Without small business, we’re nothing. TheLatch— and GoDaddy have teamed up to rally behind local businesses and entrepreneurs during this unprecedented time of change.
We’re speaking to small businesses and entrepreneurs across the country to better understand how they’re adapting to stay open, how they’re keeping their community safe, and how we can support them now during this time, and beyond. We’re focused on keeping Australia open for business, even if doors are closed. #OpenWeStand
Tiarna Carmont is a freelance hair stylist who is no stranger to adversity.
After the salon she worked for went under, she was let go without warning and was left jobless. That’s when she started her own freelance business, utilising her website created using GoDaddy tools and support. Having a website is definitely a game changer for Tiarna.
Specialising in men’s hair, she’s styled quite a few famous faces, from Troye Sivan and Dave Franco to Ian Thorpe and Guy Sebastian. She runs her business out of a freelance salon in Sydney’s CBD — which has recently been impacted by the government’s restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Thankfully, Tiarna’s found a way to remain positive and business-focused despite not being able to work. She’s focusing on the future, and how she can use this time to maintain relationships with her customers, explaining “we need to take care of one another, we’re all in this together.”
We caught up with Tiarna to chat about her long career styling hair, how COVID-19 is going to change the hair and beauty industry, and to see how she’s coping as a new business owner during these challenging times.
TheLatch— Hi Tiarna! Let’s start from the very beginning! Can you tell me a little bit about your business?
Tiarna Carmont: My business story pretty much starts out when the salon I worked for was unfortunately forced into liquidation and closed, due to some tardy business decisions which occurred in the last 12 months of my employment.
I was given no notice and just told to come collect my belongings. I decided to take the leap and go out on my own as a freelance hairstylist and I haven’t looked back since.
I always try to make the best out of a bad situation and saw the opportunity to do better, teach better and become better. And now a year later that’s exactly what I’m doing.
TL: Where about are you based? As you’re freelance, do you work in a salon or from home or on the road?
TC: I work in a salon in the city, in Sydney. It’s located within the Sofitel Wentworth hotel. It’s a part of the hotel. But, the place I work at is not mine, it’s a freelance salon.
Everybody who works there is their own boss and has their own individual business and clientele so it’s works a bit different to a normal salon.
The great thing about being a freelance hairstylist is you get the perks of running your own business — and the freedom — without the overheads of owning an actual salon. It’s still a lot of work but all worth it!
“The great thing about being a freelance hairstylist is you get the perks of running your own business — and the freedom — without the overheads.”
TL: I saw that you specialise in men’s hairdressing and you’ve styled quite a few famous faces. Can you name a few?
TC: Yes I have! Most of them are public figures — TV stars, actors and musicians — including Troye Sivan, Guy Sebastian, Jai Courtney, The Rubens, Disclosure, Ian Thorpe, Grant Hackett, Dave Franco and Tim Dormer. I’ve also worked with Miranda Kerr’s family as well.
Throughout the years I’ve also had a significant amount of editorial work published in GQ and I’ve worked with a number of brands such as M.J. Bale and Ermenegildo Zegna and Tom Ford — to name a few. I’ve done Vogue Fashion’s Night Out for the past few years and have also worked doing hair backstage for runways. I love what I do!
TL: When it comes to your digital presence, how has that helped your business?
TC: Branching out and having a website is definitely a game changer and it’s given me the ability to communicate with potential clients and clients I already have. I’m also able to take bookings via Instagram, if people DM me there. And, it also allows me to throw my own personality into everything I create online.
“Having a website is definitely a game changer and it’s given me the ability to communicate with potential clients.”
TL: When did your business first start to feel the effects of COVID-19?
TC: The whole coronavirus situation definitely crept up on me. In the second week of March, my clients were asking if I had been affected and my reply was ‘I’ll only be majorly affected if people go into isolation or quarantine’. Then, that happened. No one was coming into the city and all of my clients were working from home.
I’ve decided to actually shut up shop for the next four weeks. It’s the safest option for me and my clientele, as there is a hotel only metres away that is now a place to quarantine people flying back from overseas.
TL: Was it a hard decision to stop working for the next few weeks?
TC: Definitely! In some ways, I didn’t want to close as we’re still considered essential workers. We’re allowed to be working but with all of my clients being corporate and the majority of them now working from home, there’s just no point having it open for the next few weeks until people start returning to work.
TL: Have you had to pivot your business? Or change the way you work?
TC: I don’t think I’ve had to change up or switch my direction really. I’ve always practiced the highest level of hygiene in the salon.
I’ve just needed to assure my guests I care about their health and safety more than ever and want them to know I’m practicing the highest standard of hygiene and infection control at all times — for my guests and myself.
TL: You’re going to be shut for at least the next few weeks, what are you up to during this time?
TC: Mainly I’m just online and still interacting with my clients. I’m not working directly with clients, but updating my website and Instagram.
I’ve been messaging with my clients, and keeping lines of communication open. I’m currently taking bookings from May 1 onwards, but I’ll reevaluate when the time gets closer.
TL: How can customers support your business in the short term?
TC: Continue showing support online by engaging with my Instagram page.
And, most importantly, when all of this COVID-19 stuff is over, come back and continue to support the salon in person.
TL: Do you think the way you operate your business will be changed for good?
TC: Definitely, I think everyone — not just in the hair and beauty industry — will change in some way. And if those ways make everything safer, then I’m ready to take that on.
TL: What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs?
TC: To try and keep going. I understand how difficult this time is.
Reach out to people for emotional support. That has been really important for me. Whether it’s your family or a friend, or just being open and honest with your clients. You don’t need to carry everything on yourself.
TL: What do you think we will all learn from this experience?
TC: I hope the importance of being there for each other. Australia coming together for small business and Australian-owned products and protecting our own. We need to take care of one another, we’re all in this together.
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