Purpose Matters

Finding your purpose is a journey. For many people, the COVID-19 pandemic shifted their perspective and re-focused their priorities. Today, we’re seeing people who want to live their values and want to support brands that do the same.

Sustainability is critical to the future of our planet and our economy. Here at Sustainable Salons, we’ve been talking about this for ages, but the idea seems to have cottoned on. It’s hard to ignore. NSW has experienced three catastrophic flooding events this year alone, and you don’t need to be a weather expert to see that the climate seems to have gone crazy here in Australia and across the whole planet.

Australians are seeing how our over-consumption and wasteful habits impact the world we live in. The flow-on impacts of environmental degradation are hard to miss. The massive increase in food prices following NSW’s floods should be indicator enough. We’re living in a profoundly unsustainable way, and the natural world, our wallets and the safety of our communities are being impacted like never before.

We’re years and years behind in transitioning our energy grid away from fossil fuels and towards renewable, clean energy sources. We as a species need fuel sources with longevity, not finite fossil fuels. We knew this day was coming but collectively chose to look the other way. We made money at the expense of the planet and our communities. Over the last ten or so years, however, a change in mindset has crept in. Profit is no longer king, and we’re focusing on the other two important ‘P’s – people and planet.

Over the past decade or so, there have been many catalysts that have shifted this thinking, but COVID-19 was a big one. Spending more time in our communities, with our families and nature (the one place it was easy to stay 1.5m apart!) triggered a re-calibration. We started asking ourselves tough questions like ‘what kind of world are we leaving behind for our kids?’ ‘what kind of legacy do we want for the future of our species?’ ‘what is the purpose of my life?’ These questions have no easy answers, but asking them spurred a kind of awakening.

Employers saw this change too. Left, right and centre, people handed in resignations. They were sick of the commute, sick of coming home to their families late, and sick of working day in and day out without any clear sense of purpose. Suddenly, people were willing to take pay cuts to work for companies with a social purpose, work remotely, spend more time with their families and friends, or engage in hobbies. People were asking themselves: what makes living worthwhile? The answer certainly wasn’t a paycheck.

Have you stopped and thought about your purpose recently? The good news is that as a salon owner or employee, you can make a difference. The beauty industry is notoriously wasteful, but it doesn’t have to remain that way. There has never (and I mean this literally) been a better time to implement sustainability initiatives in your business. There is a hunger among society for businesses that see the need for change and are dedicated to creating a brighter tomorrow for the next generation.

Don’t believe me? Look around at your local grocery store and notice how many brands that are front and centre on the shelves are ethically produced, fair trade certified, rainforest alliance certified, carbon-neutral, or even carbon positive. There’s no end to the do-good companies winning big with sustainably-minded shoppers. Eco-friendly is no longer counter-culture; it’s as mainstream as can be, and businesses who don’t embrace it are missing out.

There’s a significant shift coming, both in everyday Australians’ hearts and minds and in industries around the country. For the first time ever, we’re seeing more metal being recycled than produced new. Soft plastics are going from being a wasteful product to a commodity that can have an extended lifespan through closed-loop recycling initiatives and can even be turned into fuel sources. Work like this minimises our environmental impact and is an economic boost too. It keeps money circulating in our country, working to improve Australians’ lives.

Now that you’ve read this article – are you thinking about your purpose? Do you realise that these things matter to you? I know taking a leap of faith can be scary, but trust that your clients will support you in your sustainability initiatives and trust that you’ll feel empowered by implementing them because you’ll be living a life of purpose.