Nabila responds to backlash over equipping salon workers with PPE

People think the ace stylist should be donating protective gear to health workers not profiting from it

Rida Lodhi May 06, 2020
KARACHI: These are unprecedented times. The world is battling through a pandemic. The economy is going down the drain, many are trying to adjust to the 'new normal'.

As many try to cope with how this will now be how the world may work, there are businesses that are trying to take the apt precautionary measures to bounce back. But sometimes even the kindest intentions backfire, which according to Nabila was the case when her salon came under fire for equipping their staffers with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits.


Over the weekend, the salon owner shared a video on the Nabila Salon's Instagram page about how she has been rethinking the future of her business with necessary precautionary measures.

"Service industry is suffering the most," she said in the video. "We all have a choice. We can either live in the circle of concern, freak out, watch the news or wait for things to happen, or we can live in the circle of influence and take full charge."

Nabila shared that being an optimist, she would choose the latter option and make decisions regarding her personal and professional life by 'Raising the Bar.'

Nabila Salon's Instagram handle then went on to share posts on how the salon has decided to equip its staff with PPE kits and everyone walking into the salon would have to sanitise and get the temperature checked.

The caption of the posts read, "Our founders' vision for the future of NABILA Salons. A safe space with a superior level of hygiene combined with the best practices and medical level sanitisation to ensure the health and wellbeing of everyone who walks through our doors."

Soon after the posts went up, many took to Instagram and slammed the salon for not doing the right thing by donating those PPE kits to frontline healthcare workers.


In a series of comments, the salon received severe backlash for ignoring the country-wide shortage of protective gear and using PPE to 'attract business.'


The criticism didn't sit well with Nabila and she went on to respond to the comments.


In a now-deleted comment, Nabila fired back, "We have more PPE than required at the moment as all garment factories are making PPEs and masks. Hypocrisy means saying something and doing something else. We are doing what we are saying. It's a lot better than waiting and asking for govt to pay us."

Another user expressed concern about how the staff members of the salon might have elderly members. "If any vulnerable person catches virus because of your stupid haircut, would you be proactive then?"


To this, Nabila retorted, "Please do what you think is right and stay home as you may get hit by a truck before the coronavirus gets to you. Don't preach to me as I am not asking for your myopic opinions coming from a pea-sized brain."

Nabila's bigger picture

After the screenshots went viral, The Express Tribune reached out to Nabila who is also the President of Pakistan's Hair and Beauty Association, to elaborate on the controversy.

"There is something I would like to clarify first," she said. "We have not been given any permission to reopen salons yet. We are still waiting for the go-ahead. The video I put up over the weekend was on how we can adapt to the new normal. Many salons are open for services, so being a visionary, I wanted to suggest few ways on how we can get back in business while keeping the precautionary measure in our minds."

Talking about the social media backlash, Nabila shared that she will not be silenced by trolls and bullies.

"Many are accusing me of hoarding PPEs, let me tell you that isn't the case," she asserted. "I have a friend who owns a garment factory and was excited to lend me some of the kits. I made the video using the very same kits. If we are allowed to reopen, maybe then I will order from him."

As far as the shortage of PPE kits is concerned, Nabila said that the shortage was a month ago and the gear has been available for a while now.

"China donated a lot of PPE kits and N95 masks," she replied. "There is no shortage of it. Even if some hospitals aren't accessible to them, how is it my responsibility to provide the gears to them?"

She then went on to speak about social media criticism.

"I will not be bullied," Nabila commented. "I am not doing anything wrong. I am being responsible, I am being proactive, I am paying my employees. What many don't know is that we have paid our employees from our own pockets for the last two months. Should we just fire them? How much cash do these bullies think we have?"

She also added how the bullies and trolls are trying to shut her up and ridicule her for being a 'mere' salon owner.

"You think I am beneath you? I will not listen to such comments," Nabila remarked. "Maybe I shouldn't have used a few words when I was responding but my sentiment underneath all this is the same. I will not back down."

Nabila went on to add the salon industry is a huge business, which employees thousands of people. "We are responsible for the bread and butter of hundreds of families. How can we not think of ways to fall in line with this new norm? Should we not be considering the possibilities on how the world would work post-corona?" she questioned.

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