How inflation impacts ‘beauty budgets’ in southern Alberta

Click to play video: 'Inflation posing challenges for self-care businesses in Lethbridge'
Inflation posing challenges for self-care businesses in Lethbridge
While haircuts, spa visits, tattoos and piercings may not be necessities, many Canadians utilize these services as acts of self-care. Eloise Therien has more on if the higher cost of living has impacted these businesses. – Nov 10, 2022

Inflation may be top of mind for many southern Albertans right now, especially when it comes to necessities like groceries. But the cost of discretionary spending has also gone up. Does that mean people are spending less on themselves?

According to Amy Arsene, an artist with Intuition Tattoo & Piercing in Lethbridge, supply cost jumps are a double-edged sword: tattoos are expensive because they cost a lot to create.

“Every time we set up to tattoo, it’s at least $100, if not more, just for us to set up depending on what we’re doing,” she explained.

“So with the costs of inks and gloves, and barriers, everything we need to keep our clients safe raising — we also have to accommodate that and raise our prices.”

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However, people are still coming in to get their permanent art. Arsene said she tries to set a flat rate for clients beforehand, to ensure they know what they’ll be able to afford it.

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“We’re doing well, I don’t think we’re struggling but we have noticed how expensive everything is,” Arsene said.

It’s important for Snip Style Lounge owner and stylist Kayla Piecharka to work within a client’s “beauty budget.”

For her salon, the biggest hit has been the cost of lightener for clients wanting go blonde.

Still, clients seem to be prioritizing self care into their budgets . Piecharka said things are much better than the tumultuous period of closures due to COVID-19 pandemic health measures.

“Rather than getting that high-maintenance colour every six weeks, we try to focus on something that’s going to last you eight weeks, 10 weeks, (or) three months down the road,” Piecharka explained.

Levi Cox, longtime stylist and owner of Catwalk Salon & Spa, echoed a similar sentiment. He’s surprised by how constant the changes are.

“I told a client that her shampoo was $32, and when I went to the front it turned out it was $37,” he said.

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Click to play video: 'Food bank use at ‘critical’ levels in Alberta'
Food bank use at ‘critical’ levels in Alberta

Black Magic Collective is home to five independent businesses, including tattoo, hair and permanent makeup.

While the tattoo side of things have been seeing slow downs, there isn’t too much worry when it comes to their clients, especially heading into the holiday season.

“Everybody wants to make financial adjustments for things like that, so they can feel good and feel ready,” hair stylist Jesse Harsayni said.

“It’s always going to be something that people do to take care of themselves.”

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