‘My East London salon lost £2k over Christmas – now I’m going to be evicted by the end of March’

The owner of a small hair and beauty salon in East London is desperate for Government help amid almost certain eviction from her premises in March.

Shirley Michael, 59, was so proud of herself when she launched Shelly’s Hair & Body Beautee Salon in Walthamstow during the summer of 2019.

Nine months later, the pandemic hit and the mum-of-one, 59, was forced to shut up shop and was unable to claim any government help due to being such a new business. She wasn’t even able to claim furlough for her staff.

After a tumultuous 18 months, things are not looking up for Shirley. In fact, she says that things are getting worse, and that her industry has had little to no help from the Government.

READ MORE: Mum and son’s ‘dream restaurant’ closed until further notice after 200 Christmas bookings cancelled

Shirley says she lost ‘at least £2,000’ due to cancelled bookings over the Christmas holidays

The salon provides a wide variety of services from Hollywood and full leg waxes to manicures and wash and blow-drys.

Speaking to MyLondon, Shirley said: “It feels as if we don’t exist in the Government’s eyes sometimes, but we need help too.

“I reckon I lost at least £2,000 over the Christmas holidays due to Boris Johnson’s stay at home message and cancellations because of the Omicron variant.”

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced £1 billion of funding for the struggling hospitality sector during the festive period, but no such help was made available to the hair and beauty industry.

She continued: “I’m in rent arrears for my salon and for my house, I’m behind in utility bill payments and I’m definitely going to be evicted at the end of March – there’s just no money left.

“I only have one member of staff left, who is isolating at the moment. All the rest of them have gone mobile so they can travel to their client’s homes.

“And with the amount of people working from home, there just isn’t the footfall. This week, I’ve had no bookings. I can’t go on like this.

“I used to be really happily and bubbly, I loved what I did. When I opened the salon, I had a vision of being part of the community as well as helping to train up aspiring hairdressers and beauticians in the area.

“I used to be so optimistic, now I’m struggling with depression and high blood pressure. I’ve had to start claiming Universal Credit, but that only covers the absolute basics – it’s not enough to live on.

0 GettyImages 582732634

The East End is one of the beating hearts of the capital so here at MyLondon, we’re doing our very best to make sure you get the latest news, reviews and features from your area.

Now there’s a way you can keep up to date with the areas that matter to you with our free email newsletter.

The East London newsletter goes out twice day and sends you the latest stories straight to your inbox.

From Barking to Bow, Canning Town to Canary Wharf, we’ll make sure you get the very best every day.

To sign up to the East London newsletter, simply follow this link and select the newsletter that’s right for you.

And to really customise your news experience on the go, you can download our top-rated free apps for iPhone and Android. Find out more here.

“Even during lockdown, I asked my landlord for rent reductions or freezes, but it was never granted. Whether I was open or shut, I still had to pay the same amount.”

Shirley, who previously worked for Snaresbrook Crown Court, says she lost ’99 per cent’ of her bookings over the Christmas and New Year period, which is normally her busiest time of year.

Now, she is pleading with the Government to give her and people like her just as much help as pub, restaurant and bar owners.

Shirley said: “We need just as much help. We work in close contact with the public and we have had to invest hundreds of pounds in PPE, as well as cut down our capacity to enable social distancing throughout the pandemic.

“I have a friend who owns a restaurant, and I am in the exact same position as her. We both lost so much money over Christmas and New Year, the only difference is she serves food and I do hair. Why have we been completely ignored by the Government?

“I am going to be evicted by the end of March. It’s just ridiculous, I’ve tried everything including advertising but there just isn’t the footfall.

“When I started up the salon, I didn’t get a business loan – I used all my own money. I was so excited, but now I’m a completely different person. I can hardly recognise myself.”

Do you have any stories that you think we should be covering? Get in touch by contacting [email protected]

Do you want the latest news in your area sent straight to your inbox? It only takes a few minutes! Click here.

Read More
Read More


Recommended For You