On day two of The Salon Owners Summit, Valorie Tate from Sustain Beauty Co. takes to the Stage to talk about sustainability in the hair and beauty industry. An industry professional specializing in sustainability for over a decade, Tate’s talk focuses on how sustainability isn’t just better for our planet, but better for profits, too.
Beginning her talk, Valorie explains that more people are interested in sustainability than you’d think; it’s not just the “granola mom” stereotype. Sustainability is for everyone. Asking the audience to “raise a hand if you care about sustainability”, she further proves her point as almost every hand in the room shoots up. With enthusiasm rippling through the crowd, Tate speaks about how salon owners can make a difference.
Sustainable Development Goals
Before making a change in your salon, it’s important to ask what your SDGs are- ie, your sustainable development goals. These goals will form the basis of your actions and are an essential first step when creating a more sustainable business.
After setting these goals, Tate identifies four common categories to focus on, and gives her top tips regarding improvements for salon businesses;
- Disposal Procedures
The salon industry produces massive amounts of waste, from foils and packaging to excess color. Tate explains that implementing something as simple as a recycling station in your salon or partnering with a waste reduction company such as Vish can help you cut down on waste and, in turn, increase revenue.
- Water Use
The salon industry is one of the most water-intensive in the world, with so much washing, laundering, and cleaning required. One simple solution she recommends is biodegradable towels from the brand Scrummi. Despite being single-use, biodegradable towels work out to be more eco-friendly than traditional cotton towels because they don’t need to be cleaned using huge amounts of water, instead biodegrading back into the earth.
- Energy Use
Similar to water use, the salon industry is a massive energy consumer. . To reduce your business’s impact and save money Tate advises switching to renewable energy, which can be done with a simple request from your existing energy supplier. Sometimes, all it takes to be more environmentally friendly is a simple phone call.
- Economic Decisions
From sustainability training for their teams to philanthropy, charity donations, and community work, Tate reminds the room that their money can go a long way. “You are in charge of the future of your business,” she says, so reinvest your profits towards making the world a more eco-conscious and sustainable place
While there are seemingly endless ways to make your salon business more sustainable, Tate empathetically states to the crowd that it’s not a competition, nor is there an end-game; “pick one thing to do differently… stop being so focused on perfection.”
Working Off Research, Not Assumptions
One thing reiterated throughout Tate’s talk is the importance of working from research rather than from assumptions. “Reusable doesn’t always mean better,” she notes, again, referencing the water-intensive nature of cotton towels vs the eco-friendliness of biodegradable disposable towels. With so much information out there, Tate recommends salon owners and their teams invest time in researching how best they could make their unique businesses more sustainable in ways that suit them, their clients, and their finances.
Ending her talk, Tate encourages salon professionals to be confident in talking to their guests about sustainability, showing them that it’s important to you and your business. By doing so, you can create “profit with purpose” and build a kinder world for everyone.
Keep Learning from the Experts
Read more of the 2023 Salon Owners Summit Recap
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