Re-Entering the Workforce

 1. Coming together as a community.

First is that we hold the success of their business as our primary concern. Without them there would be no us, and that shouldn’t be a platitude or nostrum; we must believe it and build everything else upon it. So while you may have a particular opinion re the severity or lack of severity of viral spread, be sensitive of the situation your clients are in. They have ALL been struggling for the past few months so don’t raise prices, insist there’s no problem, or attempt a business-as-usual approach.

Remember you won’t be able to operate as quickly as usual. Proactively incorporating personal protection into your work methods will take more time. Don’t treat it as a burden but with the attitude that together we will get through this. The last thing people want to hear is woes about not working and making money.

2. Following health code regulations.

    Health is a top priority not just for you but for your customers as well. Each business owner, stylist, sharpener should be following the rules and regulations set by their state. This means keeping your tools and products clean, wearing a mask, and following occupancy limitations per room.

Disinfecting by extended immersion for anything is not a good idea. The chemicals can weaken, corrode and disintegrate resin and metal. Quickly immerse your comb or clip (or shear) in the solution and then rinse with water before setting on a dry, washed and unused towel. This process, including changing of the towel, should be repeated for every client. 

As for disinfecting multiple combs and brushes in batches, we would suggest you dip and rinse, and then layer the tools in dry, washed and unused towel before storing it all in a plastic bin with lid. Prior to inserting the layered bundle, the inside of the bin and lid can be sprayed with disinfectant for added insurance. 

Regarding disinfecting brushes, if they are wooden brushes use a spray disinfectant, rinse and place on a dry, washed and unused towels. Layering the brush or brushes in the towel is recommended, but allowing to air dry per the ambient temperature of the room is preferred.  enclosing the wet wooden brush in the box is not suggested, as the wood tends to absorb water and will not dry. 

Be proactive with PPE (personal protective equipment) for yourself and your business methods. Go a step farther and offer PPE at cost to your clients. There are many reliable sellers of PPE in the beauty industry and take advantage of specials they are offering now. 

3.    Alert your clients.

     Make your personal protection a calling card to your clients. Have you gone to Starbucks and seen how they hand your orders over?  They use a clear plastic tray to minimize contact. There are lots of best practices out there that you can invest in and incorporate into your work process. Let them know the dates you expect to re-open (or if you are already currently open), hours of operation, and what precautions you are taking to ensure their health and safety.

All social media accounts should be updated on your hours of operation, workplace policies, and scheduling. If you’re already open or if you expect to be so soon, let them know! If you are accepting mail-in’s or drop-off’s make sure your customers know how to proceed.

Set up appointments with your customers/clients. Creating an online appointment calendar will help you and your customers. This way, they won’t have to wait in lines, making sure to keep your occupancy to a minimum. If you’re not as tech savvy, just having them text you! The important action is to have customers set up appointments and avoiding walk-ins.

4.    Preparing for an influx of customers

    As people return to work, you will be met with an influx of customers. Be prepared with the proper tools and operating system you will need to function.

A few stylists are using different sets of tools with different customers (shears, combs, etc.) in order to keep their tools sanitized while being able to manage increased bookings.

By having an organized method of communicating with your customers, setting up appointments, and a steady supply of tools/products needed; you can be prepared to re-enter the workforce.

We here at the IBSA are wishing everyone a healthy transition back into the workforce. While work may never be the same again, we will always be here for you.

Survey #2: Federal Aid


Thank you all so much for participating in our second survey! We have some great feedback and informative links we’d like to share with you all.

The main federal aid packages sharpeners are taking advantage of are:

  1. Stimulus Checks
  2. Payment Protection Program (Click here for tips on the application process)         Sole Proprietorship (Tips)
  3. Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) or 10K Loan giving advanced loans of $10,000 within a few business days

Unfortunately, only 15% of our audience have received any sort of financial aid. Which leads to our second question, WHEN?

  1. Most, if not all, citizens making under $75,000 should have already received their stimulus checks. If you have not received your stimulus check, follow this link.
  2. Once a PPP loan application is approved, the business should receive disbursement from their lender within 10 days.
  3. EIDL loans were initially promised to be released within three business days but because of the overflow of requests, the SBA has no secured timeline.

The IBSA Board recommends caution when submitting any and all paperwork for loans and grants. Incorrect information or misunderstanding of grant requirements could cause fines in later months.

What many sharpeners are finding useful is through the use of social media and digital marketing they are connecting with former and new clients while staying safe and healthy.

A few sharpeners have reported that business is starting to pick up again as a few states are preparing for partial re-openings this Friday, May 1st. As business begins to pick up, you need to show that you are available and ready for work. Sending out emails, messages or social media posts can make all the difference.

Whether you are up and ready to start work again or proceeding with a bit more caution, the IBSA is here for you. If you have any questions or thoughts feel free to contact us below.

The IBSA is also looking for other sharpeners to participate in our YouTube channel. Feel free to share any tip you’d like and film with any tools you have at your disposal and contact us with any questions. Our goal is to create, share, and learn despite being limited by our situation.

We thank everyone who participated in our survey. Please stay safe and healthy during these difficult times and know that we are here for you.

Survey #1: Facing COVID-19


  • 34% said no effect on business but were quick to emphasize “YET”
  • 55% said they have been affected
  • Multiple complaints about struggles with delivery services


  • Switching to electronic payment/cash in ziplock’s
  • Market with diversity and enthusiasm
  • Marketing sharpening during stylist’s down time while they can be without tools
  • Offering services on e-bay
  • Offering drop off’s/mail in
  • Connect mental health with hair styling (see quote below)
  • Communicating via Facebook and Instagram
  • Provide lockers or locations for drop off and pick up
  • Focus on knife/garden tool sharpening as interests change
  • “NO CONTACT PLAN”: update website with mail-in option on webpage
  • Offer discounts for advanced bookings for large groups
  • Collecting leads and messaging them inquiries to set up drop-off/pickup’s
  • Offering 10% off during April