The lockdown has affected every business establishment at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, but fortunately there now seems to be some light at the end of the tunnel. We spoke to three businesses, who looked back on recent months. How do they see the future? We asked Brian (En Vogue), Esther (UP TO DO GOOD) and Shady (Suitsupply).
Brian Jainullah's hair salon, En Vogue, is his passion and his life’s work, and 2020 was looking like a great year for him. And then coronavirus came along. ‘Business was good in the first week of March. Then the next week, we had practically no customers, starting on the Monday. And that’s when I realised – there are some tough times ahead.’ Brian experienced – and survived – the economic recession in 2008. ‘I walked through Schiphol Plaza and it was so quiet. Usually it’s always busy, but that day it was just deserted. Really hard to comprehend.’
The salon stayed open for as long as it could, but then the hairdresser’s association, ANKO, said that it had to close its doors. Brian sat at home, unsure what to do next. ‘My girlfriend helped me out with the government support programmes. And I kept myself busy by keeping in touch with my customers by e-mail and on social media. I thought it was important to let customers know what was going on and which guidelines I would be following when I was able to open again. ANKO recommended adding a surcharge to my prices, but I chose not to do that. I’m still giving my clients the same discount as before the coronavirus crisis, because they’ve had a hard time too.’
In the meantime, he kept in touch with his staff and waited for the good news that they could get back to work. And on 11 May it finally came. ‘I was so happy to be able to get back to Schiphol again. I put up screens in the salon, and stocked up on face masks and sanitiser. And straight away, we were fully booked with appointments. The first few weeks went well, and then things started to tail off again. Now we’ll have to wait for people to come back to the offices, and for the passengers to come back.’
He noticed how happy people were to visit the hairdresser again. The lockdown showed everyone how much they need hairdressers, Brian thinks. ‘People sometimes say that a visit to the hairdresser or the beautician is a luxury, but I don't think so. It’s important to look your best, from head to toe – especially in the business world. You have to take good care of your appearance when you’re working. Hair cuts are part of people’s lives.’