Salons face industry-wide shortage from pandemic impacted economy

As the owner of Salon Universal in Wixom, Marlece White is not used to seeing her salon chairs empty.

"It’s very disheartening but at the same time, I know if you hold on for a little while, things will always get better," she said. "Covid had a really big impact, when we came back from being shut down. I lost half my staff.

"It’s impacted our bottom line obviously, even my stylists aren’t making as much money as they used to."

Hair salons re-opened more than a year ago. But even now, White still struggles with a staffing shortage brought on by the pandemic.

"I know a lot of stylists decided to not do hair anymore," she said. "I think a lot of it had to do with people being either scared to come back to work."

In response, White has had to make adjustments like reducing salon hours, picking up extra shifts and limiting walk-in appointments.

"We’ve had some clients who have been a little angry because they can’t just walk in and get haircuts within 15-20 minutes," she said. "Sometimes the wait is up to 45."

Marlece White, owner of Salon Universal in Wixom.

Marlece White, owner of Salon Universal in Wixom.

In Southfield,  Don Hale owns Rich Roots Shampoo Bar. She says she is fully staffed, but still feels the impact of the industry-wide shortage.

"The new clients have come because other stylists have stopped working," she said. "So now clients are scrambling to find stylists."

Hale says she is working harder than ever to fit in all her clients.

"I’ve had to go from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. now it’s like 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. - I’ve definitely had to cater to the audience," she said.

Meanwhile back over at Salon Universal, White says she is staying hopeful the staffing shortage — like the pandemic — will pass.

"Just have faith, you just have to have a lot of faith and positivity, and know things will always get better,"she said.

White is renting out several available chairs at her salon to stylists, for more information, go to the salon website