2020 was a year we started as innocent babes, with a tragedy such as uncontrolled pandemic not even a glimmer in anyone’s eye. Now, at the beginning of this new year, I finally have the presence of mind to look around the rubble and dust of our previous existence to take stock of what’s happening.
Last year we had to restructure the entire salon from top to bottom in order to survive. We were fortunately in a good position to be able to reconfigure, because I’ve always kept Lucky 13 as debt-free, lean, and nimble as possible. (It turns out that the extreme frugality that comes from a parent who has survived war, poverty, and extreme hardship was good preparation for 2020!)
We had to take a hard look at the situation and figure out a way forward that didn’t require going into massive amounts of debt, and that gave everyone more ownership over their choice of when and how much to work. Luckily, being a sole proprietor is relatively common and feasible in our industry, especially later in stylists’ careers. And so, we metamorphosed into being a collective of independent mature artists, each in charge of our own scheduling and finances, but offering each other support at the same time.
I am so grateful for the stylists who have had faith and courage to take the plunge into this new iteration of Lucky 13. The timing was forced by circumstances, but I feel like we have the opportunity to really grow and stretch into a new phase in our careers. The stylists of Lucky 13 are an extraordinary group of talented, experienced, good-hearted people who take their jobs and safety seriously, and I am lucky to have them on board.
It’s not all a bed of roses, mainly because of the ongoing challenges of working in a public-facing profession during a pandemic. For those who have come in since we’ve switched over, you have seen how seriously we take safety, and the social distance and standards we are able to enforce in our new space. But we continue to work under a constant level of stress, where childcare and school is disrupted, everyone’s mental health is under siege, and a single lapse in caution or luck threatens us with infection. Yet throughout it all, I strongly believe we are making the best out of an incredibly difficult situation. I’m really proud of us.
While we are currently in a state of semi-dormancy, getting used to our new set-up and riding out what is hopefully the end of this storm, the seeds have been planted for very promising future growth. We each have the freedom, flexibility, and space to redefine ourselves, to make the most of this rebuilding process on the solid foundation of our last 15 years.
Wishing you health and happiness for the New Year, and if that is not yet possible: strength and survival.