Solange Ashoori, owner of Ziba Style Bar in Toronto
"None of us wrote our business plan with a pandemic in mind, I don't think any small business was prepared for this. My only advice is to stay positive and optimistic, use your resources and plan for the future of your business."– Solange Ashoori, owner of Ziba Style Bar.
Any business can sell a product or offer a service, but only a special few can evoke a sense of feeling and belonging in their customers. “I wanted to create a space where anyone can walk in and feel comfortable knowing that someone is able to do their hair” says Solange Ashoori, the owner of Ziba Style Bar in Toronto. It may seem like a logical proposition for any salon to offer, but Ashoori is keenly aware that many consumers have unmet needs. “Being a curly girl, I've always had anxiety walking into salons because they just don't know how to work with curls.” Deeming this marginalization unacceptable, Ashoori incorporated services ranging from curly cuts to balayage into her salon, all carried out by a talented team of blonde specialists and master braiders. It’s truly inclusive and beyond fitting for a salon that’s cultivated an engaged community within a stone’s throw of such diverse neighbourhoods as Little Portugal, Chinatown, and Little Italy.
“I started this business because I've always had a passion for the beauty industry, it makes people feel good and that's gratifying to me.” While the pandemic may have temporarily closed the doors of Ziba Style Bar last March, it has not dampened Ashoori’s passion. Instead, she has further digitized it. Her salon’s social media is awash in diverse depictions of beauty and seeks to uplift her community. It hasn’t just made followers feel good during a scary time, it’s been a source of strength for Ashoori too. “Hope right now is coming from our incredible clients and community, we get so many supportive messages. It's really encouraging!”
The beauty industry is now in the middle of a major shift as social distancing will alter how salons operate. Ashoori is monitoring the ever-evolving guidelines and has proactively committed to using disposable capes and masks as well as reducing the number of appointments in the salon to keep customers safe. “Outside of implementing safety measures there are going to be many changes, but we are prepared and determined to get back to making people feel good. That's what we do best and that is something that will never go away!”
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