Hairdresser hit hard by Latrobe lockdown

Yinnar South hairdresser Maddie Hill marked a year since opening her salon in the midst of the pandemic. photograph michelle slater

Michelle Slater

A YINNAR South hairdresser who took a punt by opening her own salon in the midst of the
pandemic is determined to keep hanging on despite being plunged into repeated lockdowns.

Maddie Hill recently marked one year since she started up her boho-style salon on her parent’s rural property, but said this latest snap lockdown sparked “stress and anxiety”.

“I didn’t even know we were going into lockdown, there was no prior announcement and I thought this is pretty much f*****,” Ms Hill said.

“My brain shut down and goes to mush and I have to call all my clients to re-book appointments.”

Latrobe City went into lockdown just as hairdressers and beauty therapists in regional areas were about to have some restrictions eased around mask-wearing.

But Ms Hill said hairdressing was a lifelong passion and the only job she knew.

The hairdressing graduate lost her job at the start of the pandemic at a Traralgon hairdresser and struggled to find employment elsewhere before opening her own on-trend salon at home.

“I threw myself in the deep end and see if I sink or swim. Opening was quite intense, never in my right mind would I think opening a business in a pandemic would be a success,” she said.

“But then I was open for a month and we went into lockdown again and I thought OMG! What am I doing?

“Every time I go into lockdown I have a cry and a breakdown, and it takes me a few days to get into the right mind.”

Ms Hill was initially not eligible for any government financial supports and was battling
to pay the bills.

However, she said as a sole trader working at home she did not have to worry about rent or
keeping on any staff.

“I know other salon owners have struggled and had to close their doors. The beauty industry is losing a number of people wanting to work, but they can’t get into a positive frame of mind,” she said.

“But the community has been wonderful, most of my business is word-of-mouth and many are from the Latrobe Valley. Sometimes people travel from other areas to get to me. I feel truly blessed.”