Inglewood’s Beauty Industry – On the Brink of Extinction ?

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By Jon G. Mickens, Special to Inglewood Today

Entering 2020, the vibrance and future prosperity of Inglewood’s business growth was skyrocketing. 

A brand new stadium with the Rams and Chargers ready to move in, a flourishing event venue in The Forum Presented by Chase, discussions of billionaire Steve Balmer bringing his NBA Clippers franchise to Inglewood and the consistent rise in business growth Inglewood achieves year in and year out driven by the leadership of the Honorable Mayor T. Butts Jr. 

When the smoke clears from COVID-19, there is no doubt these business will pivot and experience huge success.  However, there is one sector of our business community that is still in the balance of how or if it will ever bounce back from this devastating virus from a pandemic standpoint and business perspective. 

That sector is the Inglewood Beauty Industry.  With over a combined 120 beauty salons, barbershops and nail shops in the City of Inglewood that have been closed for months, how do these businesses bounce back? 

Additionally, moving forward it may be months before these businesses receive clearance from the Governor and Los Angeles Department of Public Health to reopen…not to mention potential increased costs based on state mandates with respect to additional staffing for monitoring, chemical resources for sanitizing and remodeling to accommodated social distancing as well as other measures to prevent the spread of the virus.

Hidden within the devastation of this business pandemic scenario are the beauticians, barbers and nail artists of Inglewood. 

With the aforementioned closures, these licensed professionals have been out of work and heavily impacted beyond measure.  Most of our beauty stylists will not be extended any form of stimulus packages and/or unemployment like some of the businesses and traditional non-working people.  Finding assistance as an independent contractor, entrepreneur and/or licensed beauty professional is like finding a needle in a hay stack. 

Then, finding out the eye of the needle is closed. 

Furthermore, with the closure of salons, barbershops and the like, many consumers are now forced to ‘do it yourself – DIY’ professional personal care services.  Inglewood citizens and those outside the city who seek stylish, expertise once easily found within Inglewood now are forced to fend for themselves.  Men and women have flocked to more natural, easy to maintain, or get through COVID-19, hairstyles.  Many have purchased tools and equipment such as scissors, blow dryers, pressing combs, twist sponges, razors, clippers and trimmers in an effort to maintain a well groomed and acceptable appearance at work and In everyday life. 

Also, many have had to learn and deploy their skills of maintaining their nails, be it with or without polish, gel and/or acrylic.  The same applies for foot care with respect to toenails, calluses and general exfoliation. 

These hygienic and health services require highly skilled licensed professionals sanctioned by the California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology but the thinking at the state and local government is to shut down these businesses. 

Think about this… these establishments consists of licensed professionals that are educated, trained and skilled at sanitizing, disinfecting and sterilizing as noted by the curriculum, guidelines and certification set forth by the California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology but yet other businesses and individuals with no health credentials are able to provide services during this pandemic?

What is next for Inglewood’s Beauty Industry and the people who have fueled such a booming growth over the years? 

What happens to our best in class service providers that are a life line in our community? 

What will happen to the 120 beauty salons, barbershops and nail shops in the City of Inglewood? 

Do the citizens of Inglewood take its beauty and personal care dollars to other cities? 

And most importantly, what happens to the vast number licensed professionals and aspiring beauty and barber students and their livelihoods and desire to serve in and with our community?

Despite being a California State organization disbursing the licenses, there is no systemic plan of leadership action.  Locally, there is no platform, organization or rally point for this industry or the professionals in Inglewood. 

There are a lot of questions and too few real answers. 

One thing is certain…in order for us not to lose what Inglewood has enjoyed, which is great beauty service, we need to support our beauticians, barbers and nail stylist now more than ever.

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