Heyday, the affordable and practical "modern facial shop," announced in an email Friday that it was letting go of its hundreds of skin therapists, hosts, and shop attendants. The decision is an attempt to weather financial trouble and allow its employees to apply for unemployment during the global coronavirus outbreak, the company's founders said.
Heyday said it will continue to pay a healthcare contribution until the end of April, and its staff will receive their final paychecks next week. To help the departing staff, the company has created a GoFundMe, which it called the "Heyday Faces Relief Fund," to which customers can contribute.
"This heartbreaking decision was a last resort in extraordinary times," the founders, Michael Pollak and Adam Ross, wrote in an email to customers. "It gives our team the financial stability, through government assistance, that we simply can't provide as a business without our door open. We did this to ensure that our beloved team has a work home to come back to on the other side of all this."
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The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
"This was a decision not expected by employees, as Heyday has always preached how the skin therapists are the backbone of their company," said a New York–based skin therapist, who requested anonymity to speak freely.
"Skin therapists make pennies without any clients, and a lot of these skin therapists include young single mothers and low-income New Yorkers," they continued. "These people rely on tip money for the meat of their paychecks and getting unemployment based on their hourly pay is simply not enough to get by."
The news comes only a week after Pollak and Ross announced that they would be closing their 11 locations nationwide, most of them in New York and Los Angeles, and automatically cancelling any upcoming appointments for the time being. They had also said that they would be paying their workers their hourly rate while the stores remained closed—and encouraged patrons to donate money in lieu of uncollected tips, while their skin therapists would use their days "to gather online for ongoing education and keep up the day-to-day 'skin talk' that makes Heyday special."
Now, that decision has changed. Much like other non-essential businesses across the country, Pollak and Ross noted that these layoffs should be temporary—and people will have their jobs back whenever the pandemic ends.
Here is their full email to customers:
It’s with the heaviest of hearts that we’ve had to make the devastating decision to let go of the lifeblood of our Heyday community — our Skin Therapists, Hosts, and Shop Attendants. They are the Heyday you have come to know and love — showing up every day to help you put your best face forward.
We've worked hard to do right by our team every single day since we started this company almost five years ago. This heartbreaking decision was a last resort in extraordinary times. It gives our team the financial stability through unemployment that we simply cannot provide as a business without our doors open. We did this to ensure that our beloved team has a work home to come back to on the other side of all this.
Over the years, we’ve assembled a team of more than 300 Skin Therapists and Hosts across our 11 shops nationwide. Like many of you, our Shop Teams have hopped on Zoom this week, communing (and masking!) in Heyday University, a skincare education and personal growth space we furiously created last weekend as soon as we knew our shops would be closed. The connections we’ve seen online have been the absolute sunshine through this cloudiest of weeks.
Our team will receive their last paycheck early next week and we will continue to pay our healthcare contribution through the end of April.
To support our Shop Teams, we have started a Heyday Faces Relief Fund to distribute among our Shop Teams at the end of March. We’re deeply grateful by the messages of support we’ve received from you so far. Even in these uncertain times, we believe in the generosity of our community.
- You can donate to the Fund directly here.
- For our Members, a reminder that all April charges will be canceled. If you’d like to donate this charge, please do so directly in the Fund
- We’ll allocate 50% of all gift card purchases through March to the Fund
- We’ll allocate 10% of e-commerce sales through March to the Fund
Ironically, the very social distancing we’re experiencing has brought us closer together than we've ever been. While we don’t know what the weeks and months ahead hold, we eagerly await the day when we are able to rehire our teams, reopen our doors, and welcome back our clients that have been with us through all of it.
In health, and with gratitude,
Adam & Michael, Co-Founders
Anna Merlan contributed reporting.
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