Tips for applying eyeliner. #Gratitudeattitude appreciation posts for staff and clients. Inspiration messages reminding people to relax. These are some of the many social media posts by a local lash studio.
Deka Lash opened last spring in the Mosaic District. Christina Cox, a local teacher, and her husband, who is a retired U.S. Army officer, are the owners behind the franchise.
Cox told Tysons Reporter said that she’s been using social media as a way to keep people’s spirits up and remind them of the studio’s plans to keep clients and staff safe during the pandemic.
“Now we are letting our clients know everything we’re doing and that we take this seriously,” she said.
The small studio only had five beds to begin with, and lash artists were already wearing masks, washing hands and using hand sanitizer between clients and sterilizing the equipment with an anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-viral product before the pandemic.
Facebook and Instagram posts help her share how the studio is preparing to reopen. While the studio has been closed, Cox said that each last artist has received training on how to use barbicide, which is usually used in barbershops,
When the studio reopens, clients will be given pink bandanas to cover their faces and will be able to read brochures about the cleaning products being used. Both employees and clients will have their temperatures taken with non-contact thermometers.
“We want to keep our staff healthy,” Cox said. “We don’t want to put anybody at risk.”
Blankets for clients will be washed after every single use. Tools will be sterilized and disinfected after every client and frequently touched services like the front desk will be cleaned frequently, she said.
The cancellation policy will be changed so that people won’t be charged for no-shows or late cancellations.
To limit contact, clients will be able to check-in and book new appointments using the smartphone app, she said. Previously, the studio allowed walk-ins and let people bring friends or their kids, but not anymore due to safety precautions.
When the studio reopens, only three of the five beds will be used, and Cox hopes to only have two lash artists working at the same time.
“The only thing we are not doing — we haven’t figured out a way to apply extensions from six feet away,” Cox said. “But everything else, we’ve got it covered.”
Sharing these steps on social media is a way to build and keep trust among clients, Cox said.
“We are ready and we were already doing so many things beforehand and it will be more visible,” Cox said.
Cox said that she’s using social media during the pandemic to stay connected to clients and reach out to new people.
“I think more people are on social media now more than ever,” she said, adding that her strategy is to send a “message of hope.”
The pandemic has hit the business hard. When Tysons Reporter talked to Cox last week, she was still waiting to hear about her federal loan application.
“We’re in our first year of operation, so this is a kick in the teeth,” she said about the financial blow to the business.
But Cox remains optimistic about getting back on track financially in the near future: “I am hoping that we can pick up right where we left off in about three to six months.”
“For the most part, if you had disposable income for lashes — our clients are in a solid financial position,” Cox said, adding that the pandemic might be a temporary financial setback to clients but not devastating to their disposable income.
Even with non-essential businesses temporarily closed and the stay-at-home order, Cox said there’s still a demand for lashes.
“I have people calling me, ‘Do you make house calls?’ ‘No, we’re closed!'” Cox said.
While businesses in Northern Virginia won’t see restrictions loosened until May 29 at the earliest, Cox said that she will be ready to open the studio back up right away — and so will her clients.
Cox said that people who want to support the studio while it’s closed can buy gift cards online, book ahead for appointments and — for clients — write Yelp or Google reviews.
“This virus is not likely going away but we have to continue to live,” she said. “We don’t want the cure to be worse than the disease.”
Images via Deka Lash Facebook and Instagram