A HAIRDRESSER shortage may be facing Bendigo salons, with one business owner warning she is struggling to find experienced staff.
It comes as hairdressers manage the twin challengesof soaring demand for cuts after Victoria's most recent snap lockdown, on top of making up for nearly two weeks of cancelled appointments.
Some have wait times of up to three weeks for even straightforward cuts.
Hair Retreat owner Jessica Cutting said staff were working extra hours at her salon to make up appointments missed during the lockdown, and increased demand.
But Mrs Cutting said Bendigo had been experiencing a significant hairdresser shortage for more than six months.
She said her staff had gone from six to three, but like other salons she had been unable to fill the empty positions.
"I know of eight or nine saloons that have been advertising for qualifieds. The demand's there for the work, but not many places can get staff," Mrs Cutting said.
Mrs Cutting said she believed the stop-start nature of lockdowns had led to hairdressers leaving the industry, or moving interstate.
She said the shortage even extended into apprentices in their second or third year.
Mrs Cutting said she was afraid of what the staff shortage would mean for her business in the long term.
In the short term, Mrs Cutting said staff at Hair Retreat were working to fill a backlog of nearly two weeks of appointments lost to the lockdown.
She said wait times could be as long as three weeks, depending on the appointment type.
Wait times at salon HairFolk were also two to three weeks for a haircut, longer for a colour.
Owner Jemma Lea said they had extended hours for people who missed appointments, about 350 in total.
But Ms Lea said more people were also calling to book in than normal, a pattern they had seen after each lockdown.
"I think everyone gets bored, and think everyone wants a change in hair," Ms Lea said.
"Everyone's probably a little bit surprised [by the wait time], but then it probably make sense when we say we've got two weeks of people who've missed appointments."
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