article and photography by Laura Naughton
Ammonia, bleach and formaldehyde, oh my.
The business of beauty isn’t always beautiful and green; especially in the salon industry where the use of carcinogenic chemicals, water contamination and waste are common.
Grand Rapids hair salon, Salon Re, has been “Re”thinking the industry by using eco-friendly strategies during the past three years. I sat down with owners Amanda Baird and Joy Anderson to dive into their success story as an eco-friendly salon and find out their “Green Salon List” of eco-conscience suggestions for clients to look for when searching for a new salon.
Besides being business partners, Baird and Anderson have been friends for 12 years beginning when they met at salon school. They worked together at two salons before deciding to open one of their own.
“We noticed a need for an eco-friendly salon in the area,” Anderson shared. “We both have areas of sustainability that are important to us, so we merged those ideas to become as eco-conscious as possible.”
In addition to being earth-friendly, Baird states that they also “wanted to create a relaxing retreat for clients and a fun atmosphere for stylists where they can build their career.” Baird and Anderson’s overall goal of the salon was to create an “urban oasis where high-end style and eco-conscious service peacefully co-exist.”
After a year of planning, Baird and Anderson moved forward with their plan and leased the current Grand Rapids location in East Hills at 940 E Fulton near Diamond Ave. From sustainable interior design selections and maintenance of the salon to the products that they use daily and sell, Salon Re utilizes many eco-conscious strategies. They stay on top of the new trends in eco-friendly hair care to make sure that their clients are receiving the top products and service. And the public has noticed.
“Naturally some clientele heard about our efforts to be green and inquired,” Anderson explained.
The public interest created a demand for their business, which has caused the salon staff to grow from five stylists in 2010 to 17 stylists in 2013.
“We’ve had stylists join the Salon Re team because of our philosophy,” Anderson shared. “Many of our stylists are seasoned and came with a solid clientele list adding to the success of the salon.”
Making close relationships with the clients and stylists is a top priority for them.
“Many of our clients become close friends and the stylists in the salon are like family,” Baird added.
Through their sustainability initiative and success in their business model, Salon Re was nominated for Best New Business in 2010 by the Neighborhood Business Alliance. Baird and Anderson are looking into to expanding the business by offering a natural cosmetic line and are discussing the possibility of a second location.
If you’re in the market for a new salon, search for an eco-friendly one. Be sure to bring Salon Re’s “Green Salon List” below when checking out a new salon to make sure it’s eco-friendly and to inspire other salons to start their own eco-conscious initiatives.
THE GREEN SALON LIST
Green Interior Design and Architecture
- Eco-friendly and sustainable construction materials (e.g. Natural materials, materials with no/low volatile organic compound (VOC) content, water-based paint, materials made with recycled content and are recyclable, etc.)
- Energy-efficient plumbing, lighting. and equipment (e.g. Water-saving sinks, compact fluorescent bulbs, Green Star rated washers and dryers
- Re-purposed furniture and décor
Eco-friendly Hair Care Products
- Natural products made with organic and sustainably harvested plant-based materials
- Formaldehyde-free keratin treatments
- Ammonia-free hair color
- Paraben-free and sulfate-free products
- Products that use packaging that limits waste, have recycled content and can be recycled
Eco-friendly Everyday Maintenance
- Natural, bio-degradable, non-toxic, and no/low VOC content cleaners and detergents
- Minimize air-conditioning and heating use
Recycling and Waste Program
- Buy products and packaging that is recyclable
- Create a recycling station
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Production Stylist and owner of LKN Studio, Laura Naughton may be seen around town at museums, design events, fashion shows, homeopathic seminars, yoga, and always dancing. www.lknstudio.com