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Efforts of Le GRACE 1F Nakahachi Building, 4-36-13 Kitakoiwa, Edogawa-ku, Tokyo
A beauty salon where anyone can comfortably become prettier
Creating a community-based, barrier-free beauty salon
Le GRACE is a community-based beauty salon located in front of Edogawa Station. The salon opened for business in 1998 and started pursuing efforts to become a barrier-free beauty salon in terms of both tangible and intangible aspects 10 years ago due to the aging of local customers. The facts that the salon employees value their community and consider business from the perspective of their customers enable them to achieve meticulous service. Takahiro Konno, a stylist, talked to us about the salon's specific efforts.
Barrier-free-oriented improvements in which the government was involved as well
When we first opened our doors, our salon was on the 2nd floor, and we had a kids' room. About 10 years after that, our elderly customers and others who wanted to come to the salon with elderly companions started complaining that getting to the 2nd floor was difficult due to the lack of an elevator.
In January 2011, as this was going on, the 1st-floor tenants moved away from the building, so we decided to renew our salon to make it barrier-free from the entrance to the inside of the salon itself.
To remove the entrance steps, public-road construction work was necessary as well. Therefore, a representative of our salon consulted with the government, and we were able to replace the nearby road steps with a slope. We also installed handrails at the entrance.
Steps taken in terms of both tangible and intangible aspects
Aside from the entrance slope, our restrooms are spaciously designed to enable wheelchair access. In addition-to ensure that wheelchair users and physically disabled customers can relax as they receive their treatment-the area at the back of the store is set up like private rooms. Many of our customers do not want other customers watching them, so there is high demand for our private rooms.
In addition, we have introduced two movable shampoo basins so that customers don't have to move around the salon. This makes it possible to shampoo customers as they sit in their wheelchairs. We don't charge any extra fees for wheelchair or private-room use.
In terms of human resources, our representatives have obtained helper level 2 certification, and we have a system under which we pay half the cost of efforts by our employees to obtain certification.
We also provide a pick-up and drop-off service in the Koiwa area. We purchased a vehicle that has revolving seats to make it easier for customers with disabilities of the legs to get on and off. There's high demand for this service, and it is used around once per week. We don't charge any fees for picking up or dropping off customers. Even outside the Koiwa area, we try to respond to the need for this service whenever possible.
Hardships faced and steps taken to create a comfortable salon
The hardest thing about dealing with the special needs of customers is making adjustments to put as little burden as possible on them in terms of their posture when shampooing them, etc. Because the situation of each customer differs, we come up with specific ways to deal with each customer and ensure that they can comfortably receive their treatment. In particular, it is difficult for customers who can't stand straight up to achieve the almost horizontal posture necessary for our shampoo basins, so we make fine adjustments to the chair height, use cushions, and take other steps so that they can receive their treatment in a posture that isn't uncomfortable. We listen to the opinions of our customers on posture, etc. and study on a daily basis to try to improve our salon. In addition, we strive to finish providing treatment to each customer as quickly as possible to minimize the burden on them.
Because the situation of each customer is unique, we do not deal with them based on a manual. Instead, we take a hard look at each customer and handle them face-to-face. This applies to the treatment posture mentioned above as well, but I believe that it is necessary to take a good look at each customer's situation and try to figure out how to make their treatment more comfortable and how to make it feel better.
If we can find shampoo basins that are easier to use, I would like to introduce them. Nothing makes us happier than for our customers to become healthier based on their desire to always be beautiful, so I hope that we can continue running our beauty salon as a place that anyone can visit.
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