Susana Cuquet


“Customers were really keen to change their hair styles”

RESPONSIBILITY “The night before re-opening the salon I didn’t sleep, thinking how it would go, what the customers would be like...”

Against all the odds, this autumn Susana Cuquet took the step of moving her hairdressing and beauty salon in Badalona to premises three times the size. When it seemed like everything was doomed to failure, she took a step forward and grew. “I found that due to the restrictions caused by the pandemic, the space in my salon did not allow me to attract more customers. That helped me make my mind up, thinking that if I didn’t do something I’d be stuck. I thought, “Rather than staying like this and being in trouble, I’m going to take a chance!” And so she did. She moved, she started again. She dived in headfirst: the pandemic was not going to stop her business venture. During the hardest times, she says, “I was convinced that I would see it out, because I had money saved, and I’ve now invested that in the business. Because if you run out of money, you keep at it a couple more months to use up your stock and then you close.” This Covid nightmare took her by surprise, like everyone else. “You listened to the news, and it felt like something happening to other people... And all of a sudden you find yourself there and you say, ’This is for real!’”

As soon as she could, she started doing home visits, at first, to people who had difficulty looking after themselves. “The night before I started doing home visits I couldn’t sleep, because of the responsibility of having to take my utensils to another person’s house, ensuring everything was disinfected – you try to do it as well as you can, but you still get nervous. Little by little you get used to the situation.”

There were many changes when the salon reopened, due to hygiene and capacity limits. “At first, I could only cater for one person, and no one else could come in until they left...” It was difficult to even calculate the times. “The night before I reopened the salon, I didn’t sleep either, thinking about how I would do it, what the customers would be like... Some people were very, very apprehensive, and others didn’t really care. We had to do everything right and avoid any arguments.” As a sector, they did not receive any guidelines, they made do with the information they sent to each other. In Susana’s case, the lack of information and difficulties did not make her lose heart. “It takes a lot to make me worried. I guess I think pretty philosophically!”

Her salon has always been a meeting point in the neighbourhood, a kind of social centre. It was not uncommon to find it full of people in the past. It has been tough, but the salon complies with the new rules. No more magazines, no more coffee... “There have been sad times. A maximum of three people in the salon, and also talking about the same topic, which everyone has their opinion on.” With all the strangeness of the current situation, there has to also be a certain normality. The problem, she says, comes with relaxing prevention measures. On this she is very strict. “When we could have customers normally, I continued to control the capacity. I wanted people to know that there would be no more than two people, because there was a lot of fear and I didn’t want them to be afraid.”

“As soon as I opened I had work, I can’t complain. Customers were really keen to change their hair styles, after so much time at home, in their pyjamas, without getting dressed... Many have changed their image. There were also those who tried to cut their own hair and it was a challenge to get a good cut out of some of the disasters!”

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