TEXAS — The owners of the Olde Soul Barbershop are using social media stay close to their clients and keep barbers paid during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Local barbers are leaning on client relationships
Social media challenges keep barbers and clients connected
Since opening their doors last June, Edgar Argumedo and his wife Oleksandra Zubrytska have focused on turning their clients into friends. Since closing their doors in mid-March to keep customers and barbers safe from the virus, the owners say they don't just miss the business, they miss their friends.
"Our day to day over the past year has been to connect with them on a personal level," Zubrytska said. "When this went down and even though we’re at the house we’re trying to make sure we don’t lose that connection.”
The owners kept that connection strong by reaching out to customers through social media. It started as Instagram challenges, encouraging fellow barbers at the shop to work out and nominate someone to keep it going. Soon, videos started rolling in from Olde Soul customers participating in challenges and begging their barbers to do something about their shelter-in-place hair growth.
"We saw people sending us threatening notes, 'If you don’t start doing house calls, I’m gonna do it myself,'” Zubrytska said.
The online videos from customers eventually turned into support from close friends. Folks purchased Olde Soul Barbershop merchandise and gift cards that go toward haircuts customers can get once the pandemic is over. Money spent on the site today goes directly to supporting barbers as they're out of work.
"These people are very supportive even though a lot of people are working from home," Argumedo said. "They’re trying to help other people that could not work from home like us barbers."
The owners say they hope their strategy for keeping their barbers paid during this crisis encourages other shops in the area to connect with customers online. They also hope it encourages clients to support their barbers while they're out of work.
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