On the 1st of March 2020 Nuangle launched its brand new e-commerce website for clinics to place their online orders. As with the rest of the world, the Corona Virus shock wave hit South Africa and life as we know it would never be the same again.
Our NuAngle team kept communicating with our clients, and we realized very early on that we needed to change our website from a normal website to an e-commerce website to enable our clinics to continue selling products during the lockdown.
This has helped Skin Laser Lab tremendously and they have decided to share their success story with us.
I opened my Aesthetic clinic in Moreletapark on the 1st of February 2019. My vision and mission are to offer high-quality treatments, home scripts, and advice. We also place great emphasis on ethical practice when it comes to our pricing and programs.
On 28 March, when the country went into total lockdown, it put a huge amount of stress on our industry (and all other small businesses). I was privileged enough to have a team working with me who understood that we had a mountain in front of us and that we would need to take hands to get through this. Steps we took going into the lockdown were to ultimately ensure that the clinic would be in a position to open doors again once lockdown lifted.
To do this we had to sit together and roll out our game plan. Like most new clinics (and other small businesses) we do not yet have a 3-month back-up fund for times of need. Our game plan (and all the obstacles so far) looks like this: We paid our last full salaries on 25 March 2020 and gave out letters to the staff stating that they would need to do careful financial planning since we would only be able to pay salaries again once we’re open. We applied to the UIF/TERS fund (Unfortunately we have received no feedback or payments as yet). We applied for the small business funding programs, but we were declined with no explanation given. This is very sad, but this is the reality we face now.
We received a letter from our Nuangle representative on the 20th of April 2020 stating that we can start retailing to our clients and the stock will be delivered to their homes….THIS WAS THE BEST NEWS EVER, especially after the bad news from the funding and UIF departments. We quickly corresponded with our clients and got a few sales in that assisted the staff to at least earn commission while awaiting feedback from UIF regarding pay-outs. This assisted with running costs excluding salaries and general maintenance. Running cost doesn’t pause or go away when we are closed and unfortunately and we MUST try to somehow bring that in every month until we can operate again.) In April the service and help from Nuangle as well as the work done by my team at Skin Laser Lab helped tremendously. May is still uncertain. We will use these tough times to grow, improve our knowledge on the skin and the skin conditions we encounter daily so that we are in a position to give even better advice during the lockdown and improve our treatments after the pandemic has passed.
We will all learn again to not take small things for granted and to be grateful for others and our health. We will learn empathy; this pandemic has shown us how every individual in the workforce is linked and that no one can survive without the other, no matter the job description… we all need each other for financial survival. On the other hand, for mental survival …. that is in your hands and your greater belief… we got disconnected from ourselves during the hustle to survive financially … I feel we should use this dark time to self-reflect, connect, and grow into the humans we were born to be. This will have an immensely positive outcome on life, our livelihood, business, future generations, and the world. IMAGINE mentally and physically healthy humans coming out of the pandemic, picking up the pieces and taking hands in empathy, with gratefulness and positivity…. I know it sounds like moonshine and roses, but after all, is said and done, it is possible. We can not become complacent, feel sorry for ourselves or become entitled.
We need to make the best of our situation daily (because it is changing daily now) Here is something I carry with me and try to focus on this during my days of feeling down: WE DON’T HAVE THE POWER TO CHANGE ALL SITUATIONS OR THINGS HAPPENING, BUT WE DO HAVE THE POWER IN HOW WE RESPOND TO SITUATIONS OR THINGS HAPPENING, SO USE YOUR POWER WELL.
To my fellow Clinic owners, Aestheticians, Somatologists, and support staff, hang in there! Try not to get too involved in the politics and negative forums. Try not to pour petrol on your fire. Try to read positive, inspirational books (at least a page a day) Try to focus on using the time to grow in yourself and reconnect with yourself. I know it is tough. It is tough not being able to do what we love right now, it is tough to have staff at home with no salary and not much help from the government. It is tough as owners not getting in any income with overheads and personal expenses to cover to ensure doors can open again. It is a tough situation and we don’t have much control over it, we only have control over how we react to each obstacle and scenario coming up each day. Our industry (as well as many other industries) will never be the same again, we will have to come up with new and creative ways of doing what we love.
We will have to be innovative and think outside the box. The possible obstacles we will face in the next 12 months:
• A great number of our clients will have lost their jobs and won’t have any income.
• A great number of our clients will still have their jobs, but with less income
• General living costs will escalate with the economic struggle
• The amount of money that was available in the economy to spend on self-care will be significantly less
• Our service (although we and many clients see it as an essential service) is not classified as essential, (life or death) To most people our service is classified as a luxury.
• The time will come where our clients will need to cut out our services from their budget to pay for essential things…. food, medical aid, school fees, accommodation, and travel. How will we counteract these obstacles?
• Going back to basics and offering packages with just a cleanser, serum (skin-specific) and sunblock
• Cutting back on treatment cost and offering base treatments without the bells and whistles
• Possibly working from home and doing online consultations at reduced rates to cut on running costs such as rent
• Presenting workshops to educate clients on how the skin works and how they can treat diseases like acne, melasma, premature aging, etc. without wasting money.
• Lay-buy payment options for clients
• If we remove some of the luxuries add on sales (to cut costs to clients and make it more affordable) and only do the essential parts in treatments and home scripts, we may have a market and may be able to still do what we love – helping clients with skin diseases improve their conditions and quality of life.
I am not sure yet how and what we will come up with, but I know we will find our way and adapt – we don’t have a choice. I am thinking and praying for all the salon owners, the staff, the suppliers, the clients …. everyone affected by this pandemic. Stay strong, stay focused, adapt, don’t let this destroy you or your passion. EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON…. EVERYTHING! SO, USE YOUR POWER WELL.
Skin Laser Lab