Faced with a prolonged closure due to COVID-19 restrictions, Hawkesbury hairdresser and esthetician Kim Rouire pivoted the sales methods of her business to ensure it continued to stay open.

Rouire owns Charalex Beauté on James Street in downtown Hawkesbury. When hair and nail salons were closed in Ontario, she was unable to provide those services to customers. Rouire is also a distributor of hair and nail products to other salon owners, so she decided to move her sales online to better reach wholesale and retail customers. She created an online boutique.

“I impressed myself, I really did a good job!” said Rouire, who admitted her computer skills and confidence were not strong before she created the online store. She worked on it gradually at night after her two children had gone to bed.

Rouire began assembling a website for her products in 2017, but the salon kept her busy and prevented the website from becoming extensive. When she began featuring more products online, interest from prospective customers increased.

“A lot of people were texting me after I posted it on social media,” she said.

The products available on Charalex Beauté’s website range from combs and brushes to shampoos and beard balms for a range of customers from salons to individuals who enjoy having a fashionable presence.

For many of the nail care products, Rouire is the only vendor for them in all of Ontario. She wants to expand her business to better serve customers, and that means adding a sales representative to visit salons.

“I need a rep,” said Rouire, noting she serves clients in Grenville and Lachute.

Under Stage One of Ontario’s Roadmap to Reopen plan, salons are allowed to sell their products like other retail stores, but hairstyling and manicures are not allowed. However, when Stage Two takes effect on June 30, hairstyling, manicures, and other esthetics services will be permitted.

Rouire’s online store can be found at charalexbeautelaboutique.com .