Annelise’s 2020 started off with a bang. Her new business Ace of Shaves opened in February with a branded campervan and an impressive 40 motorcycles. From day one the business made a big impression on the local community in Waddesdon, Buckinghamshire.
However just a few weeks into trading, lockdown happened and Annelise’s carefully laid business plans were sent into disarray.
For Annelise not being able to build personal relationships in the early days of the business was the hardest part. “Because of lockdown I just didn’t get the chance to build a rapport with any of my clients,” she explains. “I really only got one cut with each my clients, maybe two maximum, before we had to close. All we could do was spread the word about the new shop on social media and we put up extra signage around the village advertising where the barbershop was.”
To keep the new barbershop front of mind, Annelise decided to film a series of tutorials for clients on how to maintain their hair during lockdown. “It was more about what NOT to do, rather than what to do,” she says. Annelise heard back from parents of sons, in particular, that this was a great help. “It was a bit of fun to start off with, but lots of mums messaged me saying it was really helpful.”
Financially, things were tense though. “I was draining money
left right and centre, there was no rent relief on the shop and I
had to get stocked up on PPE for reopening!” she describes.
But Annelise knew she had to keep on moving. “During lockdown we converted the backroom into a VIP Jungle Room. There are fruit machines, carpeted floors, comfy armchairs and lots of greenery,” she adds. “We’re going to be offering anti-ageing masks, spa treatments and Indian head massages.”
Like barbershops up and down the country, Ace of Shaves has been overwhelmed with bookings just as lockdown lifted. “There was lots of pressure to serve clients post lockdown,” Annelise says. “People were really receptive to booking and I’ve not increased prices.
”However just because it’s been busy since reopening, it doesn’t mean everything can pick up exactly where Annelise left it back in March when they had to close. The barbershop is located in a traditional village, which not only relies on the local community, but also tourists who come to the village to view Waddesdon Manor, an impressive stately home. With the grounds being shut for much of the year, even when the barbershop reopened on 4 July there was much less through traffic than usual.
In terms of how Annelise wants to finish out the year, taking on a member of staff is a key progression. As is making sure she’s a permanent fixture of the local community. “I want to cement myself within the village,” she says. “I can’t wait until all the fêtes and events start up. The campervan needs to come out again!”