Owning a small business in a typical year is hard work. Owning a small business in 2020 has been challenging, demanding, and at times terrifying. Covid-19 has meant massive overhauls for small businesses, not just from a physical standpoint but in every aspect of how they operate. Staying in business while navigating this uncharted road has required outside-the-box ideas, determination, and a little luck. Even though this year didn’t start how they expected, Laveda Lash & Brow Boutique has not only managed to survive this new normal, they’ve shifted how they think and operate, and they’re more determined than ever to keep the doors open.
Laveda Lash & Brow Boutique opened in 2018 in Hyattsville, Maryland. After seeing early success at the salon, the owners were looking to grow the business, expanding into DC. They started 2020 full of hope and excitement. In January, the doors opened to their second salon in DC to include a nail salon, at the corner of 14th and W. Business was great, but like the rest of the world, they were growing more worried about Covid-19 and what would happen if it started to spread here.
As we now know, small business owners had good reason to be concerned. On March 25th, two months after opening, the owners were forced to temporarily close the doors as part of the mandated shutdown in DC. Small business owners everywhere were scrambling, trying to figure out what to do next, how to make payroll, keep up with rent, and retain clients.
As each day passed, it became more apparent there was no clear end in sight for the Covid-19 crisis. Facing unprecedented challenges, the owners of Laveda Lash & Brow Boutique had to start letting employees go. Day by day, as the shutdown expanded beyond April, the owners watched as other shops around them began to go out of business.
Watching the reality around them and armed with a plan and determined to save the salon, the owners jumped into action. Over the next few weeks, they made several improvements to both locations designed to protect clients when the doors eventually reopened. The owners took some significant steps right out of the gate, choosing to upgrade the central air filtration system and adding medical-grade air purifiers with HEPA filters that remove 99.5% of particles from the air, including viruses. A special VIP section is available for clients who feel safer with a little more separation from the main salon.
Making upgrades like this was never required, but the owners wanted to do everything possible to protect clients and staff from potential exposure. From start to finish, the experience at Laveda Lash & Brow is designed around client safety, starting with the touchless entry system at the front door. Services are offered now by appointment only, and reorganizing the stations allows for social distancing. They use an aerosol sanitation machine multiple times throughout the day, and they take additional sanitizing steps after every single appointment.
Navigating this new normal has been a challenge, and no one can guarantee what will come next. Many small businesses face these incredible challenges this year, and owners are still learning how to adjust. Many employees were laid off early on have since returned to work, but there is now new worry as Covid-19 cases continue to rise across the country. Small businesses fare the backbone of our communities, and so many of them could soon be facing the terrifying reality of closing for good. The owners of Laveda Lash & Brow boutique are determined not to let that happen and to keep providing for their loyal clients and customers in DC for years to come.