A BRIDAL beauty specialist and boutique owner has praised support she's had during the coronavirus pandemic.

Jenna McDonnell, owner of Jenna McDonnell Boutique in Newport, has always worked in the wedding industry – even getting the Guinness World Record for Fastest Bridal Hairstylist in 2016. But her business has been hugely impacted by the number of people who have been forced to cancel or postpone their weddings during the coronavirus pandemic.

South Wales Argus:

Jenna McDonnell outside her shop last year when she did a hair marathon for Sparkle charity (Picture: Chris Tinsley)

The award-winning entrepreneur, who recently featured on an episode of BBC programme Wales in Lockdown has adapted to the uncertain climate with help from the UK Government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

“What used to work might not anymore,” explained Ms McDonnell.

“With various facial treatments no longer going ahead, and weddings being cancelled, businesses like mine have had to think outside the box to keep staff members.

“The government have allowed me to do this, and to branch out into new avenues of products and services, with support they’ve offered me through grant and bounce back business loans.”

Through the Job Retention Scheme, Ms McDonnell was able to pay wages for her seven staff members and was not forced to lay anyone off, even though her salon, based on Chepstow Road, had to close during the national lockdown.

It is now re-open with safety measures, in accordance with government guidelines, in place.


The former St Joseph's High School pupil has also used small business loans to renovate her shop, building an outdoor reception area which she plans to continue to develop into an outdoor lounge/spa area for clients.

Plus she has invested in various products which she is selling online.

“I am concerned about the future of the wedding industry,” added Ms McDonnell.

“But I’m also excited about the shake-up and hope that others can make positive changes like I’m trying to do.

“All we can do is keep our heads down and make the most out of the resources and funding we’re given.

"I personally feel lucky to live somewhere that has given us these resources, funding, and opportunities.”

Ms McDonnell has also worked hard to keep morale high during lockdown; she used her make-up skills to paint herself as Boris Johnson (featured on Wales in Lockdown) and and various Netflix characters, such as Joe Exotic from The Tiger King.

South Wales Argus:

Jenna McDonnell as Boris Johnson and Joe Exotic