By Emily Mullen
From chock-a-blocked booking systems to spiralling site visits, we hear how businesses around the city are coping with the influx of appointments and the prospect of reopening.
Based on nothing but some tweets from Virgin Media reporters, rumours of an ease to restrictions and whispers about opening dates were rife over the last few days. With the rumours, fears about bookings grew, thoughts ran thick and fast “should we book something?” “what if it’s booked out?”, in hindsight these thoughts were irrational since there was no information on what could be booked and when. This fear was based purely on an awareness that the thing being opened would be finite and that there would be queues of determined people willing to dig their bony elbows into your side for a nail appointment. The systems were also not in place to even allow the booking to take place, businesses were holding their breath- after being burned by the logistical nightmare of an endless cycle of restrictions and reopenings too often. This reopening feels different though, it finally feels like the last turn of the screw, the last reopening. Taoiseach Micheál Martin’s speech confirmed it to be so, setting us all on a race to book things before the May 10th reopening, a race between untinted, pale, hairy, bare nailed and bedraggled men and women all armed with sharp elbows.
We caught up with some Dublin businesses trying to calmly arrange bookings in this fracas while sweeping the dust from their shopfronts and arranging themselves for reopening:
“People are SWEATING to get their bookings in,” Andrea Horan of Tropical Popical on South William Street told us customers of her nail salon have been using all means of contact to get through and secure a booking, DMs, emails and social media. Despite the fast-filling inboxes, Horan admitted it’s been “such a buzz since the dates have been pulled forward”.
The pandemic has taught her to “err on the side of caution when it comes to opening our bookings” and despite rumours of the announcement yesterday, Horan decided to wait before an official announcement before “opening our bookings till it’s set in stone. So once that official announcement comes through, we’ll open up our online bookings.”
“We’re so ready for this,” Horan said of reopening, “words cannot explain the relief that we finally have an opening date again. It’s not just financially that we’ve been impacted, our purpose, joy, sociability and intention was stripped away when we were closed. You can work so hard on changing mindset to handle that, but the energy just doesn’t align, no matter how focused on tactics and coping mechanisms you are. So there’s an actual energy change that is palpable.”
Preparing Tropical Popical for reopening after several months has been “the easy bit” Horan explained that the salon’s initial opening in 2012 taught her to be pretty unflappable, “we had no polishes so if we end up with no products, we’ll know how to manage”. Horan said her staff are “buzzing to get back so we’re all just set to make it work”. On a basic level, Horan is most looking forward to being able to “see and talk to clients”.
Nails are not the only thing Dubliners are clambering to get done, with hair undoubtedly being high on the agenda, Rory from Cowboys & Angels Hairdressing on South William Street noted a dramatic rise in interest for their ladies hair salon. “I can safely say that our online booking system and website has never seen such a huge spike in activity with almost 600 clients visits to our home page after last nights announcement,” he said.
“Bookings have been absolutely insane which is a really great thing for us of course,” Aidan from Neighbourhood Threat in Fade Street told us, “our booking system crashed a few times due to the amount of traffic when we announced we were good to go. So yeah it’s pressure but the good kind,” he added.
A certain amount of jitters were unsurprising after so long out of the business, “After 5 months sitting on our arses we’re dying to get back, seeing the reaction online has been extremely reassuring as well,” Aidan said.
Unsurprisingly Aidan will have his work cut out when his customers return to the chair, this is something he’s positive about “looking forward to fixing all the mangled DIY jobs and just catching up with all our lovely clients”.
With an established team, Aidan is optimistic about reopening Neighbourhood Threat, “we’ve got some of the best barbers Ireland has to offer and the standard around the country is really strong so I’m really grateful to have them on board.”
Any issues with supplies, Aidan added, “ah sure we’ll just wing it like we usually do. What could possibly go wrong!”.
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