Rising utility bills, hikes in rental rates and increases in product costs – it’s safe to say that business has been an ongoing struggle for SMEs. But with the cost of living crisis set to continue through the winter and beyond, BABTAC (The British Association of Beauty Therapy & Cosmetology), warns of the devastating implications for the beauty industry.
The Impact of Rising Bills
Speaking to its members, BABTAC found that 93.58% of salon owners had seen a considerable increase in rent and utility rates in the past year, with 10% of these facing a 200% increase, 40% a 100% increase and 44% a 50% increase. Increases that will ultimately impact the consumer, as treatment prices are set to increase as a result.
Lesley Blair MBE, CEO and Chairperson of BABTAC, says: “The cost of living crisis and rise in energy prices is affecting everyone and is of course a huge concern for many beauty businesses. We’re hearing from our members that the ongoing strain of bills is just another blow to those who have already had to contend with the negative impact of the pandemic, which was estimated to be an average financial loss of £11,603 on earnings."
To find a cheaper energy rate, businesses are having to become savvier when choosing their provider, however it seems this isn’t so easy to navigate in the uncertain climate. Gemma Holt, owner of Lily’s Beauty Salon comments: “The difficultly we experienced when trying to switch energy suppliers this time around, was that there were very few companies that wanted to supply us as a business. One company even agreed a price, only to later say they could not supply us due to the fact we are a beauty salon, and therefore considered too high risk.”
Low Consumer Confidence in the Economy is Resulting in Lost Custom, Which Could Mean Business Closures
It’s not only rising costs that are affecting beauty businesses, but also consumer spending - with the ongoing increasing energy price hikes, according to Dija Ayodele, Aesthetician, and founder of West Room Aesthetics, consumers are less likely to invest in luxuries such as beauty treatments.
“We operate in the lifestyle sector of the economy meaning that beauty is one of the first things to cut if the cost of living is high,” she says. “Many business owners that I speak to are already facing unforeseen mounting bills and are having to increase prices, resulting in cancellations from regular customers, with some facing the prospect of job losses and even imminent closure should the situation not improve.”
Safety Risks for Consumers as They Opt For Cheaper, Unregulated Treatments
With purse strings tightening, there are also concerns that consumers may decide to book in for low-cost treatments with non-accredited establishments that pose risks to their safety or attempt at-home DIY beauty.
Dija says, “I worry that because of dropping confidence in the economy, consumers will opt for cheaper treatment solutions that may pose risks to their health.”
Lesley Blair MBE agrees, stating: “You pay for standards and unfortunately cheaper treatments could potentially mean cheaper quality, be this in terms of qualification, products, or insurance. If something seems too good to be true, it often is, so we strongly recommend if you have any doubt to seek a professional’s advice.”
The lack of legislation in the UK beauty industry currently means there is nothing to stop someone with little or no training establishing themselves as a seemingly professional therapist, which could lead to botched jobs and potentially dangerous complications. This ongoing issue is why in January, BABTAC launched T.I.M.E., their first consumer safety campaign at the Houses of Parliament. The initiative aims to give consumers a really easy way to understand and remember the things that they should be asking their beauty therapist when going for beauty treatments, to ensure they get the best possible experience possible, and better protect themselves.
A regulatory checklist, T.I.M.E will provide the framework necessary to ensure that consumers are aware of what to be mindful of and help them to choose evidence-based, professional fit for purpose services, whilst minimising any risk.
- TRAINING – What training and qualifications, including continual professional development (CPD) do you and all your staff have?
- INSURANCE – Are you insured & who by?
- MONITORING – Do you carry out important pre and post appointment processes such as patch tests, consultations & aftercare?
- EVIDENCE – Can you provide certified proof of training and insurance and client testimonials?
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