After years of looking and finally finding the perfect property, the team opened its doors in mid-January 2018 and haven’t stopped moving since, with plans to expand in the new year. Apart from being leaders in sustainability, George & Ivy was recognised for their design as Hair Expo Best Salon Design 2018 finalists.
We chatted to Catriona, one half of the husband and wife team (George & Ivy is actually an ode to their grandparents' names) about how making style and sustainability the core of their business helped them with their fast tracked and consequential success.
How would you describe your salon ethos?
Our ethos is ‘Style and Sustainability’ and is an extension of our lifestyle. We wanted to run our business with as little environmental impact as possible. In our day to day life we try to reduce waste, look for new ways of recycling and re-using materials, without any compromise on image.
How does your ethos impact how you work?
The only impact it has is a positive one. It means that we work with exposure to very minimal chemicals, it means we can feel good about selling products knowing that the glass bottles will be refilled or recycled. It means that we have a wonderful, green space for us and our clients to enjoy. We love to encourage enhancing someone’s natural style and personality through their image.
How important is this to your clients?
This is very important to many, most of our clientele has searched for us because of our softer products and our commitment to being environmentally conscious. Others come just because they like the look of the salon but all admit that a salon committed to the environment and the client has a feel good factor.
What is the story behind the recycled materials used in your salon interior and what is your most unique piece?
We are so lucky to have the amazing canvas that we have with our building: exposed, recycled brick, concrete and steel- but furnishing it was harder than it looks! We continued to honour our commitment to reducing waste by reworking the past, using mainly vintage pieces of furniture such as the couch and the architects table that we use for a desk, paying homage to the amazing architecture around us.
We spent months trawling antiques stores looking for perfect pieces of furniture. The timber for the shelving is sourced from a table that was left in the courtyard when we took over the property. In all honesty, I have to give credit to my husband Paul for his ability and vision with the design. I am an impulse shopper, it wouldn’t be as beautiful a salon without Paul’s eye.
Our most unique piece and a definite talking point is the concrete ‘trough’ we found it in some Italian lady’s front yard. We had the neck rests cut into it and spent many evenings sanding it to life. It was a bit of a risk, we weren’t sure how it would be received, but people love it!
What does winning the title of #1 Organic Way Salon Worldwide in 2018 mean to you?
What it has meant to us as the year has passed is so much more that we could have imagined when we first received the award. It has become such a huge part of what our salon culture breeds and we are so thrilled we went with our gut and followed our personal beliefs with the Organic Way journey. It means the world to us to have had this level of recognition for our salon.
How does Sustainable Salons help your business?
Previous to Sustainable Salons we would rely SO heavily on our yellow topped recycling bin and to be honest, we didn’t realise the reality of where the waste ends up. We advertise Style & Sustainability but really felt like we were struggling to deliver with the sustainable aspect.
SSA gives our clients and ourselves the confidence that we are truly doing the best we can with saving precious materials from ending up in landfill.
What do you hope for the future of sustainability?
What does a sustainable future look like? We don’t know. Surely, no waste at all is not possible as romantic as it sounds. The days of living off the land are long behind us as everything now has a by-product. We feel that something shouldn’t be produced unless it can be recycled and given a second life. It is down to the government local councils and the people to improve the recycling facilities and use them to their maximum capacity.
George & Ivy have shown the industry that our collective future lies in sustainability and thoughtful design; if you care, you will make a difference and others will take note and follow suit. We wish great amounts of success to these leaders and thank them for caring about the future of our planet.