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Public welcome step back to normality in Birmingham’s creative quarter

At hair and beauty studio Strand & Lock they were ‘full to the rafters’ with bookings.

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Stylist Danny Law with customer Amy Smith (Richard Vernalls/PA)

Stylist Danny Law with customer Amy Smith (Richard Vernalls/PA)

Stylist Danny Law with customer Amy Smith (Richard Vernalls/PA)

Customer bookings are “absolutely full to the rafters” at a hair and beauty studio in the heart of Birmingham’s Digbeth creative quarter as society takes another step towards normality.

Salon Strand & Lock in the Custard Factory complex staff welcomed its first customer in months on Monday as thousands of non-essential businesses including hairdressers, gyms and outdoor pubs reopened.

Lizzie Hewitt, the salon’s co-owner, said it was “great” to finally be able to open again, but that another lockdown would be “make or break” for their business, which only opened in November 2019.

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Lizzie Hewitt, salon co-owner. (Richard Vernalls/PA)

Lizzie Hewitt, salon co-owner. (Richard Vernalls/PA)

Lizzie Hewitt, salon co-owner. (Richard Vernalls/PA)

Fellow owner and stylist Danny Law said he was “really pumped” but felt like it was the “third launch” for the business, because of repeatedly having to lock down.

He added: “It’s a mixture (of feelings), there’s a little anxiety from the general change of seeing no-one to seeing people again.

“But with work we’re just really, really pumped, we’re really excited to start.

“We’ve got really big plans.”

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Claire Riches, who runs an aesthetics businesses. (PA Wire/PA Images)

Claire Riches, who runs an aesthetics businesses. (PA Wire/PA Images)

Claire Riches, who runs an aesthetics businesses. (PA Wire/PA Images)

Claire Riches, from health and beauty business CLR Aesthetics, which is also based at the salon, said stopping and starting trading had been difficult, but she was “really excited” to get back to work.

She said: “My business is aesthetics and the whole ethos is making people feel good and boosting their confidence – and I think that’s exactly what everybody needs right now.”

Strand & Lock’s first customer, Amy Smith, who lives locally, was in the hairdresser’s chair for 7am.

She has not been to a stylist since before the original lockdown last year, adding she was “thrilled” to finally be getting her hair done.

It's great to be here, I've been going with this weird little top knot for a few months nowAmy Smith, the salon's first customer

“It’s great to be here, I’ve been going with this weird little top knot for a few months now,” she added.

“I’m going to a go to a beer garden experience later, so it’s going to be good.”

Ms Hewitt said: “It was really hard not knowing when we are actually going to open – not having that end goal.

“So, as soon as we got that date it got really exciting.

“I think it seemed alright until maybe March but the last month has been really difficult.”

Mr Law said: “With the whole lack of date and lack of clarity when things were going to end, especially with this last one, you try and book people in and then you have to move people.

We need to start making some moneyDanny Law, stylist

“Hopefully, fingers crossed that is it, we don’t have to do any more of that because we don’t want to let anyone down.

“But also we need to start making some money.

“We’ve only been open a short while and for the majority of last year we weren’t allowed to stay open – it’s nice to finally see a light coming towards us.

“It feels like we can take the bull by the horns and push forward with something that we’ve been trying to do over the last 12 months and not been able to get it off the ground.”

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