ONE of Waterford’s longest running hair salons has made the decision not to re-open its doors, following an almost 16-week closure. The Cutting Company in Arundel Square, under the expert hands of Tina Deegan, has been in business in Waterford since November 1, 1991.
Having successfully navigated the popular business through the economic recession of 2009, Tina credits the skills of her staff, and the loyalty of her customer base for the endurance of her business.
“Over the last twelve months, the footfall in Waterford dropped dramatically. We are placed in a busy street and yet somedays you could look outside the window and not know whether it was Friday or Monday. There was just no difference in the footfall on the ground.”
Yet, the decision to close in her own time was taken out of Tina’s hands as the Covid-19 pandemic hit Waterford, causing economic devastation to businesses.
“During this period of closure, I was still for probably the longest time since I started my business, I had time to think. I thought long and hard about what these safety measures would mean for us, and I felt the weight of that responsibility – both for my staff and my customers. I felt that re-opening would be to a very different salon experience, a much less personal one, and I really didn’t want that for my business.”
Hairdressers across the country have been given the green light to open, from yesterday, Monday, June 29. All customers will be asked about any symptoms of cold and flu, together with any possible exposure to someone infected with coronavirus.
For Tina, this stripped away the positive and personal customer experience, placing on her shoulders an additional responsibility for the safety and well-being of her staff and her customers, many of whom have been with Tina for 40 years, since she worked in Karl Casey’s salon.
“On a busy Saturday, I could see 25 clients, maybe more. With new sanitation measures, each appointment is of a much longer duration, meaning I would be opening to see a maximum of 5 or 6 clients per day. My overheads would not change and the anxiety of wondering if any staff or customers are being potentially infected is very high and very stressful.”
Having time off gave Tina time to process this change, and to embrace what she sees as a new chapter in her life.
“I feel sad that this is the end of The Cutting Company. My clients and I have seen each other through births, deaths and everything in between. I have rarely taken a lunch break or a summer holiday, so this time has allowed me to reflect on what life is all about. I will always be proud that my job was my passion.”
Her doors may be closed but her legacy continues in the extraordinary hands of the many hairdressers whom she has trained. Under her wing, Dervla Mulligan, Joanne Crowe and Anna Marie Cahill were trained, all of whom went on to establish very successful careers. This remains a source of tremendous pride for Tina Deegan, together with the footprint The Cutting Company has etched into the city.