HomeDBBIA NewsLockdown makes Brampton small business owners call for beauty industry recognition

Lockdown makes Brampton small business owners call for beauty industry recognition

Christina Nisble feels a twinge of frustration every time she passes the Amazon warehouse in her neighbourhood, seeing workers coming and going out of the facility.

Nisble is the owner of Marigold + Aster Hair Studio in downtown Brampton, and hasn’t been working since late November.

“All of us get frustrated when we walk past Walmart,” said Emma O’Malley, owner of ReStyle Beauty Boutique, who has teamed up with Nisble and Ricky Viveiros, co-founder of the Hair Lab & Co, to raise awareness about the plight of local small businesses.

These Brampton business owners are calling for greater consideration for those in the beauty industry during the pandemic.

“We feel disrespected,” Nisble said, “like we’re not worthy of feeding our children.”

Since Nov. 23, all three owners have closed the doors of their establishments.

They say qualifying for government relief is tenuous, and if they didn’t have a little money saved for a rainy day, they’d be in real trouble.

“We’re just kicked to the curb and struggling,” O’Malley said.

Nisble said that many of the relief programs require owners to take on debt, as well as prove they are in dire circumstances.

She says that between paying rent for her studio, her mortgage and feeding her children with no income for months on end is a near-impossible task.

“The reality is we’re not all in this together,” she said. “It’s completely different for us.”

She says as a registered trade with the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, her skills aren’t regarded in the same way as a welder or electrician.

“Most of us are women and single moms and people from the LGBTQ+ population,” Nisble said.

That’s why Viveiros, Nisble and O’Malley are echoing calls across the Canadian beauty industry for an oversight body, and organization to represent and speak on behalf of the owners of salons and studios.

One online petition, called ‘Save Canadian Beauty’, has garnered more than 15,000 signatures.

“We are asking our provincial and federal governments to support our industry, provide debt-free relief for our businesses, and prioritize our personal safety and the safety of our communities,” reads the petition’s website. “We are calling on the government to recognize the devastating impacts COVID-19 has had on the Canadian beauty industry.”

The petition lays out a suggested action plan, calling for the federal government to expedite the claims process for support and forgive property taxes for businesses that are closed.

It calls for the government to require insurance companies to cover business interruption claims and establish a deferral plan for business loans from banks, among other measures.

The Brampton business owners want to see an established organization could increase professionalism and respect for the beauty industry and its place in Canada’s economy.

“Maybe before we didn’t have a political voice,” Viveiros said. “We didn’t know we needed one.”

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