“When you’re forced, it’s amazing how resourceful you can be.”

Meet ELP Barbershop – one of the astonishing businesses who through the pandemic found new ways to generate income. Find out how.


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Read time: 2 mins      Added: 12/05/2021

Emma who owns a chain of pubs and a barber shop in Angel, North London, admits that unlike the first lockdown, grasping the severity of what the pandemic would mean for her multiple businesses didn’t happen overnight. However, going from ’it’ll be nice to have three weeks off’ to ‘How am I going to survive?’ soon became a harsh reality when a full book of hair appointments and pub tables disappeared overnight.

With an ‘all or nothing’ attitude and an ever-present awareness of her responsibility for the livelihood of her staff, not just her own, she began to look at ways where the business could successfully come out the other side and control their own reality.

What they did differently during lockdown:

“I thought I was just a hairdresser.”

Product development. Originally something that started in her kitchen, lockdown forced Emma to finalise the development of a new beard oil product range. Tapping into the current zeitgeist, and learning how to pivot to find other parts of the business to create turnover, the new range is set to launch in June this year.

Boosted online sales. a surprising outcome from customers was that they truly cherished the products ELP had on sale. Despite it being more convenient to purchase from a large high street retailer, the demand for home deliveries increased and became a positive revenue stream. 

Protected more than just jobs. part of ELP’s philosophy is to encourage a workforce who are passionate about what they do. This is partly achieved by setting high wages, so when the business successfully applied for furlough they were protecting more than just jobs, they were protecting a lifestyle choice for everyone involved. 

Created a mobile pub (out of a black cab). Although initially seen as a vanity project, and whilst persuading punters it wasn’t a cab but a mobile pub, trying something different created an unexpected amount of awareness and buzz around the community, which meant they stayed firmly on their customers’ map.

Looking forward:

“Whatever you think your business does, you can do 100 other things.”

It is clear that lockdown unearthed a level of resilience Emma and her business partner didn’t know they had. Despite the difficulties, the experience will have a positive impact on how they will run their businesses in the long term.

They have lost some capacity across sites due to Covid regulations, but the barbershop is fully booked, thanks in part to the flexibility working from home brings to a customer base. Everyone is also very excited for their beard oil to launch and be on the market.

Good news for ELP, and good news for budding beard growers everywhere.

ELP Barbershop, Angel, North London

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