Coming Out of COVID Stronger

Elaine Kennedy of PAYXPS, sat down with client Trish Reynolds from Radiance Lifestyle Salon and Spa in Marblehead, MA to discuss the pandemic, business survival and turning challenges into opportunities.

Elaine: Trish, tell us about Radiance Salon – how you started, and how things were going prior to March 2020.

Trish: My passion for hair started early but it took me 23 years to go to school which is a whole other story! I worked for 2 salons before realizing I need to work for myself. I began renting chairs at various salons until I opened the first Radiance Salon, just 650 sq feet, and then expanded to a larger space. Ten years later, we expanded to a second location, opening Radiance Aveda Lifestyle Salon and Spa. We conducted business for 12 years in both spaces employing up to 20 people.

Elaine: As any small business owner can attest, it is rarely a straight line to success. What were some of your pre-covid challenges?

Trish: The opening and growth of Radiance was primarily a solo effort built on bank loans and borrowed money. Of course, nothing happens in a vacuum. The intensity of running a small business was coupled with battling some serious health challenges. I had to walk away from the 2nd salon in 2017. We are now operating from one location with around 8 employees. Turnover is always an issue.

Elaine: When Covid restrictions forced shutdowns and restrictions, how did you respond?

Trish: At first there was a lot of fear, primarily for the safety of staff and customers, but also for the business itself. It took 20 years to build Radiance and now revenue was gravely impacted by things out of my control.

the pandemic turned into a blessing in disguise…

To stay afloat, I applied and received my first PPP loan for $95k which was forgiven. Soon after, I received a second loan for $95k. We closed the shop to regroup, and fortunately, did not lose clients to other salons during that time.

But in some ways, the pandemic turned into a blessing in disguise…

Elaine: How so?

Trish: A few reasons. Due to losses in 2019 and 2020, I received a very large tax return. Then I started talking to PAYXPS about how to pivot and capitalize on new opportunities. I’ve always felt my expertise was valuable beyond the haircut in front of me. I had been thinking about how to offer a training service for other stylists. PAYXPS identified additional funding that could help my business through the CARES ACT. Keeping employees on the payroll during 2020 and 2021 made us eligible for an additional $182k in the form of a grant-based credit. I had no idea! The additional capital infusion makes pursuing these new business models possible.

Elaine: That’s fantastic. Sounds like you will be able to grow your community to include other stylists and salons, in addition to your traditional customer base?

Trish: Yes – we are adding tools to make sure we are easily found in these new markets by using the right search and listing criteria. We also are using engagement tools to nurture new clients into loyal supporters and strong references.