Ashley Perri's Article Feature in The Financial Post
Ashley Perri's voice has been featured in The Financial Post's article titled Why the pandemic is spurring the rise of small business lobbying efforts. In this article, Ashley voices her concerns about how her industry has been disproportionately affected by the restrictions and lockdown measures.
Below, you will find an excerpt from the article:
Ashley Perri’s Skinprovement Medi Spa and Laser Clinic lost all its in-person business — which makes up the bulk of her income — when the COVID-19 lockdown began last March, forcing her to immediately transition her Vaughan, Ont., business to an e-commerce model.
To help market the decision, the 34-year-old who has fresh-scrubbed good looks and an ebullient personality began producing the kind of lively, fun skin-care videos that are taking social media channels by storm. She appeared smiling, her face slathered in various masques, dancing to a punchy soundtrack.
Perri also came up with innovative, feel-good marketing strategies such as the “Mask Challenge,” which encouraged customers to take a picture of themselves in a facial masque, tag Skinprovement and post to Instagram with the hashtag #ThanksHealthHeroes. Skinprovement has 14,700 followers on Instagram and managed to do a brisk business online.
The change in selling tactics was huge, a big hustle, but it still only resulted in a small fraction of the income she normally made, given that 80 percent of it is derived from services done in her clinic, on the face.
Skinprovement was finally allowed to reopen in June, and Perri and her staff suited up in full personal protective equipment (PPE) and showed it all off on Instagram. But regulations still required clients to keep masks on during procedures, which was problematic for the ongoing health of her business.
Perri saw the new provincial regulations as unfair. Why could people from different households eat, unmasked, at the same table indoors at a restaurant, but she wasn’t allowed to work on a client’s face while she was clad in full PPE?
She felt her industry was misunderstood, since skin-care clinics had long been taking great pains to control infections given the sensitive nature of their work. Furthermore, spa sessions are one on one, and there are no large gatherings.
“Our business is touching people’s faces,” Perri said. “We were clean before COVID. I’m a certified phlebotomist. I know how to deal with blood. I know how to control infection in our salon.”
She decided the government needed to hear her industry’s specific concerns more directly: She created a petition on Change.org, she put up a website, a call to action for the industry, and she cold-called hundreds of other skin-care specialists.
“These are my competitors. I said, ‘We don’t have a voice and I think it’s time we come together,'” she said.
Not content to go through established industry groups such as the Canadian Federation for Independent Business, business owners such as Perri in industries ranging from personal care to gyms to retailers have been busy forming lobby groups and stepping up their efforts to voice their concerns about being unfairly singled out for closure or more onerous restrictions than other sectors receive.
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