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Alert Level 2 ‘feels like Christmas time’

Lockdowns have impacted businesses across New Zealand in ways that are negative and, for some, positive — The Beauty Depot in Gisborne has experienced both, says owner Juana Vincent.

Like most businesses throughout New Zealand, Ms Vincent says that during a lockdown their beauty and skincare business suffered major loss due to temporary closure.

“We are a service-based business, 70 percent of our income comes from treating clients in the salon — so when we are closed, our business loses the majority of its income.

“At Level 4 our business income reduced by 100 percent. And during Level 3 we could only operate our sales operations which didn't help us earn even 10 percent of our usual weekly income.

“Our No.1 treatment is shaping eyebrows, a service where we see at least a couple of dozen clients each day. It is our bread and butter essentially, it helps us pay most of our outgoings — and when we are in Level 3 and 4, we can't offer that service.”

However, last year's lockdown had a positive impact on the company's online retail service.

“We saw an increase of about 900 percent in website sales in 2020”, said Ms Vincent.

“Since then we have had a much broader interest from around the country.

“And during the recent lockdown, we saw a massive increase in orders particularly from Auckland.”

Another reason for her online sales to spike could be her valued stock, she said.

“We stock high-profile brands from various distributors around New Zealand such as Juvenate Skin Care, Dermalogica and Pure Fiji. We also stock a natural skincare range by Oillee which is made locally in Gisborne.

“Stocking these desirable brands has equally contributed to our increase in website sales, especially during lockdown — which was amazing as we were able to receive some income into the business during that time.

“Although website sales are welcome, unfortunately this does not cover 100 percent of our ongoing expenses. But it certainly assists in keeping the business afloat.”

Ms Vincent said she was very grateful to have her business open fully at Delta Level 2.

“Honestly, it feels like Christmas time, with such an influx of clients who want to come in. I spent 10 hours on the phone on Tuesday (September 7) prior to being able to open, to reschedule three weeks worth of clients — and I assure you they were very happy to hear from us.

“During that time I had to temporarily turn off online bookings so I could give priority to the clients who were already booked with us during the lockdown.

“We have since opened up the online bookings again and at present there is a two-week waiting period to get an appointment.

“We have come from completely being inoperable in Alert Level 4 lockdown to happily busy in Level 2.”

ONLINE SHIFT: Beauty Depot New Zealand owner Juana Vincent says their online retail service grew strongly over both lockdowns, making up for some of the lost income from having to temporarily close their beauty and skincare business. Picture by Rebecca Grunwell