By Andrea Nagel

On March 18, salon owner Eva Scrivo temporarily shuttered her eponymous Flatiron District and Upper East Side locations, and like most service providers, made the gut wrenching decision to lay off staff—most of whom are like family—so that they could receive government assistance, as a result of COVID-19. A salon operator in Manhattan for 25 years, Eva has overcome many challenges over the course of her entrepreneurship, which has seen her open and close three salons (not including the shops she still has) in different locations throughout the city—one of which perished in a fire. But Eva is a fighter: her business, which is overseen by her husband Arik, survived the financial downturn following 9/11, and the depression in 2008-2009. And it looks like she may have come up with a way to get her business through the next several months, a time when businesses came to a grinding halt. Currently hunkering down at her home in Bedford, NY, the stylist/colorist/makeup artist, and author of Eva Scrivo on Beauty, is far from spending her stay-at-home time baking banana bread and downloading exercise apps. Here, Eva tells CEW Beauty News what’s looking to keep her business afloat despite closing up shop.

We were fortunate enough to have six feet of space in between clients at the salon anyway, plus we did our best to sit clients every other station to create even more distance, so people did want to come in until we closed on March 18. We were very busy until close to the end. But it was really uncomfortable going into work. Working so close to people, I don’t know how you can apply social distancing to the hair and makeup industry. Many of our employees were at risk taking public transportation, it was scary for them. We were  actually so relieved to close. We only wish it had happened two weeks before. Every day mattered during that time.

We were trying to get in all our clients before they boarded flights to leave the city because there was a mass exodus out of New York, and they didn’t know when they’d be returning. As a courtesy, I started giving away little color kits as gifts to my color clients. I figured I wouldn’t see them for at least a month. They were so appreciative, blown away. And as I started doing this, one client said there’s a huge need for this and I should really start charging. But I was just doing it as a courtesy.

Then I became inundated with requests, like, over 100 in just the first week after we closed, from not just clients but their friends and family, people who live in remote areas. And I was like, ‘Oh my God, what am I going to do?’ I had to source the containers I was putting formulas in; I had to get application brushes. And all of the vendors had closed. So, I went into the salon two weeks ago, which was really scary, with a mask and gloves on, and packed up a lot of color out of my dispensary so I could create a home lab. So, I’ve had no rest. I’ve been formulating, mixing, packing, making labels. It’s like starting a new business. Everyone’s just asking me to formulate for them.

So, I went into the salon two weeks ago, which was really scary, with a mask and gloves on, and packed up a lot of color out of my dispensary so I could create a home lab.

I’m really glad now that we had the foresight to place a big color order just before we closed. I sensed that we weren’t going to be able to get color for a while. I figured the distributors would be closing if the salons are closed. I’m packaging the formulas in little plastic airtight canisters, the operation is quite rough around the edges. There’s no tagging or branding, I just write the customer’s name on each canister and I’ve posted application instructions online, where the color kits are purchased. I have also been in regular communication with clients over email, phone and FaceTime. As you can imagine, there are many questions. We have now added custom glazes and treatments, as clients are asking for them, and are creating a how-to video for at-home color application. And thank God I had all these brushes from a recent hair color seminar, so I’m including a brush in each first-time kit and asking clients to keep the brush, not to throw it away, it will last for years. Because gloves are needed by health care workers, there aren’t any gloves in the kits at this time.

Since I’ve never seen many of the people who are asking for me to formulate color kits for them, I’ve started doing virtual consultations. I am charging now $100 for the virtual consultations, while each color kit is $55. I just did a few FaceTime’s this morning. The downside was I had to do my hair, put on makeup and a bra! But I’ve also realized that I’m really good at formulating based on photos alone. So we’ve programmed our online store to enable customers to upload photos of their hair, taken according to the instructions we provide, when purchasing the color kits. What started as giving away pre-mixed color as a courtesy has now, for about the last three weeks, evolved to taking orders via our online store, email and virtual consultations.

What has been particularly encouraging about this whole thing, if there is a silver lining, is that when I sent out the email to my database of clients telling them about this new service, all of a sudden I started hearing from clients I hadn’t heard from in years. Some people had moved out of the area; some can’t physically come in anymore; some simply moved on.  But the clients began emailing me and sending me pictures of their hair asking if I could send them a kit. These are people I really loved and missed. Not to mention the many new clients whom I’ve never met before. It is overwhelming.

Then something else interesting happened. I received an email from a woman who said that she’s a healthcare worker in the NYC area, and that she heard from a friend that I was formulating color kits from home. So I asked her to send me photos of her hair, and I sent her a kit as a gift; it’s the least I can do. She was so happy and the next day I received an email from another nurse who works with her, and I sent her a free color kit as well. I haven’t really advertised this because I would never be able to keep up with the demand, but the news is spreading, so I would encourage all salon professionals to contribute in whatever way they can, especially while there’s so much downtime for most.

As far as other colorists making at-home color kits, go for it if you have access to color and other tools, but you need to have the expertise to be able to look at a photo or a video and really understand what that client’s hair needs are, and also have the patience to do this. It takes years of experience and a very keen eye for someone to be able to quickly and effectively formulate color virtually.

I would encourage all salon professionals to contribute in whatever way they can, especially while there’s so much downtime for most.

Yes, our staff is on unemployment right now, which is the best way to ensure that they continue to receive an income while our business is shut down. We’ve been waiting for the small business relief loans to become active and have been trying to wrap our heads around how exactly they will work, so that we can hopefully get people back onto payroll. I really miss them and wish I could be with them. We reach out regularly to our staff, keeping them updated on everything, rallying the troops, sharing positive stories and checking in on how everyone is feeling.

You know, being an entrepreneur, we always kind of hope for the best and prepare for the worst. My take on this whole situation is that while the business shutdowns are temporary, this experience is likely to change consumer behavior for possibly years to come. We’re not just going to flip a switch in a month or two and have everything go back to the way it was before this pandemic. Clients will have a new appreciation for being enabled to do more things at home, whether it’s an in-between salon visit color touchup or an at-home facial. And businesses that can get ahead of that trend will be best positioned to create more value for their customers and succeed in this new world. This year is my 25th year in business and we’ve had to make many adjustments to the way we do things over that time. This is the next phase.


To order a Custom Color Kit by Eva Scrivo, visit: