Turning your salon into an eco-friendly space can have its challenges. We get some expert tips for helping you go green while growing your business.
Going green has been on the rise, with salons from coast to coast getting in on the eco-friendly craze. A big part of this has been thanks to Green Circle Salons, which works with salons across Canada to help implement more sustainable salon practices, such as their comprehensive recycling program.
But for many eco-friendly salon owners, going green is an extension of what they personally believe in. “Since I was little, I’ve always believed we have to reduce, reuse and recycle; it really resonated with me that we have to take care of the planet,” says Bruce Peters, owner of Zazou Salon & Academy in North Vancouver.
Going green doesn’t have to put your business in the red. From building to remodelling, there are various changes that can help your salon be more environmentally friendly while saving you money and helping grow your clientele.
Get Creative When Going Eco-Friendly
Turning your salon into an eco-friendly space can be an evolving process. Chantelle Pasychny, owner of designHouse Salon in Victoria, B.C., opened her eco-friendly salon five years ago—well before going green became an industry trend.
“When I was looking into opening the salon, I just wanted to create it sustainably, not really realizing the bigger result it would create for the industry,” she explains. “My husband and I designed it ourselves, but we aligned ourselves with a construction partner who sourced recycled wood and we figured out how to take care of things ethically. It was the perfect synergy and just kept evolving and growing.”
designHouse Salon was designed as an eco-friendly salon from the ground up, with Pasychny incorporating recycled materials and all-LED lighting and even adding a living wall, which absorbs emissions in the air.
“A lot of people comment that it doesn’t smell like a salon when they walk in,” she says. “It’s very fresh and open.” She says that in addition to implementing Green Circle Salons’ environmental initiatives, designHouse Salon uses all-recycled paper and has limited its amount of printing.
When it comes to recycling the salon’s waste through Green Circle Salons’ recycling program, Pasychny says it’s been a seamless transition for her team. “Our staff is excited to help sort it, and everybody works together,” she explains. “It’s not an inconvenience at all. It fits right in as something you should do.”
Introducing Fees and Systems to Support Your Initiatives
As one of the first salons to join Green Circle Salons since it expanded to Vancouver in 2012, Zazou Salon & Academy has always been mindful of the environment. The salon has incorporated recycled wood logs, LED lighting and recycled paper and has even started using iPads to store its clients’ information. In addition, Zazou Salon & Academy is the winner of Green Circle Salons’ 2016 Earth Month video competition, which awarded them a forest of 1,500 trees planted in the salon’s honour.
Members of Green Circle Salons implement an Environmental Contribution Initiative (ECI) fee, which helps increase revenue to support the salon’s eco-friendly changes. “I was weary of having to charge people more, but the service fee is a great thing,” explains Peters. “It gives us a different revenue stream and provides a different avenue to offset future expenses, as opposed to raising service prices. It’s a fee that’s going to benefit the company while helping the environment.”
When it comes to sourcing products for his salon, Peters looks for brands that share his environmentally friendly way of thinking. “I ask myself if it’s in the lineup of what our salon is all about,” he says. “All of our product partners have similar values to us.” He lists Davines, Aveda and La Biosthetique as a few of the brands carried at his salon.
Go Green, Then Stay Green
Once you’ve transformed your salon into a greener space, what’s next? It’s about continuing to make environmentally conscious decisions that will benefit the environment and your salon for years to come.
“It’s our social, environmental and corporate responsibility,” says Peters. “Like-minded individuals who come to our salon will likely have a stronger brand loyalty. People won’t necessarily come to us because we’re environmentally friendly, but a large majority of people will because they find it’s beneficial that they are taking care of the planet through our practices.”
“Branding, marketing and visual impact will naturally help you grow your clientele,” says Pasychny. “It’s really important to speak to who you are, and it naturally coincides with your ethics and what you do, inspiring clients and attracting staff to come to you for those reasons. Our staff wants to be proud of the environment they work in and clients want to be proud of the environment they come to, so it creates business building. People are becoming more aware, and it’s exciting. It’s the way of the future.”
Tips for an Eco-Friendly Salon Makeover
- Align your salon with other businesses or community partners that also have sustainable practices to provide you with environmental education and help you look for ways to further reduce your carbon footprint. “It’s so much easier to work with a third party or get into a partnership with someone who can take some of that worry or stress away,” says Peters. “For example, your contractor has to be like-minded, for sure. Do your homework.”
- Subsidize your electricity to save money and reduce energy consumption. “Lighting is a huge expense, but you can cut back on energy consumption,” says Pasychny. “There are partners that you can work with to subsidize your electricity, so you pay a premium and all of your electricity is subsidized with wind and solar energy.”
- Cut back on costs by sourcing recycled materials. “Sourcing materials that are reclaimed is a money saver,“ says Pasychny. ”It’s important to be just as mindful of your spending when you’re opening or remodelling as you’re being mindful of the environment. It helps keep costs down while keeping sustainability in your business when you’re trying to grow your business.”