It all started back in March 2020 when the governor ordered close contact providers to close in SC. COVID-19 seemed a lot like an invisible boogie man to me. I was angry and felt this invisible monster was threatening my "baby". To those that own a small business you can relate. You grow it, you tend it, you keep it safe. It's your business and your baby. Nothing is more personal than a small business.
I kept hearing all the social distancing and 6 feet apart. I knew that there was no way I could keep 6 feet away from people and do my work. It isn't possible. To make things worse, I sit about 9 inches or less from your face during a service. That's close! Oh, and I also touch peoples faces. That is another big no no for COVID.
Just as I was starting to get past the anger of the whole thing I started hearing more and more colleagues say they weren't coming back. They were going to close or wait for a vaccine to reopen. Many said they would come back but only do waxing and not facials. I started to really wonder if the fate of my chosen profession was doomed. What is the industry like without facials? Could an industry staple like facials just shrivel up?
Hank and I started to do what we always do. Brainstorm about solutions and not dwell on problems. How do you touch people while sitting close to them and stay away at the same time? How can you use the tools of the trade and provide services with devices and hand pieces?
The Facial Guardian barrier device was born. We went to work making this from cardboard boxes, testing it on my treatment table. We would try to "break" the idea and make refinements. Once we had a prototype we had to choose a material. It had to be easy to see through, strong, and easy to clean. We chose polycarbonate. We are both from Charleston. We both wanted to benefit as many local businesses as possible. We started working with PolyShapers and others to manufacture and produce our product. We chose steam sanitation of the Facial Guardian is steam as it was studied to kill bacteria after 15 minutes exposure and preserve the integrity and clarity of the plastic. Using a micro-fiber towel prevents scratches and removes water quickly from the sanitized barrier. We included a marketing file of photos and videos to inspire confidence in therapists and clients.
Facial Guardian Systems are in medical offices, schools, larger spas and smaller spas. We partnered with several vendors and the ASCP to provide education and best practices for businesses. We believe that having a barrier between client and therapist will be a long term benefit. We suggest using the barrier during extractions and for those with compromised health conditions such as those receiving cancer treatments, those with auto-immune disease or any other condition where a physical barrier will benefit client or therapist. There is room for tools including micro-current probes, microdermabrasion tools, needling devices, infusion wands and massage and touch techniques.
I love the feedback I get from clients and therapists. They have added confidence, feel safer and are thriving. The long term survival of an industry that I love is the best thing ever!