To my customers, your love and loyalty give me hope

To: My customers

From: Tonia Marra (As told to Lauren Brill)

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To my customers,

Ten years ago, I became a business owner when I took over D’agostino Hair Artistry from my mother. Being an entrepreneur is different from a regular job. I don’t have a set salary.  I don’t have sick leave. I don’t have vacation pay. If I don’t work, I don’t get paid. So, in ten years, one week is the longest I have ever closed my shop, until now.

In March, we all became more informed about the dangers of COVID-19 and the rate at which it is spreading. To protect myself and all of you, on March 14th, I closed my shop and I still don’t know when it will be safe to reopen.

Tonia Marra is a small business owner.

For the first time in my ten years in business, there is a tremendous amount of uncertainty. From a personal and professional perspective, this pandemic is scary.

However, I want you all to know that amid all the challenges we are facing, I am thankful that one aspect of my business that is certain right now is my relationships with all of you.

By doing your hair and providing you with services that make you feel good, we have developed an intimate connection. My salon has become a space for vulnerability, allowing us to establish a sense of trust.

You know my motto, “What is said at the salon stays in the salon.”

Throughout these past ten years, you all have shared with me your family struggles, marital struggles, dreams, new careers, old careers and loss of careers. I have watched some of you grow up. Others, I have seen go off to college and come back from college.

However, I want you all to know that amid all the challenges we are facing, I am thankful that one aspect of my business that is certain right now is my relationships with all of you.

As much as I have tried to be there for all of you, you all have been there for me.

After I got married and had my first baby, it was a trying time – lack of sleep, not being sure exactly what I was doing and figuring out how to balance my time as a wife, a homemaker, a business owner and a mom. Besides getting advice from my mother, I was able to talk to all of you. Each of you offered me different perspectives and stories from your experiences. It allowed me to pick and choose the tips that worked best for me.

Tonia says her clients gave her advice on motherhood after she had her first child.

I remember one of you told me, “Each stage of your child’s life goes so fast. Make sure you enjoy each stage and embrace each stage.”

It was simple advice, but it resonated with me and helped me to slow down and celebrate each precious moment of motherhood.

Right now, I miss all of you so much. I have tried to keep in touch with as many of you as possible. It’s easy to get stir crazy, depressed, or anxious, so I want all of you to know that I am still here.

Also, I am doing my best to take care of your beauty needs from afar. A lot of you are concerned about your new growth or your grey growth. I’m offering a service to customize and custom mix your colors. It’s curbside pick up. We stay six feet apart.

During this pandemic, I have had time to self-reflect as a person and as a business owner. Personally, spending more time with my children has made me think more about my work-life balance.  Professionally, I know I can’t put all my eggs in one basket anymore and I must diversify my business by adding more e-commerce and online services. However, more than anything, this time away from all of you has made me realize how grateful I am for each and every one of you. You all aren’t just customers. Through the years, you have become family.

With so many uncertainties in our lives, I am writing to thank you from the bottom of my heart. During this difficult and unprecedented situation, each one of you provides me with great comfort, knowing whenever my salon does come back, so will all of you.

I can’t wait to see you.

I appreciate you all so much. Stay safe and healthy. We are in this together.

Tonia Marra
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