Anyone who has met TIGI Field Educator, Lucy Hicks will realise she’s a one-woman high-energy factory. A workaholic with a passion for colour, Lucy covers a wide area of South West England and Wales as well as teaching in the TIGI Academy and working on TIGI European seminars.
Of course, this varied work all came to an abrupt halt last week, when it was advised that all TIGI’s UK employees should work from home. Whilst some people would be happy to leave the car in its parking space and relax, this was definitely not the case for Lucy. By the end of day one she was twiddling her thumbs and looking longingly at her bag of colours and swatches. In fact, she spent most of last week on the phone to salons, offering technical support with formulations and preparing colour swatches for inspiration. But she admits, not having her normal routine has been hard and frustrating.
Last Saturday, nearly all salons across the UK closed for the foreseeable future. Most made this decision suddenly, leaving salon owners and their teams in a confusing and worrying situation. And of course, this means all of you who regularly follow our features, are one week behind Lucy in terms of understanding how to fill your day and what to do next.
Fuse talked to Lucy to share with you her thoughts, ideas and support.
LUCY: To be really honest, I woke up to my alarm at 7am and thought “AMAZING!!” No 3-hour drive in traffic, no road closures, and I can get all my stock re-arranged and re-ordered. I kept that feeling going until 11am.
It then suddenly dawned on me that I had just done a few days’ work in the space of 3 hours! I then rang my manager, James, and had a bit of a meltdown! As always, James got me back on track and I started to put measures in place to ensure that didn’t happen again.
LUCY: At the beginning of the week I reached out to lots of the salons I look after, just to check in and see if they were ok, and if they needed anything. It was a real moment of clarity. Everyone was panicking – not only for their business, but also for their staff. Everyone I spoke to just wanted to make sure they were doing everything they possibly could to make sure their teams and clientele were safe. It made me realise that everyone was in the same boat. I spoke to salons from all over the South West region; the situation had become very real, very quickly for a lot of people.
For myself, I now work as follows:
7am: I visit ‘the gym’ (it’s a cross trainer in my spare room). Then I get ready for work, which means blow-drying my fringe and putting my hair in a top knot, and make breakfast and a coffee.
9am – 12pm: Work
12pm – 1pm: Lunch
1 – 5pm: work
I have Post-It notes that are keeping me on track for the day; I use different colours to let me know what’s urgent and top of the list.
LUCY: Take a minute to process what is happening and come to terms with it. There really is a lot to process, so give yourself time – you have the luxury to do that. Find the best way of working for yourself and stick to it. As hairdressers we’re used to being surrounded by people, so being alone or with the small number of people you live with takes some getting used to. Lean on your team, friends and family, because, in my case, if it weren’t for them I would have gone even more ‘bonkers’ than I am already!
LUCY: Take lead from your manager and teams as I’m sure they have plans for you. My advice would be to educate and upskill. The best advice I ever had as a young hairdresser was this: “The day you don’t feel like you need to educate yourself in your craft is the day you need to give it up!”
Firstly, there is so much available at TIGI. We have TIGI Fuse education and social media platforms. Anthony and his team at Infringe are sharing some incredible work. You can also follow the TIGI Creative Team and Regional Education Teams, as we’re are all doing things to try and keep everyone entertained. We are all offering on-line education sessions over Skype so reach out to your TIGI representative and they we help you get sorted.
Let’s be honest, when do hairdressers ever get a chance to just sit down with a hot cup of tea and take a few hours? NEVER! We’re usually running around trying to work out how we’re going to eat and do a full head of highlights in 45mins, so don’t feel guilty!
LUCY: Nope! I’m taking it day by day because I’m a worrier! If I start thinking ahead I will start to panic. I’m rolling with the idea that as long as all loved ones are well, I can pay all my bills and I have positive impact on someone else’s day, it’s a good day.
LUCY: As I mentioned before, first on my list would be education. Make the best use of your time. Don’t wait for others to tell you what to do – start thinking about the stuff you have always wanted to try. Think about your team; all the staff room conversations that you have had but never had the time to act on it – arrange it now. We live in a day and age where everything is so accessible. You can literally gather information from all over the world without leaving your house.
LUCY: Yes, we are. I am getting to grips with Microsoft Teams. Online tutorials are helping, but I am now the master of Skype! Previously, I just wasn’t able to grasp it but now I can make the camera work and everything!
When we have our meetings, we use video so we can all see each other, which is weirdly very comforting. It’s nice to see their faces and know that we’re all ok. Also, it’s funny to see everyone’s new work outfits – often a baseball cap or top knot and a tracksuit!
"Make the best use of your time. We live in a day and age where everything is so accessible. You can literally gather information from all over the world without leaving your house"
LUCY: In work time, swatches! I miss colour! So, I’m posting every Monday and Thursday on my Instagram accounts and I’m taking requests for colours from one and all. So if anyone would like to get involved, hit me up.
In personal time I’m trying to reach out to people so we can bounce of each other. Everyone is in the same boat and I have been taking ideas from friends! Katie Hartley (another TIGI UK Field Educator) is following online exercises, our UK Academy Coordinator is learning to knit and I’m going to try and learn Spanish… so we shall see how I get on with that. I’m also really fancying a jigsaw. My mum told me earlier that I always loved doing jigsaws when I was younger so I’m going back to my roots.
Most importantly, the greatest thing at the moment is to ‘keep your chin up’. Don’t get bogged down in the worry of what’s happening and keep smiling, which I know is easier said than done, but at the moment that’s the only thing we really have.
Thank you to Lucy for her honest and valuable information. Let’s be honest, the immediate future is a new experience for us all, but it’s necessary in order that we can return to normality as soon as possible.