Cork woman with spina bifida reopens accessible beauty salon after lockdown and surgery

Cork woman with spina bifida reopens accessible beauty salon after lockdown and surgery

Sarah Dullea: Determined to rebuild her salon business. Picture: Jim Coughlan

A CORK beautician who created her own accessible salon after struggling to find wheelchair-friendly workplaces has shed light on the struggles of reopening following Covid restrictions.

Sarah Dullea had been attending Crann in Ovens, a centre providing services to young people with spina bifida and hydrocephalus, when she revealed her wish to own a salon. After months of hard graft and preparation, Sarah opened Sarah’s Art of Beauty on the grounds of the organisation.

Business had been booming. However, after a long closure during lockdown, she admitted that rebuilding her clientele list has been a challenge.

The 24-year-old, who has spina bifida, had dreamed of owning a beauty salon since she was a child. From a young age, she was being hired to do nail art for children at birthday parties and refused to let her disability get in the way of a career in beauty.

After overcoming barriers resulting from inaccessibility she took matters into her own hands and became self-employed. Now she is facing significant new challenges as a result of Covid-19.

“I have a few clients but it’s nowhere near as busy as it was before lockdown,” she told The Echo.

“Because it’s an accessible salon some people are under the impression that it’s only for people with disabilities which isn’t the case at all. I’d like to ensure everyone coming in here that this is a place for everybody and not just those with disabilities.”

Sarah has continued working as she waits for a new wheelchair.

“I had surgery so was in hospital from October to December. In a way, it was good timing because I couldn’t work at that time anyway. After leaving the hospital I discovered I had contracted Covid-19. I’m really lucky that it didn’t affect me so I was able to get back to work.

“The thought of opening the salon again kept me going. I’ve been going through these surgeries since I was a baby so I’m used to it at this stage. However, there is always a lot of uncertainty when you’re going through an operation like that. It changes your body so I’m waiting on a new wheelchair at the moment but I’m happy to say the surgery was a huge success.”

The Dunmanway woman is now gearing up for what she hopes will be a busy summer. Bookings for the salon can be made through the Sarah’s Art of Beauty Facebook page and Sarah’s Art of Beauty Instagram page.

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