Business Featured

Having a Sustainable Salon Strategy will increase client numbers | Debbie Digby

October 19, 2020

The last few months have had our industry focused on Covid measures and business survival. It can seem at times that most other issues have paled into insignificance, especially business strategies that do not show an immediate return on investment for profit or exposure for the business.

However, rest assured, our nature loving, environment protecting, vegan/flexitarian clients have not gone away. If anything, the events of the last few months have heightened awareness of sustainable issues and the desire to source ethical products and services.

Business Strategy

Whether you choose a complete sustainable strategy for your business or provide a sustainable brand option for those clients who will not compromise their values, not even for the sake of beauty, there has never been a better time to meet the demand of the market.

Matt Rowden, Co-founder of GM’s in East Dulwich and Crystal Palace, advertises their Sensus PPD and Ammonia free Vegan colour services with a beautiful window display of plants and jars containing the raw natural ingredients used in the colour formulation.

Matt reports on average 12 new colour appointments per week from clients attracted by their vegan offering. Inspired by Matts example, Naomi Rowe of Hair Craze in Caerphilly used her windows to advertise vegan hair colour.

The very next day a gentleman looking for natural solutions walked into the salon to enquire about colour services for his wife who is undergoing cancer treatment. Naomi has since had countless new clients and a welcome upturn in her colour business.

Naomi said, “it’s not the first time we have used our windows to advertise services, but this window display has surprised us with the number of enquiries from new clients.”

Sustainable Strategy Must Haves

Here, some important information to consider when developing a sustainability strategy:

Ethics Sustainability starts with complete respect for people, the planet and its wildlife. Acceptance of nature as teacher and ultimate provider is essential and living core principles which perpetuate Earth’s resources for the future of all inhabitants is fundamental.

For example, Sensus draw water from the Tiber river in their production processes, thanks to innovative demineralisation processes using reverse osmosis, the destruction of bacteria using UV rays takes place.

The water is then microbiologically purified before it is returned to the river after use. The water quality in the area has improved so much that fisherman have reported bigger fish in the last few years.

Eco-Friendly Choose companies whose practices minimise environmental damage wherever possible. This may include using natural solar or wind energy for production processes. Ensure natural raw ingredients used are renewed for the benefit of future generations.

Safety When formulas include natural ingredients like essential oils or plant extracts, look for quality assurances. For example, pharmaceutical grade ingredients are licensed for medications and are therefore safe for topical use in cosmetics.

Food grade ingredients are safe to ingest, so again are safe for topical use. When consumers are seeking vegan products, it is often because they consider vegan formulations to be natural and therefore safer. This expectation leads to a demand for formulations without ingredients like PPD’s, sulfates and parabens.

Footprint One way to reduce your salon carbon footprint is to commit to zero waste. Find ways to recycle, upcycle or repurpose your waste. Your hair colour is packaged in a cardboard box and aluminium tube.

Your local authority will likely have a recycling program for cardboard, but you may have to do a little more research for your aluminium waste, which can also include your foils. A group of independent salons in Essex, are working together (led by Ken Eastwood and Norman Ellis) to recycle aluminium foil and tubes. Since October 2018 they have been taking their colour tubes and used foil to a local aluminium recycling plant. So far, they have collectively raised over £1000 which has been donated to The Hairdressers Charity.

A fabulous collective encouraging and allowing many salons to take part and achieve sustainable goals. It is important to remember that not all plastic packaging is bad! If we were to demonise all plastic this would lead to the dumping of billions of pieces into the environment.

Closed loop recycling is an essential waste management, recovering post-consumer waste for the manufacture of packaging and considering the recyclable waste as potential for new packaging within the loop. The baddie of the waste world is single use plastic and to confuse the two is in itself a tragedy for sustainability.

The lesson here is know your recycling symbols and choose products that are manufactured within closed loop.

TransparencyIt is important that claims can be corroborated and are easily demonstrated. Look for symbols like Eco Cert which verify a sustainable practice has been followed.

Your clients will want to know more about your ‘sustainable story’ – it is imperative you and your team can tell the story well.

A sustainability strategy well executed will enhance the feel-good factor of your team and clients. It will add value to your brand and align you to your sustainability conscious community.

Most importantly, it will serve to make a positive difference to the World.