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Millie Kendall MBE addresses government stance on re-opening of nail & beauty salons on BBC Breakfast

By Alex Fox | 07 July 2020 | Movers & Shakers, News

Bbc Breakfast

Shortly after 8am this morning, CEO of the British Beauty Council, Millie Kendall MBE was invited onto BBC Breakfast for comment on the subject of nail and beauty salons re-opening across the UK in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

A guest alongside Sam Marshall, owner of The Beauty Guru at Media City, Millie highlighted that nail and beauty salons were more prepared than any other sector and are renowned for being hygienic and safe; she noted that she was surprised the sector had not opened alongside hair salons and barbers last weekend (Saturday 4 July).

Millie Kendall, CEO of the British Beauty Council on BBC Breakfast

Pressed for more, Millie was quick to assert that the argument from government for nail and beauty salons not re-opening was due to the close contact and proximity of services, and so suggested that if facials are high risk while manicures/pedicures are low risk, that there is a need to define exactly what services are deemed high, medium and low risk, stating: “This is not ideal in any shape or form, but it seems like a good compromise.”

In an ironic twist, Millie focused attention on the fact that make-up artists for film sets were given the green light to work, while make-up artists working in fashion were not. The same boundaries also apply to podiatrists, yet not to pedicurists, and so mixed messages are being delivered by the government.

Sam Marshall insisted she was ready to open having learned more than ever before on health & safety practices, has completed a full risk assessment (checked by an RA expert) and obtained additional PPE after running a salon with high standards even before lockdown. Sam also underlined the fact that she’s not taken any earnings for months, is not eligible for monetary help or support and has therefore been using savings and loans to survive. “We are a clean industry, we work safely,” Sam observed. “We have this under control.”

The value of beauty
Questioned on the value of the beauty industry, Millie confidently shared the £24.8 billion figure that the industry brings to the UK’s annual GDPR pot. Breaking it down into £27.2 billion on consumer spending and £9 billion on the service sector, Millie rightly asserted: “Its a relevant and viable industry.”

Claiming salons are currently closed in their peak season, she noted: “It’s a dangerous time for these businesses to be closed, as they take up to 50% of their annual turnover in July and August; every day counts.”

On closing, Sam Marshall entreated the government to instil hope in the industry by offering an opening date as soon as possible, citing: “We are left in limbo, an undervalued and forgotten industry.”

Millie Kendall MBE chimed: “This is not just about proximity, its about the job we’re doing is not deemed as important as a chiropodist. It’s been a real challenge.”