When we first wrote about COCOdry, we described it as a hair salon that wouldn't cut or dye your hair. They are a blowdry bar that specializes in hair styling and washing instead.
After the co-founders Kim and Shan were inspired by the concept and its popularity overseas, they wanted to repeat it here.
It took almost a year of careful planning before COCOdry was launched in Bangsar on December 7, 2019.
Once they did, the reception was better than expected and they were able to gain a significant following within a few months by letting the market know about this unusual concept.
"We spent the first two months building the brand and sharing the natural products and services we offer across different platforms," said Kim Vulcan Post in a follow-up interview.
“When we launched, up to 30% of our customers were originally from overseas. We grew from a handful of customers a day to up to 20 a day just before the MCO, ”she added.
When the MCO arrived, COCOdry naturally had to close its doors like all other hairdressing salons and hairdressers.
Find a way to pan
"With an operating time of just over three months, our go-to-minimum viable (MVP) product consisted of using the stationary element to increase sales," said Kim.
"With MCO in place and no physical operations possible, there was literally RM0 revenue associated with high operating costs such as rent and wages."
Kim and Shan then wondered what they could do in the meantime while adding value to the community they had already built.
In early April, they launched COCOdry's e-commerce business and sold hair products and treatments with an amazing response, Kim said.
Although every other company tries to do the same, COCOdry has decided to stand out by buying 1 free 1 promotion.
With the extra time they didn't have to take care of customers personally, they put all the remaining resources into improving their online presence and maintaining community relationships.
"We posted tons of videos, from seasonal news like preparing for Raya during the MCO to hair tutorials and simple but important short clips that spread positivity and joy," said Kim.
"Behind the scenes, we also have very supportive investors and our landlord, who was very understanding at the time."
Better than before
On June 10th, COCOdry was finally allowed to open again and we wanted to know what the reaction was so far.
"It not only resumed, it also worked better than before!" Exclaimed Kim. "50% of our customers paid us a visit because of our constant commitment and the content we created during the MCO."
This alleviated their initial concerns that customers would not come due to concerns about non-essential expenses and proximity to hair care.
All of their booking slots have either been full or almost full since the reopening, although social distancing SOPs that reduced their full capacity also played a role.
Since the new SOPs, in addition to a slightly reduced cash flow, incur additional costs for the operators of hair services, COCOdry must ensure that there are enough runways to stay afloat until business returns to normal.
Kim said that they actually have enough capital from their previous fundraisers to support the business during this period.
"Not to mention, the promising first week's earnings suggest early signs that the L-shape recovery that most people are concerned about may only accelerate."
“I have personally observed in the past few weeks that the public spaces are gradually returning to normal, restaurants are getting full and our beloved traffic jams are back. The new normal is not that strange. I'm definitely cautiously optimistic, ”she added.
The new normal of a hairdressing salon
In line with government SOPs, here's what COCOdry's daily routines look like now.
The employees wear face protection, face masks and gloves in accordance with the association guidelines, and only 6 customers are allowed to enter COCOdry. You then sit 2 meters apart.
Social distance markers and procedures, checked / Photo credit: COCOdry
Services are provided on an appointment basis, since most regular guests are already familiar with their online booing system.
Before you can enter the salon, a screening is carried out. Every time a customer is finished and leaves, the devices and rooms they use are cleaned.
"Unfortunately, we use a limited service model for the foreseeable function, since we are not allowed to offer any of our tai tai products such as washing (hair) on seats and massages," added Kim.
No room for doubt
Since COCOdry offers a still unknown concept here, we wondered if Kim had any second thoughts or doubts about starting it, and even more with the current pandemic.
This is particularly because one would assume that their main customers are those who want blowouts mainly for events and those who are not in full swing again.
"To say that I didn't doubt myself before starting the business would be a lie," she admitted.
But I like to see doubts from a different perspective. It is my internal control and balance that would further strengthen my thoughts about why I decided to start at all.
Kim, co-founder of COCOdry
For her, a woman should not only put on make-up, dress up and style her hair for customer meetings, nice family meals or other special occasions.
"A woman should be able to do any of the above when she feels like it. It's about making you feel positive and safe anywhere, anytime. We believe in this and try to educate our community. "
With this in mind, COCOdry is turned on, and the current plan during this crisis is to improve cash flow in the short to medium term while expanding the e-commerce shop for natural products.
"We will also take this time to improve the team and learn with the aim of soon producing COCOdry's own hair products," said Kim.
- You can read our previous function on COCOdry here.
Selected image source: COCOdry