Independent business interview – So Coco Rouge28/06/21
Giving themselves a moment to focus and taking advantage of stepping outside the whirlwind of their business has helped Sian Gardner and Robyn Dunbar survive the pandemic.
Professional makeup artists and founders So Coco Rouge, they were among those business owners hit by the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting lockdown, and timing could not have been worse.
“It was just before the races when the announcement came – which is also just before wedding season,” says Sian. “We had a bursting appointment book and suddenly everything had to be cancelled.
“Most of our work is seasonal, and like many other makeup professionals, we have a huge spring ahead of the summer months – so the moment the lockdown was confirmed, our lives went into a complete spin.”
The pair have run So Coco Rouge from their city centre salon for 10 years. Their client list spans from single make-up appointments, to small and large scale weddings, film sets and media photo shoots.
“We’ve always be versatile,” says Robyn, “it’s taken years for us to build up our portfolio and respected reputation. That’s one thing we are lucky to have behind us right now, because it’s stood us in good stead to survive what has been the most awful year we’ve experienced in business.”
Once the doors closed, and appointments were cancelled or postponed, Sian and Robyn took to the business social media platforms to ensure their brand was still front and centre.
“We’ve always been so busy in the salon, and although we had social media pages, we’ve only ever kept them updated to a basic level, so having this time to be creative, play with new tools and think about social strategy was one positive focus we have taken form the pandemic.” Says Sian.
So Coco Rouge’s social media became their new shop window, as well as their place of business. They hosted dozens of paid-for online makeup lessons, as well as gift vouchers and competitions.
“We gained fantastic engagement and it’s given us time to focus on what the business will look like going forward.
Sian adds that she is really proud of how resilient they been as a business team, and although they have legally been allowed to open their doors, says they need to keep the cautious stance for the time-being: “We’ve booked some small weddings, and several photoshoot and media makeup jobs – but there’s a long way to go.
“Right now, this virus and safety is front and centre to all our business decisions, and we expect it to be this way for some time. Recovery for the beauty – and more specifically the professional makeup industry – will be a very long process.”
So Coco Rouge, 5 Old Haymarket, Liverpool, L1 6ER
0151 236 6451