South Africa: Business of Beauty - How the Industry Is Adapting During the Covid-19 Pandemic


Going to a salon for manicures, waxing and spa treatments may have been the norm for many before the pandemic, but Covid-19 precautions have changed everything and the beauty service industry is trying to keep up and survive.

First published in the Daily Maverick 168 weekly newspaper.

"We are a 'touch' business whereby 100% of our treatments involve physical contact and touch from our therapists and nail technicians," said David Simmons, a spokesperson for the Sorbet Group, which operates beauty salons across South Africa.

"The beauty industry as a whole was hit badly over the past year and the losses were substantial," Simmons said, explaining that, although the market has been very strained, loyal customers have been returning.

The company had introduced a number of strategies to "boost customer morale", including vouchers and a loyalty programme.

Emilia Yankey, a nail technician at Biltina dreadlocks salon in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, said that, before the pandemic, business was always good. "But since last year, business [has been] very, very bad because most of the clients have lost their jobs."

Yankey said that some customers no longer saw the need for doing their nails when they were working from home or not going out...

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