Hair by Chris Waugh City Crew, Dean Street, Newcastle upon Tyne


Interview: Chris Waugh

How has your business/organisation been affected by the Covid-19 lockdown?

I am a newly self employed stylist and barber who started my own branding and independence in the industry October 2019. Being unable to social distance we were forced to close the salon. As a result of this I have been left with zero income for almost 4 months. When the government announcements regarding the self employed grants were released I had hopes for some financial security. Upon further announcement I realised I was part of the 5% who fell through the governments strategy of financial aid. Since then I have amounted a lot of personal debt in order to just get by and ensure my business survives. I managed to claim universal credit to a grand total of £409 every month, however this was barely enough to cover my bills yet alone eat.

What have been the biggest challenges for you during the lockdown whether logistical, financial, etc.?

The biggest challenge has been managing financially with absolutely no income. There has also been the threat of other stylists still working illegally during lockdown which could be potentially damaging to your business rapport.

What are the biggest challenges coming out of the lockdown?

Readjusting to the very fast former pace of life after so long away from what I love to do. I’m just gonna go at my own pace!

Have you had to start selling in a different way than usual for example a bar or restaurant selling beer or food online?

Unfortunately not. I haven’t been able to generate any income. I have however been very lucky in the fact that a lot of my clients have prepaid for their appointments. This has baked me to pay for ppe and colour stock.

If applicable how important has any funding (arts, government, etc.) been to keep going and was it hard to get hold of?

It’s been a very poor experience (pun intended) overall I feel like I was utterly alone from a financial point of view.

Was your type of business one of the ones that fell through the cracks in funding opportunities?

Yes it certainly was. I didn’t have enough tax records to make a claim.

Have you done/are doing any crowdfunding for your business or organisation or selling gift vouchers, special products, etc.?

Gift Vouchers

How much has support from the community been important such as people buying local, supporting crowdfunders, etc.?

A lot of my regular clients have supported me by pre paying for their appointments.

Have you or are you having to adapt to new ways of working such as moving your business online or doing classes, events or seminars by Zoom or similar?

We’ve had to refurbish the salon to allow for social distancing. We are limited to a certain number of bodies in the salon at any one time which will directly impact how much money we can make.

If you are using a new selling platform or platforms for products, bookings, vouchers, etc. please specify

Fresha booking app

What are the digital tools that you have you been using or are intending to use?

• Zoom, Microsoft Teams or similar
• YouTube
• Instagram

Have you added new products related to Covid-19 such as masks, etc.?

Yes we stock masks if they are requested by a client. All staff are required by law to wear a visor. We’ve also had to install hand sanitizer units at each entrance. Perspex glass will divide each section for further protection.