TWO hairdressers who are taking over one of the world’s biggest salon brands have told how they had to completely revise their plan for the new business after the pandemic struck.

Jo Ferguson and her husband Tony, who run Essensuals in Glasgow city centre, have acquired the franchise for Toni & Guy, which will close in St Vincent Street ­after operating at that location for more than 24 years.

The two salons and staff will merge at their existing business a few doors along, which is being completely remodelled to comply with strict Covid-19 regulations.

The couple, who live in Stirling and have two young children, say they are going “above and beyond” Government guidelines and hope to offer dedicated appointments for clients who are shielding.

They had been planning the venture for three years and were on schedule to open around now when the pandemic struck.

They had to go back to the drawing board and devise a new layout for the salon, adding a significant financial burden to their investment.

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Mrs Ferguson said: “About three years ago we were approached and asked if we wanted to take on Toni & Guy, which is the sister company of Essensuals, with the intention of merging

it into one building at 103 St Vincent Street.

“We were due to be opening about now but obviously none of us saw the pandemic happening.


“We had to completely re-think the way the salon would look, with a lot of changes to the original plan so that we can safely social distance. Everything has been taken out and walls have been knocked down.

“We aren’t just following Government guidelines, we are going above and beyond that.

“We will be doing video consultations with each client before they come to their appointment to cut the amount of time in the salon.

“Each client will be given a bag of PPE equipment that will include disposable masks, gown, towels and cups.

“We are also going to offer appointments at very quiet times for people who are shielding, who are in the more vulnerable groups or who are caring for people in those groups.

“All staff will be wearing masks but we have also figured out a hack that will allow most ­clients to wear a mask while we are ­cutting hair.”

Like many other salons, the business will also operate with staggered ­appointments and longer opening hours with all equipment sanitised between clients.

Toni & Guy, which runs around 650 franchises around the world says all 171 in the UK will comply with Covid-19 safety guidelines, with many undergoing more substantial refits.

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While most businesses are facing significant financial pressures due to the pandemic, the couple say they are confident their new venture will be a success due to soaring ­demand for hair appointments and are just waiting for the go-ahead from the Scottish Government.

Mrs Ferguson added: “The refit is due to be finished on June 30 and I know there are lots of dates floating about but we are following Government guidelines.

“I believe phase three is going to be around July 9 so that’s the date we are working towards.

“We are feeling positive. You can’t buy a haircut on Amazon – e will be in demand, we are going to be busy but we just need to make sure we have everything covered, for our teams too – we have to keep them safe.

“At the end of the day we are buying a business where the hairdressers already have an established client base.

“Since we opened our waiting list we have been inundated.

“We were due a refit anyway and we are hoping the new salon will give ­people confidence about coming in to get their hair done because we are brand new.”