ask our doctor who helps us- we never assume. His name is Dr. Kumar and he really makes this a simple process. He has streamlined so many of these standards and rules for us by giving specific medical advice and explanations for our situation.


I find it really awesome that you’re offering people ‘A Moment’s Peace’ even during a pandemic. Because honestly we need peace right now more than we ever have!


We’re so blessed in that regard, but right now I need staff to provide those services- we’re completely booked for months out. 


You mentioned that you were hiring right now… What are you looking for in a new hire?


We want people who are passionate about our industry. I would say at every level we are hiring. Whether it's the front desk, someone who’s experienced in beauty and wants to make a move, someone thinking about going to school and wants to work in our environment, or a graduate right out of school who wants to be trained. We’re hiring hair care, hair stylists, nail technicians, aestheticians, massage therapists, and front desk personnel. 


So great to hear for those looking to get back into the workforce! How has your day to day life changed? How did it change in the 44 days that you were closed, as well as what it looks like now, running a business in this new pandemic world?


Right now, it’s focused on staff getting back to work and feeling safe doing so. Most importantly, our focus is on clients feeling safe to make their appointments and get procedures. The new practices we must implement have been challenging. Lots of software changes have been made. There has been an increased communication to staff about new changes and how they affect their work. I would say that being shut down has made me be there for my business more often. I’ve been cleaning out and organizing more often- we’re usually open 7 days a week. So, when there weren’t people there it gave me time to work on the things I might not have been able to do without this time.


I feel like a lot of people have a shared experience through the pandemic. In that, obviously it has been devastating and terrible for so many individuals, but quarantining ourselves doesn’t mean putting our lives on pause. This time can still be used to grow ourselves and our businesses!


There’s definitely coping to be done when organizing! Now that we’re open, we’re much better off and will be more productive and profitable- hiring way more people and delivering more services.


How do you feel about the beauty industry right now?


I LOVE it - I think it's a great industry. I do think that it is highly segmented - meaning most people decide to either do their own thing or they’re just a hair salon or just a massage place. I’m trying to do the opposite of that. I believe the segmentation hurts the client. While they love their provider and will travel to go see them, what they really wish for is one place to go that has talented individuals, where they can get their nails, massage, skin care and a gift for a friend, all in one place. I do believe people prefer that. 


Oh for sure! I am a lover of ALL beauty services and I travel all over my town and state to get what I want done - but would love for it all to be in one place. 


So that’s our goal. It’s to make it all in one place with one valued experience in a moment’s peace. Our brand promises that you’ll be able to buy things, get beautiful, maybe get a spray tan and then go out with your friends! There is a huge trend of people renting suites, the ‘I want to own my own business, provide one service, and make money’ mentality. While that totally works for some people, it doesn’t for others. So we want to encourage people to be in their zone, where they are the most comfortable. We want our staff to come to work and practice their craft in a beautiful environment with a supportive team around them. I think that aspect of our business is where we distinguish ourselves. We have the mission of a moment’s peace, as well as all of our services provided under one roof. We also provide the ability for our clients to give others the gift of a moment’s peace. A common quote we hear about receiving a gift certificate from our salon and spa is ‘I’ve never heard of this place but I can’t wait to go!’ 


That’s so inspiring! Only one more question for you- how did you keep up with the beauty industry while shut down? Did you talk to other salon owners and service providers or stay up to date on social media?


I believe in constant learning and education. I have a network of coaches and webinars that I tap into and attend all the time. I would say during the pandemic that I attended 10x more than I normally would. I was probably reading and watching more than I would normally on a day to day basis- just to be sure of what was going on and how I could plan and prepare for my business to reopen. Professional development is all about watching those who are the best at what they do and learning from them. Hearing what other people were doing and seeing that it would or wouldn’t work for us was a learning experience. Going back to the drawing board and staying informed enough to make decisions helped me keep up.


With the beauty industry, reopening isn’t a one size fits all answer! It takes a great deal of work and time to make sure you’re providing the safest experience for clients. 


The unique thing about us is how many services we offer- and each of these services must be handled differently. As I mentioned earlier, some places are just nail salons and just hair salons. We’re a 9 room spa and, in fact, we do more spa than we do hair. So we had to step back and look at how the pandemic would individually affect  our spa services, how it would affect hairstylists, how it would affect our nail technicians and plan for each of them specifically! All the angles!

As you can see above, A Moment's Peace Salon and Day Spa is hiring! Check out their website to look at job postings and get more information on what could be your dream career!


Tags: Interview, conversation, Beauty, beauty careers, Beauty Cast Network, beauty job, Professional, Profile, Professional Education

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