The Covid-19 pandemic saw leaders of the beauty and wellness industry open their hearts and purses to help colleagues in distress, to recover and restart their business.

The Covid-19 induced lockdown in March 2020 made a radical impact on the beauty and wellness industry. Salons and spas across the country had to shut shop, which led to the loss of jobs for lakhs of hairdressers, barbers and salon techs. The beauty services community and the industry itself, struggled to make ends meet and find a middle ground amidst the storm of the pandemic.

Bringing a breath of relief, hope and support was a unique body – the Beautiful Hearts Fund (BHF). Set up in 2020, based on an idea proposed by Adman. Blessing A Manikandan, CEO of TONI&GUY (South India). It was formed by the beauty industry leaders for the benefit of the professional beauty industry community, especially the smallscale salon businesses, beauty parlors, barbers and other salon professionals.

“BHF’s objective is to raise funds and act as a support system for the beauty & wellness industry” – Adman. Blessing A Manikandan, CEO of TONI&GUY @adman.sam

Speaking of the industry initiative, Adman. Blessing A Manikandan said, “During the initial phase of the first Covid wave and lockdown, everyone was focused on managing salon rent, staff salaries and Loan EMIs. But as time passed, through discussions in our community WhatsApp group, we learned about the pain points of our peers and the distress faced by them. Hence, we decided to form a fundraiser foundation which will act as a platform and system through which we could help those in need of financial support.”

According to Blessing, the Beautiful Hearts Fund (BHF) has evolved and matured as a system since its inception. “It has grown immensely and been truly successful in helping and supporting people in every aspect and not just financially.” The Foundation assisted hairstylists, barbers, salon technicians, smallscale salon owners etc. to find the right educational institutions; training to boost their business; health assistance, or even help acquire the right products, tools and equipment to restart their business.”

“We want to make BHF a sustainable project so that everyone can make the most of this initiative. Our objective is to raise funds and act as the support system for the beauty and wellness industry. Since our inception to this date, we have grown as a foundation and we want to build a proper, structured platform that continues to work for the well-being of our people,” concludes Blessing.

There is no doubt that the beauty and wellness industry is a close-knit family that is always ready to help those in need. Time and again, the industry leaders have proved that help, support and guidance will be provided when needed.

“During the pandemic, our aim was to help people to bring their business back in action” – Uday Takke, Coordinator for Salon and Parlour Association, Maharashtra @udaytakke

The latest example of this philanthropy was seen during the massive floods in Chiplun area of Maharashtra in July 2021. During this period, a lotof salons were damaged, and owners and

their businesses were badly hit. Uday Takke, Coordinator for Salon and Parlour Association, Maharashtra, along with Association members requested Beautiful Hearts Fund and their leaders to come forward to help. With BHF support, Uday Takke and key members of the Association donated much needed products, tools and equipment to nearly 350 professionals in the flood affected district.Uday Takke said, “During the Covid-19 pandemic, professionals lost their jobs and businesses, and many took the desperate step of committing suicide. The situation had become very bad and the need of the hour was for everyone to come together and work towards one objective – to help them get back on their feet again. We cannot bring back the loved ones of our fellow members who lost their lives in these floods, but we can assist by giving them the right tools and help them get their business back in action.”

Last year during the lockdown, Nalini Naegamvala, Owner of ‘Nalini of Nalini and Yasmin Salon’ started a crowdfunding campaign run by Ketto to help barbers and small beauty parlours that had shut down. “Covid pandemic came upon us in 2020 without much warning and the hair and beauty industry struggled due to the lockdowns. Salons were shut for months at a time. Not only were the owners affected so were the staff, as salaries were cut down with no sales coming in and expenses such as high rents had to be paid. However, we human beings have resilience and quite a few barbers and small salons were able to pull through thanks to our Ketto drive. “As for me and my daughter Natasha, we were hell-bent on getting back to business with hard work and faith and we were successful enough!” said Nalini.

“Natasha and I were hell-bent on getting back to business with hard work and faith” – Nalini Naegamvala, Owner of ‘Nalini of Nalini and Yasmin Salon’ @nalininaegamvala

While several salon chains and professional beauty brands e.g. Wella, L’Oreal and Schwarzkopf helped their salon clients with Covid support and vaccines, Godrej Professional launched a pan-India Suraksha Salon Program in May 2020. This industry-first initiative focused on the health, wellness and protection of the salon community. It helped them with knowledge on safety and hygiene solutions for salon infrastructure and services, and gave back-to-business support. Suraksha Salon 2.0 provided vaccinations to 10,000 hairstylists, beauticians and salon staff across India.

“Godrej Professional is committed to empower and uplift the Indian salon industry” – Sunil Kataria, CEO, India and SAARC, Godrej Consumer Products Limited (GCPL) @godrejprofessional

The beauty and wellness industry has faced very tough times in Covid-19 pandemic. But the large-hearted effort and contributions of industry brands and leaders helped the needy salon owners and professionals receive much needed support and hope to start a fresh innings.

An industry with a heart indeed!