Salons’ hardships during COVID-19


Abigail Puentes

Mima Creations Hair Salon at 10 a.m., opening hour, ready for customers to come in for the day.

Salons near El Camino College are trying their best to stay optimistic and promote their business as much as possible to keep business flowing during the pandemic.

Mima Creations Hair Salon is a family-owned business run by 32-year-old, Idalia Velasco, her husband, Jose Pineda and her mother, Vilma Velasco.

“We come from El Salvador with my mom having been a hairstylist since before I was born,” Idalia Velasco said. “We decided to move to the United States in 2006.”

With over 32 years of experience being a hairstylist, Vilma Velasco decided to open up her salon in Gardena with her daughter in 2017. Velasco’s husband quit his job in 2015 and went to cosmetology school to become a barber and help at the salon.

They have been seeing clients by appointment since reopening mid-January, with only three people inside the salon at a time, one client per worker.

“Before the pandemic, we would also take walk-ins but since the pandemic, we are only allowed to do one client at a time,” Idalia Velasco said.

To follow the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidelines, they are currently not allowing any food or drinks inside, and guests other than the client are also asked to wait outside. Clients are also asked to wear masks and have their temperature checked before coming into the salon.

“[Before] we were told to close down, we had glass shields separating each chair and client,” Idalia Velasco said. “When we reopened, we decided to take them down but still follow all precautionary measures.”

Alongside hair salons, nail salons are also open for business and trying their best to keep their customers safe and welcomed. CT Nails & Spa had to shut down for eight months at the beginning of the pandemic and just reopened a few weeks ago.

Before the pandemic, CT Nails & Spa used to have a schedule full of clients walking in every day, but now they only take appointments. Before they were open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. but now are only open according to how many appointments they have each day and the time they are scheduled for.

Katie Nguyen, a 40-year-old employee has mostly been working by herself at the salon, with the help of two other workers.

“Every day is different, there’s days where we see only four clients and other days where we see five,” Katie Nguyen said.

CT Nails and Spa also follow CDC guidelines, such as making sure every client wears a mask, stays six feet apart at all times and has their temperature checked, to keep everyone who walks in and out of the salon safe.

They separate clients by having them sit on every other chair and display hand sanitizer on every table to be used by clients. They have also put a glass shield separating employees from clients, with only room for the clients’ hand.

Employee, Truc Nguyen, said they have been stressed with the pandemic, but also because the owner of the salon has changed recently.

“It’s been hard to keep customers with being closed for so long and having a new owner,” Truc Nguyen said.

Both Mima Creations and CT Nails & Spa see new clients and returning clients on a day-to-day basis.

Something Idalia Velasco has learned this past year in a pandemic was how to save money. In being a 10-99 business, the employees of Mima Creations have been able to receive loans and file for unemployment to keep the business going.

“We thought with keeping the lights off, bills would come lower, but no,” Idalia Velasco said. “We still have to pay for bills and insurance.”

Despite facing COVID-19 related difficulties, Idalia Velasco’s advice for anyone who wants to open up a business right now is to “do it.”

“I have clients that I try to make my friends, not just my clients and when they talk to me about opening up their own business, I try to inspire them,” Idalia Velasco said. “Although I didn’t have much money to open up the salon, I had the determination to make it work.”

Editor’s note: The headline was changed, and a sentence was omitted on March 3, 2021 for clarity.