Public welcome step back to normality in Birmingham’s creative quarter

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Customer bookings are “absolutely full to the rafters” at a hair and beauty studio in the heart of Birmingham’s Digbeth creative quarter as society takes another step towards normality.

Salon Strand & Lock in the Custard Factory complex staff welcomed its first customer in months on Monday as thousands of non-essential businesses including hairdressers, gyms and outdoor pubs reopened.

Lizzie Hewitt, the salon’s co-owner, said it was “great” to finally be able to open again, but that another lockdown would be “make or break” for their business, which only opened in November 2019.

Lizzie Hewitt, salon co-owner
Lizzie Hewitt said the last month has been difficult (Richard Vernalls/PA)

He added: “It’s a mixture (of feelings), there’s a little anxiety from the general change of seeing no-one to seeing people again.

“But with work we’re just really, really pumped, we’re really excited to start.

“We’ve got really big plans.”

Claire Riches on reopening on April 12 2021.
Claire Riches runs an aesthetics businesses (Richard Vernalls/PA)

She said: “My business is aesthetics and the whole ethos is making people feel good and boosting their confidence – and I think that’s exactly what everybody needs right now.”

Strand & Lock’s first customer, Amy Smith, who lives locally, was in the hairdresser’s chair for 7am.

She has not been to a stylist since before the original lockdown last year, adding she was “thrilled” to finally be getting her hair done.

“I’m going to a go to a beer garden experience later, so it’s going to be good.”

Ms Hewitt said: “It was really hard not knowing when we are actually going to open – not having that end goal.

“So, as soon as we got that date it got really exciting.

“I think it seemed alright until maybe March but the last month has been really difficult.”

Mr Law said: “With the whole lack of date and lack of clarity when things were going to end, especially with this last one, you try and book people in and then you have to move people.

“But also we need to start making some money.

“We’ve only been open a short while and for the majority of last year we weren’t allowed to stay open – it’s nice to finally see a light coming towards us.

“It feels like we can take the bull by the horns and push forward with something that we’ve been trying to do over the last 12 months and not been able to get it off the ground.”

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