I’m writing this post after a few months of sudden change. If you didn’t already know, I was the owner of ANNA SCHU Skin + Beauty, a beauty salon and shop that was well established in south Co.Dublin.
In the beginning..
I started the company in the last recession in 2010. We grew to a chain of three in the first 3 years and then amalgamated into the largest premises ( pictured below) in 2015, this branch had been doing better than the others since we opened it in 2013. It really was a magical journey looking back. I was just 27 the year I started and I had gumption, confidence and excitement starting out. The idea that I could create an atmosphere, and environment , and a feeling of warmth for clients in a beautiful setting was exhilarating. I had a back round as beauty therapist so I knew a lot about treatments and products and standards. Those first few years were so busy and I was constantly learning, we built a beautiful community in our Bray Location, and had lots of good times. Being single at the time meant I could literally do all-nighters whenever I wanted to work on the business. It had all my attention and I loved it. I grew to understand as a business owner that having a team and teams of staff that you don’t just get to do the fun parts but you are also an employer which is a huge responsibility.
To just close or liquidate as I had to was an abrupt end, and I almost felt I was being punished somehow by the government
Like many salon owners it was really difficult to navigate the unknowns with Covid-19 and all it brought along, it was ALOT of work to reopen after the first lock down, but we did it. We were doing good till August, but then the covid related issues started to really impact the business in a lot of ways. I won’t go in to all the details but all I can say is that I did everything I possibly could to keep the business going. We celebrated being open 10 years in August, and little did we know we wouldn’t last till Christmas.
It was a very difficult decision to come to, and I really don’t envy any business owners that have to make it. I think all business owners hope that one day they could sell their business if they wanted to move on to new things, I know I had hoped to at some point in the future. To just close or liquidate as I had to, was an abrupt end and I almost felt I was being punished somehow by the government. They were the ones forcing us to close, then reopen after spending thousands on being covid safe, and then close again. Of course they were doing what they felt was in the best interest of everyone, but the consequences were real for me and for my staff and the business. There were a few supports like the Dun Laoghaire Co co, who were incredible and were able to return rates to us which helped hugely, but that was about it. Other supports we received were for pay rol which we got for a month of two but it came with a lot of complications. As in – the government would only pay a portion not all of the hours worked by my staff. Ironically we had to extend our hours to maintain social distancing.
Making the decision to not reopen, was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. All of the people that it affects came to mind, the staff, their jobs, the clients who had vouchers to use, all the suppliers and companies that we order from on a regular basis, myself and young family, the list goes on and on. Sadly ideals and hopeful thinking were not going to overcome the reality that if I continued on, it would have been a loosing battle. If it had played out differently and we kept the business open people may have seen it as a victory, but behind the scenes I would be dealing with a lot of business debt and exhaustion caused by having to fight that battle.
It’s funny how sometimes victory in the public eye has unseen losses behind the scenes.
I know every small business owner in Ireland will relate, you endure so much as well as enjoy! While I’m grieving the end of my business and a decade of really hard work I’m also breathing a sigh of relief that I’m liberated from the kind of stress I would have been enduring now again with the the current lock downs being extended. Who knew this (covid-19) was all going to go on so long. I have peace about my decision although it is a loss that I am walking away from with nothing financially, I have gained a wealth of experience, and have gotten to do what only a small amount of people get to do. Starting something from nothing and keeping it going for a decade! I am so grateful.
While the rate of business failure is quite high (some experts suggest that 80 percent of enterprises fail within five years of start-up),by Professor Thomas Cooney
So I say goodbye, a big chapter in my life now over, and a new one just beginning.
Believing In You,