After nine months of hard work building her cosmetic injectables business, Telisa Larken was ready to move into her own space.
She had been running The Injectables Queen from a room in a Cooks Hill shared health space, but the business was growing so she set up a clinic at Charlestown.
It was due to open August 9, but four days before that the city went into lockdown.
"That was really hard for us," Ms Larken said. "My husband completely renovated the whole place.
"We were getting all these bookings, we had trained our staff, and we were ready to go then COVID struck.
"It's hard when you go from having all this income to it just completely stopping, and you've just spent all this money on this new, wild renovation and you get closed down."
Added to the stress was the continued extension of the lockdown, with people ringing to re-book, then needing to be cancelled again.
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"The weeks kept cancelling until we knew it was a serious lockdown that would go on for months," she said.
While many industries were able to pivot to online or contactless service, Ms Larken said the only product they could sell was at home skincare.
Thankfully Ms Larken was able to go back and work as a registered nurse during the lockdown, and since her business re-opened last Monday, she has certainly made up for lost time.
Ms Larken said she was booked out for six weeks.
"I know a lot of businesses have felt the pressure and we definitely felt the sting but we're coming back with a vengeance," she said.
She has gone from doing a standard 9am-5pm five day week before lockdown to working six days, sometimes as late as 9pm, just to fit everyone in. The other injector has also increased her hours from three to five days.
"I'm a yes person, I don't want anyone to miss out, so if the girls say 'this person called, their son's wedding is in two weeks, they want something done', I'll stay back for them," she said.
To help take some of the load off, she has been spending her "day off" on Sundays training a new nurse and doctor.
COVID protocols have also added to the workload with check-ins and Ms Larken said front of house staff were also calling customers before their appointments to ensure they're vaccinated so they don't have to be turned away.
She said she had received a small amount of backlash to the vaccination rule, but nothing overly negative.
"It's only been one or two people," she said. "And none to the point where it's been messy."
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