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Browsing 2021 - A Year in Review

Vanita Parti, Blink Brow Bar founder
 Happy New Year to all our wonderful customers. As the Blink Founder, the past 2 years have been super challenging. 2021 seems almost little dreamlike as it is hard to remember when we were open and when we were closed. The first question that people still ask is how did we survive such a challenging time? This time last year we were firmly closed with a view that we would open in a couple of weeks. We would have been in complete panic and sheer disbelief if we had known that we wouldn't open our doors until Mid April. 
 

The time had to be productive, whilst being a rollercoaster of uncertainty.

Blink became a regular spokesperson for all close contact services who had been dealt an unfair hand in 2020 due to being deemed as ‘close contact’ and we were determined that this wouldn’t happen again.

The Beauty Council, led by Millie Kendall and Beauty Backed, led by Caroline Hirons (a charity for beauty services struggling) became even more crucial in our community and I was proud to represent Blink as part of that. Beauty reports were stating that the ‘eyes have it’ and as masks became imperative, sales in brow and lash products rose whilst those in lipsticks shrunk.

We wondered how we could best support the NHS and sending boxes of brow products the nurses spirits seemed to be a small gesture, that was warmly received. We relinquished our Head Office as an unnecessary cost and worked to ensure our digital platform was up to scratch and that Social Platforms kept our customers engaged and informed.

Lockdown taught many businesses that change is needed and adapting to a new environment is a must for survival. Just because our brow bars weren't open, our customers still had eyebrows that needed tending to. They wanted expert advice and the tools to execute that advice. Online consultations were switched on and brow and lash sales multiplied ten times. IGTV became our new best friend and we all learned to share beauty tips via a screen.

Our BBB Brow Scissors, BBB Brow Tamer and BBB Tweezers were in hot demand to shape brows. Sharply followed by colour pencils to fill the brows, Ultimate Arch Definer being the hot favourite and then the Clear Brow Gel to lift them and keep brows in shape. It was also a time to take care of both brows and lashes with our oils formulated to enrich them with vitamins, hydrate them and bring back shine. 

 

When the go ahead was given for doors to eventually open in Spring, my heart was in my mouth, would customers have been converted to taking care of brows at home or would they return in the numbers pre-covid? I didn't need to worry, we reassuringly had a waiting list in thousands and the need for brow bars, in a Covid-conscious environment was thankfully still alive and kicking. Customers craved the dexterous hands of our therapists. The light touch of the thread to whisk away the smallest of unwanted hair and create 2 perfectly shaped brows that once again lifted cheekbones and made them feel human again. For those that aren't brow obsessives, this may seem extreme but once you have been touched by the skill of blink therapist, you join a different appreciative camp, of which (surprise surprise) I am for one, a firm member. 

 As the Market Leader in Brow Threading, we had to find the safest way to deliver our service. When doors opened in Mid April, I was the first one in the door, demonstrating how we could thread safely, with a new method that entailed wrapping thread around the neck rather than using the moth to clasp the thread. Our Lead Trainer, Jaimineey Patel, did a remarkable job of training 200 therapists across Blink to thread in this revolutionary way via zoom. 

 

Has business been the same as pre covid? It’s changed.  Women have learned to take care of brows using tools at home, investing in tools, brow colour and Blink Brow Pinching to improve circulation -  which is a positive for the digital business. Those that still relish the human touch and still want to have a rounded experience in store, where they can indulge in personal consultations and a brow massage, have returned. Wellness is important to get that time away and our signature massage around an important Ayurvedic zone (forehead and eyes) has become invaluable. 

As a business we want to make the instore experience even more inviting and relaxing. We chose to open a new store in Knightsbridge to celebrate having a quiet space for a brief moment, where you can be magically transported by a sandalwood scent and soothing music to that of something similar to a retreat in India, whilst be magically transformed in the blink chair. 

The Omicron variant has created more doubt but we are ready for whatever comes our way. With a dedicated work force (for whom I am truly thankful) and dedicated customers, Blink looks forward to the next chapter. A combination of online consultations, instore visits (maybe a smaller spread of brow bars), with a deeply relaxing experience, a better connection between the online and instore blink experience and more educational content.

Some are saying that the new chapter is skinny brows but we say remember eyebrows are part of your identity. Shape them to reflect who you are and not who anyone says you should be. They are there to empower and give you confidence. Hence our new strapline of Your Brows. Your Way. There are only 3 basic rules to shaping brows: Mapping the beginning, middle and end of the brow  to maintain symmetry, the rest is yours to play with.

Let 2022 be a year of positive change to adapt to a new norm but also holding on to the best of 2019, community and face to face interaction. Either way, brows have proved to continue to be high on the priority list and so we have to find the best ways to deliver this to our customers, whatever gets in our way. Here's to opportunity, change, brow empowerment, love and light for 2022.

 

 

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