If there’s anything I’ve learnt in the years since I co-founded Sustainable Salons, it’s that companies that embed sustainability in their business practices win big. This is because today’s consumer understands the value of sustainability, and their values inform their behaviour.
You might still associate reducing, reusing and recycling with the daggy, rinsed out ziplock bags of your childhood, but it’s having a renaissance in the most significant way possible.
Thankfully, sustainability’s glow up means it’s no longer incompatible with the glitz and glamour of a beauty salon.
As part of its glow up, sustainability has gained in popularity, and, in my opinion, it should be the number one thing you advertise to your customers. The same way your marketing focuses on the big results you get your clients when it comes to their skin, you should also be focusing on the big results your sustainability initiatives have for the planet.
And if you’re not engaged in any sustainability initiatives? Well, it’s time to get on board.
Your clients have changed. Maybe you’ve noticed it, perhaps it’s slipped under your radar, but your clients are certainly picking up on what you’re saying about yourself and your salon’s business practices.
An excellent place to start is with your website. Given that this is where new clients will come to find out more about your services and to get in touch with you, it’s the perfect place to start telling the story of your salon and using your eco-credentials to stand out from the crowd.
If you’re already a Sustainable Salon, your salon is already listed in Australia’s biggest directory for hair and beauty salons. But even if a customer has found you through that database, they want to see you walking the walk when they come in.
And if you’re not already a Sustainable Salon? Well, what are you waiting for? You can do good for your local community, for our shared planet AND your bottom line. More customers will find you, they’ll appreciate that you’re about more than skin deep beauty, and they’ll come back again and again (and again).
Even if you’re not ready to become a Sustainable Salon, I’m sure you’re doing something good for the planet and your community. Whether it’s phasing out plastic or recycling, these are all things your community and your clients want to know.
In the 1980s, the United Nations defined sustainability as meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It’s not just about environmentalism but also social and economic needs.
That’s why at Sustainable Salons, we’re not just keen to get people recycling. We partner with hair and beauty salons to offer free services to people experiencing job loss and homelessness. We employ people of all abilities or those who are otherwise underserved by traditional employment structures.
Think about what you already do and what changes you can make to boost your credibility in the sustainability space:
- Do you get your electricity from a renewable provider?
- Do you support a local charity?
- Do your staff participate in an annual fun run for a good cause?
- Do you stock carbon-neutral skincare brands?
- Do you partner with charities to provide free consultations, advice or treatments for people going through cancer treatment?
This list is far from comprehensive, but if you stop and have a think, I’m sure you’re engaged in community-building or environmental initiatives of some sort.
Sustainability is no longer the domain of the ultra-crunchy; everyone is getting into it, from family-owned grocery stores to multinational companies.
The beauty industry has been on a bit of a journey recently. Where brands used to get away with making vague claims about anti-ageing or skin-clearing benefits, today’s beauty aficionados want the cold hard science behind those claims.
The same goes for sustainability. Clients aren’t interested in slogans and greenwashing; they want to know precisely what the businesses they support are doing.
Your clients understand that every single one of their actions has an environmental consequence, right down to the beauty salon they choose. Effectively communicating your dedication to keeping the planet habitable will put your clients’ minds at ease. They’ll know you’re the real deal, and you know they’ll come back next time they’re in need of a peel.
You don’t have to start washing out your used ziplock bags, but you do have to start talking to your clients about what’s important to them.