Leading the Way in Sustainable Salon Practices

At UNA, the journey to becoming a Sustainable Salon wasn't just a choice; it was a commitment to creating a community of clients, stylists, and colourists who care about solving salon waste issues and taking care of the environment. Kelly, the proud owner of UNA, shared her insights on the impact Sustainable Salons has had on their business and the industry.

Implementing Sustainable Solutions:

UNA's beginning was rooted in a desire to be a force for positive change. Growing up in Wellington, New Zealand, with a strong awareness of environmental values, Kelly decided early on to align UNA with Sustainable Salons. Attending the 2018 launch event in Auckland further solidified her commitment to lead positive, sustainable change in the industry. Kelly knew that Sustainable Salons would be part of her journey once she opened her salon in February 2022.

Q: Congratulations on winning New Zealand Hair Salon of the Year at the Industry Awards 2023. How has becoming a Sustainable Salon contributed to your success in the industry?

A: Thank you! One of the main ways it’s helped us be successful is by helping the team colour with purpose. We don’t over-colour clients’ hair if they don’t need it, and we’re careful about colour wastage. The minimal chemical waste we do have is collected for recycling by Sustainable Salons. It's always a positive focal point for our team and clients to learn and contribute to all of the wonderful initiatives Sustainable Salons provides, supporting us to be more environmentally friendly, efficient, and ethical.

Sustainability Impact on Business:

The Salon Directory, a key feature of the Sustainable Salons program, has become a vital avenue for clients seeking a values-aligned salon. Kelly shared the joy of having new clients find UNA through the directory, demonstrating a growing trend of individuals actively seeking businesses committed to sustainability.

Q: How has being part of the program and listed on the Salon Directory impacted your business?

A: We’ve had so many clients find us through the Salon Directory; it shows how people are seeking more sustainable options, and it’s such an easy way to find us. We just had a new client who found us through the directory for a ponytail donation and has now booked future appointments for three members of her family!

Making Positive Community Impact:

Kelly emphasised the many benefits of joining the Sustainable Salons program, stating, "Joining Sustainable Salons not only allows businesses to make a positive impact on the environment and attract eco-conscious customers but also adds a dash of excitement and fun." UNA has significantly reduced landfill contributions and earned Rewards Points through the program.

Q: Why should other businesses in the salon industry join Sustainable Salons?

A: There is no better feeling than taking our waste bags to our Sustainable Salons collection bin, knowing it will serve a good purpose! We also save so much on waste disposal as we only have one or two small bags a week going to the landfill, and all of our foil, gloves, and cleaning supplies are paid for in points through the Rewards Store.

Kelly Manu and the UNA team with their salon resources and Sustainable Salons bins.

Client Responses to Sustainability:

UNA's clients appreciate the opportunity to contribute to positive environmental change while getting their hair done. Kelly highlighted that the program has served as a learning experience for clients who hadn't considered the impact of salon waste before, making them more conscious of their choices.

Q: How have your clients responded to the program?

A: Our clients love that they can feel good about getting their hair done while making a positive impact on the environment. We’ve always attracted a client base that’s aware of its footprint and tries to make sustainable decisions, so it was a perfect match. It’s also a great learning opportunity for clients who haven’t thought about where their waste goes; they are shocked when they see the amount we can recycle!

Beyond the Sustainable Salons Program:

UNA's commitment to sustainability extends beyond the Sustainable Salons program stating,

Sustainability is one of our three business pillars, so everyone is on board, and we’re always trying to think of new ways to implement sustainable practices into not only our salon but our everyday lives. The team feels great about it.

Q: What other sustainability initiatives/actions have you implemented in your business outside of the program?

A: Most of our fit-out (building materials) and furniture, where possible, are recycled, repurposed, and vintage pieces. We also have a rainwater collection system for watering the salon's numerous plants, which purifies our indoor air. We use the Ecoheads Ping and Showerheads to reduce water and colour usage. Our glassware is either vintage or made by local ceramists, and all our refreshments come from local small businesses; we get our coffee beans from Atomic, just a block down the road!

Joining the Sustainability Movement:

As a Sustainable Salon, UNA is not just a salon; it's a sustainability hub, setting an example for the salon industry. Kelly's message to other businesses is clear, "There is no better feeling than taking our bags of waste to our Sustainable Salons collections bin, knowing it's going to serve a good purpose!" By joining Sustainable Salons, businesses can not only help reduce salon waste and positively impact the environment but also infuse excitement and purpose into their daily operations.