Curly Hair Designs owner focuses on hair academy during pandemic shutdowns

A woman styling hair inside of a salon in OttawaWhitelocke styling hair at Curly Hair Designs. Photo courtesy of Paula Whitelocke.

Business, Community

Paula Whitelocke, owner of Curly Hair Designs and curly hair specialist, is one of many small business owners in Ottawa that are feeling uncertain when it comes to the future of their livelihoods. During the pandemic’s recent lockdowns and stay-at-home orders, Whitelocke has pivoted to focus on her online hair academy.

Curly Hair Designs, previously known as “Hair Designs by Paula”, is a hair salon at 275 Britannia Rd. that has been in business for 11 years now.

As soon as the Dec. 26 provincial lockdown was announced in Ontario, Whitelocke had to cancel all appointments set for the end of that month and for the days moving forward.

“I think this time, it’s a little bit different, than it was the last several months,”  said Whitelocke.

She was able to receive the grant for small businesses which Whitelocke said was a huge relief. But Whitelocke stated that going back and forth with the government about what the business was eligible for was definitely a challenge.

“I think the impact a lot of the time is more so emotional than anything, you know I think that the finances you can kind of […] the wage subsidies, and the rent subsidies, there’s different ways to kind of have that you know be something that helps over time,” added Whitelocke.

A piece of advice that Whitelocke gives to other business owners that are trying to survive COVID-19 is to check eligibility requirements on government grants and supports.

“We do have resources all around us, whether they be grants, or whatever they may be,” said Whitelocke.

Whitelocke is currently focusing on building her academy, Curls Understood the Academy, which she said has been her saving grace.

To learn more about live classes, visit the Curls Understood the Academy website or follow Curly Hair Designs on social media @curlyhairdesigns and @curlsunderstoodtheacademy.

Here is CHUO’s interview with Curly Hair Designs owner Paula Whitelocke:

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