If we’ve learned anything from our recent isolation during COVID-19, it’s that community is everything.
In Warners Bay, popular local hair and beauty salon Platinum were front line essential workers, who kept their doors open and managed to retain their staff. I spoke with the director of Platinum, Monique Wheatley about how the community support from Warners Bay locals and the wider business community kept her strong throughout the crisis.
As the rest of the community slowly come out of lockdown, can you tell us about your Covid-19 experience?
The good news is that Platinum has kept all our staff on. We had to make small changes but nothing major. I felt so supported by the local community right the way through. Now we’re busier, everyone has been coming out, and the client retention rate is great. It’s only this week that we started taking new clients. I’ve enjoyed the camaraderie of the business community. I sit on the board of the Morden Bay Chambers. We all pulled together to support each other. Everyone in the area attempts to support each other because it is a small close-knit community. Our clients have been amazing. Also, it’s made everyone think about where we put our money.
Are you a local, Monique?
I grew up in Charlestown and did my training in Newcastle as a hairdresser then when my son was born 12 years ago, I moved to Warners Bay. I loved the location near the lake and the clientele, so I chose to open Platinum here. It’s been great for business with the recent developments over the past 10 years. I’ve seen a boom in population in Warners Bay. People who live in Warners Bay, like to do business in Warners Bay, so that’s great for me!
What is your business philosophy?
I wanted to cater to the fashion-savvy woman but as a full-time working mum of two, I appreciate just how hard it is to make time for yourself. We like to make going to the hairdresser or the beautician efficient and time effective. So our hair colour time is a maximum of two hours. We also open until 9pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays. And we offer hair and beauty services, so you can have all of your treatments completed under the one roof.
Tell us about your beauty room?
We’ve applied the same efficiency to the beauty room, so you can have a full hour or half-hour treatment using another local company, Skin Juice from Newcastle. It combines high potency fruit and vegetable extracts with beneficial fatty acids – and smells incredible.
Platinum always seems to have an incredible buzz about it. How many staff do you have?
We have 15 to 20 staff working at any one time. We also do heaps of training and education. I’m passionate about growing young people in their early careers. By comparison, not many smaller salons add young people to the industry. We have three or four apprentices, and it’s so great to watch them grow into fantastic hairdressers.
But it’s not just the folk of Warner’s Bay that get the Platinum treatment, is it?
That’s right, we also have the Platinum Hair and Make-Up Bridal Team that travel for weddings. The Hunter is just an hour away and people find it hard to find hairdressers there, but because we have so many staff we can cater to really large weddings.
Thanks for the chat, Monique. See you in the salon soon!