Cork salons say they are losing clients as they refuse ‘black market’ appointments

Cork salons say they are losing clients as they refuse ‘black market’ appointments

A number of Cork hair salons have revealed they have lost several clients after refusing to take their business underground to facilitate “black market” appointments.

A NUMBER of Cork hair salons have revealed they have lost several clients after refusing to take their business underground to facilitate “black market” appointments.

Salon owner Caroline Bell
Salon owner Caroline Bell

Many fear that the longer the lockdown continues, the more clients they will lose to the black market. Caroline Bell, who owns the Hair Salon in Cobh opened up about her fears of losing clients to black-market hairdressers.

“People were ringing me to ask if I would do their hair,’ she said.

“I’m meeting clients who are avoiding me on the street because they have had their colour done. I’m going to lose a huge percentage of clients when I’m back. However, what I’m gaining is people who respect others for following the rules. This time around everybody has Covid fatigue but the situation is still the same. Flouting restrictions like this is so disrespectful to frontline workers. I always say that the doctor hooking you up to a ventilator isn’t going to care about the colour of your roots.”

Caroline said that her only option now is to keep going. “It’s going on so long now that I can’t let myself be dragged down by it. I can’t let it into my soul. However, I do feel it is devaluing our trade. I gave up my Covid payment so I could sell hair products online and continue working. It’s soul-destroying to know that there are people out there putting €1,000 a week in their pocket on top of their PUP payment. For me, it’s an insult to people who are trying to keep their business alive.

“When we finally return we are going to struggle with our prices because of those charging less who have no overheads or insurance. The hairdresser travelling to houses during lockdown isn’t the one contributing towards the Christmas lights in your area. It’s small businesses who are constantly supporting their community and now they are losing out. Businesses have been left on their own.”

Joseph Byrne of Joseph's Hair and Beauty Salon, Glasheen. Pic; Larry Cummins.
Joseph Byrne of Joseph's Hair and Beauty Salon, Glasheen. Pic; Larry Cummins.

Joseph Byrne of Joseph’s Hair Salon in Glasheen said the issue is also affecting his business.

“Hairdressing has become a goldmine for the black market,” he said.

“This is not fair on people like ourselves. There are clients returning to the person who obliged them during lockdown and it’s destroying it for the rest of us. During the lifting of restrictions last year I had clients coming back to me in need of repair jobs. They admitted they were desperate. It can be frustrating that there are people out there willing to do it.”

Mick Moriarty. Pic: Eddie O'Hare
Mick Moriarty. Pic: Eddie O'Hare

Mick Moriarty from the Baldy Barber in Blackpool said he is often approached to carry out housecalls.

‘It’s happening big time. A lot of people are very concerned. Barbers are even changing their profession because they don’t see a way back.”

He said he is often asked to travel to people’s houses during lockdown.

“One man offered me €50 to come to his house and do his hair. I was just out walking when he approached me. I reminded him that this could result in a €1,000 fine.”

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