Here in his regular exclusive feature for Professional Hairdresser he shares the importance of charity to salon business.
After being named the British Hairdresser of the Year, which is definitely a highlight of mine, I realised it was my duty to showcase British Hairdressing as one of the best in the world. I knew the title gave me a voice and an opportunity to create awareness for charities that meant something to me personally.
I was adopted as a child and I know my life could have been very different so a few years ago I decided to devote my personal charity activity to Coram BAAF the UK’s leading adoption and fostering authority. Aside from running fundraising marathons for the charity I work as Patron and am often guest speak at events about the charities work and my own personal experience of adoption.
I also work with various charitable foundations as an ambassador including The Princes Trust encouraging enterprise with young people, Kidscape the UK’s leading anti-bullying charity and The Little Princess Trust as their Hairdresser Ambassador.
In my work as the Hairdressing Ambassador for The Little Princess Trust I’m acutely aware of the effect that hair loss has on a child. Hair is such a personal part of your identity and understanding how connected people are to their hair is an essential part of good experience for any client.
At Headmasters our philosophy is beautiful, confidence-boosting hair and I’m thrilled that Headmasters announced they are now the Official Salon for The Little Princess Trust and can help to raise awareness for this outstanding charity.
Fundraising is a huge part of Headmasters DNA so much so that we even have a dedicated Award to the salon who raises the most for our chosen charity in one year.
All of our stylists are fully trained to help clients who want to donate their hair and support The Little Princess Trust.
The Little Princess Trust is an incredible charity that gives hope, restoring confidence and identity to children and young people by providing beautiful real hair wigs while fundraising for vital research into childhood cancers. As hairdressers we have all nurtured clients through the issues associated with hair loss and particularly around the effects of losing hair to post cancer treatments. Each wig donated can take up to 16 donations with the charity supplying on average 15 wigs per month.
To support Little Princess Trust, I’ve created an exclusive tutorial video with guidelines that can be shared across the industry to ensure that your hair donation is the correct length and in the best possible condition to be used in wigs.
Giving back to your community is so important not only for your piece of mind and your team’s morale but it can also really benefit your business. Recent studies suggest that millennials are driven by social charitable responsibility with over 70 % of them reporting that they’ll spend more with brands that support causes.
Of course, not all businesses have the internal support to work on large scale activities like Headmasters, but everything helps. So, I’ve added some points below to consider when thinking about working with a charity;
Incredible feel good for the salon.
Helping others makes you feel good. Many want to volunteer or raise money, but it can be hard to fit into our busy lives. Having employer-sponsored activities will allow your teams the opportunity to do things they wouldn’t always be able to do. Raising money will bring your team together and promote a greater sense of camaraderie and unity among your team from a sponsored team run to a cake sale as they work towards a shared goal for your charitable cause. It will also reinforce to current employees that they made a good job choice.
Connect with your local community
It also gives a great opportunity to connect with the local community and collaborate. As a salon owner I’m passionate about collaborating with my neighbouring businesses and local clientele so supporting local charity can support that engagement.
Dedicated Salon Charity
Another option is to sign a dedicated salon charity to help focus charitable activity. At Headmasters we work with a dedicated charity over a number of years that helps us channel fund-raising activity and create awareness for the charity across our 56 salons, our teams and our clients.
Prior to Little Princess Trust we worked with The Teenage Cancer Trust for five years and raised over £106,000. Activities included everything from cake sales to charity bike rides where a team of Headmasters Stylists (including me) and the Directors cycled 360 miles over four days through beautiful English villages and into Europe, passing through historic Bruges and Breda before finishing in vibrant Amsterdam.
Giving your team a chance to give back to their communities helps to instil a sense of pride in themselves and your business.
They will be proud to work for a company that supports charities that mean something to them, which can lead to increased loyalty and better retention. Try appointing one person to be in charge of your charity committee who can help allocate tasks and share information with your teams and on social media.
Look into activities that will work for your salon from donation pots to ad-hoc fundraising events which could include Salon Team Bake Off & Sale, Pop-Up Braid Bar, Client Styling Evening, 24-hour Gym-A-Thon, Little Princess Trust Themed Event, Fun Run or Half Marathon, Quiz Night, Sponsored Bike Ride.
Support your own industry
Make sure it’s a charity you and your team believe in. When its authentic, you, your team and also your clients will be enthusiastic in giving their time to your cause.
The Little Princess Trust a charity supplying free, real-hair wigs to children and young people experiencing the devastating effects of hair loss as a result of cancer treatment or other conditions. Since inception, the charity has given away over 8000 wigs.
The Little Princess Trust’s own range of wigs are made from the generous hair donations of supporters. The Trust also funds pioneering, life-saving research into childhood cancers, improving patient outcomes through access to new treatments. Since 2016, the Trust has invested circa £5 million into ground-breaking childhood cancer research projects.
As the charity accepts donations from people cutting their hair and donating for the wig making process the synergy between what we do as stylists and the needs of the charity for hair of lengths over 12 inches gave us the opportunity to offer donators a free haircut at Headmasters salons when they have hair 12 inches or longer to donate.
The Hair and Beauty Charity is the official charity for the hair and beauty industries; an independent service dedicated solely to helping hair and beauty professionals in their hour of need. Last year, ‘The Hairdressers’ Charity’ received more than 300 applications for help, and currently has more than 100 long term beneficiaries.
Haircuts4Homeless is such an inspiring charity set up by Stewart Roberts inspired by the cations of hairdressers in various parts of the world cutting hair for the homeless. Stewart set out to build a whole community of skilled hairdresser volunteers who give their time free of charge to give haircuts to homeless people.
Sharing the work, you do with your chosen charity will benefit your company on many levels and show clients you are ethical and trustworthy. It will also help to differentiate you from your competition, which not only aids your brand but could also be used as a recruitment tool for attracting the top talent to your business. Tailoring your charitable activity to your business and ethos is a good idea and adapting PR & Marketing activities to embrace your chosen charity makes good business sense.
There are tax benefits to a business that engages in charitable activity with tax deductions available for sponsoring and supporting charities and events. You must follow the rules and procedures in the right way and you must consult with your accountant to understand how this may work for your business.
Taking all of this into account there’s lots for you to consider and I’m sure your mind is ticking as to how you could help and support a charity.
For me it’s about giving back, it’s about helping others and it’s about supporting charity that aligns with my interests, my personal journey and the business.
I’d love to hear about your charitable causes and how you as team are working together to support your chosen charity.