Hair-dly coping | 

Salon boss says pent-up demand is 'nuts' with appointments booked up for months

'We're booked out until the end of July, that's our next available spot'
Alan Keville said one customer rang 425 times

Alan Keville said one customer rang 425 times

Neil Fetherstonhaugh

Well-known Irish salon owner Alan Keville has described the pent-up demand for his services as “nuts”.

As his three salons prepare to open on Monday as the latest Covid restrictions are lifted, Alan revealed how he is totally booked out until the end of July.

“Yeah, it’s been crazy,” he said. “Like we’re booked out until the end of July, that’s our next available spot.”

Alan admitted that he was a “bit nervous” about the prospect of opening as he thought that the black market that has been flourishing during lockdown may have taken away a lot of his business.

He had previously claimed that some hairdressers could have been clearing as much as “a grand a week” as they benefit from PUP payments while doing nixers on the side.

Stock image

Stock image

“Hairdressing salons are closed, 100 per cent, but the suppliers are only down 50 per cent,” Alan told “So basically that means 50 per cent are getting their hair done somewhere.

“So, I was nervous about opening up this time because there were so many people doing mixers that I thought a lot of hair would have been done by the time we got chance to reopen,” he said.

“But myself and my wife Alex, we're full, like literally until the end of July.

“What we did was we started calling everyone who already had appointments our regulars, people who would have been in every two or three weeks. People whose hair we would have been doing for years.

“So we have them a buzz to make sure they're sorted first and then we opened up the book. Pretty much every salon was full as soon as we opened up the book last Monday.”

“I was checking the Google business app and I think there were like 6,000 people that looked us up within the last two weeks. Wexford had 3,000 hits, so I was really happy. it looks really good and I'm really excited about getting back to work.”

Alan added: “I'd say we’ve booked in 2,000 people in the last week across all three salons alone. I was also a little bit nervous as well because we were closed for so long that I was thinking, ‘how am I gonna get back to normal, how do we get that routine again’ because we hadn’t done it for so long.

“And then, with bookings being so busy in the first week it was like, ‘Oh my God this is actually really good’. And now I’m really happy.

“I'm really looking forward to getting back. Now, I’m knackered already, cleaning and organising the salons and getting them in shape and getting everything sorted.

“The last time we were open was four months ago, on Christmas Eve so I’ll be nervous opening the door. I’ll be hoping the first customer is a regular, someone we know and not a new client and it’s a super easy job. Luckily most of our business is regular customers so that makes is so much easier because you now everybody.

Alan added that all his 35 staff are back: “Everyone’s back, every single person that was there before is back.”

Last Friday morning, the Penneys portal for booking shopping appointments ahead of the full re-opening of non-essential retail went live.

However, there are limits to how many people can shop per hour and the amount of time they can shop for.

Eager shoppers clicking on the Primark link are brought to a booking page where they can select a store location.

Instructions on the page indicate that you first find your local store and book an appointment.

"We kindly ask that for each time slot allocated, only one customer attends,” the instruction reads.

“Only one booking should be made per person. Persons under 12 do not require a booking but must be accompanied by an adult with a valid booking. Appointment bookings are subject to availability. Primark holds the right to not accept certain bookings.”

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