April 2010

Charlene Abretske

Beauty Business Buzz | Charlene Abretske


Is It Easy Being Green?

We all remember Kermit the Frog’s lament, about how hard it is being green and we in the beauty industry can sympathize.

Some beauty professionals think it is impossible to make their businesses eco-friendly, sustainable, or green and many consider it pointless to even think about their carbon footprint and how it affects their community and world as a whole.

What are salon professionals to do? We are in an industry that for years was seen as a perpetrator of pollution whose history and future relies on complex chemicals for its evolution.

What did we do before the advent of gel, mousse, aerosol hairspray, molding paste, and shine enhancers? I would never want to go back to those days. We can thank the styles in the 50s through the 90s for the need of those products, the 80s alone gave the environmentalists a headache the size of some of the styles of the decade.

Innovation and awareness are taking over our industry by leaps and bounds. We all have seen the rise of organics and the products that are increasingly being made with natural extracts to appeal to a new more educated consumer. Style trends are supporting this too, while providing a more natural beauty, which takes plenty of products to achieve, and consumers clamoring to get them.

On the business end there are many things we can do every day to promote not only awareness but action. This cause is certainly one everyone, in our salons, including customers can agree on and support. In fact it can translate into profit for you and your business rapidly. Take notice of the popularity of this movement, consumers DO look at businesses who make an eco-friendly effort in a whole different light than those who do not.

When we look at the industry and our part in being environmentally conscious there are organizations that we really all should be a part of like Matter of Trust, who’s success at cleaning up oil spills, which devastate wildlife and ecosystems has now involved over 300,000 salons in the United States alone.

This organization and their programs not only save coastline and wildlife, but as these organizations grow and expand they create green collar jobs. Would you or your clients have thought 10 years ago, that the hair they can’t wait to get cut off would have ever been so useful? Go to www.matteroftrust.org to learn more and get involved.

When you make your clients aware of what your business is doing in your community, locally and globally, you give them the opportunity to be involved by choosing your salon to do business with; and really feel good about their choice. In today’s economy we need all the help we can get to produce customer loyalty and this is beneficial for everyone involved.

Getting your small business “Certified Green” is a huge trend. Many cities and counties have programs with standards for your business to meet where you can become certified and they will reward you by promoting the efforts you are making. Investment upfront to meet the standards might seem to cost you initially, but the savings over time for using environmentally conscious businesses practices far outweigh the cost of implementing them.

To learn more about these programs go to your county and chamber of commerce websites. Many businesses who are involved will want to do business and refer their clients to other green businesses. The customers who do business with one green business are likely to want to find others that meet their needs for the other services they are seeking. Don’t we all want more business referrals?

The bottom line about green is - it will save you a lot of serious green over time. It doesn’t mean you have to buy solar panels today, right this second to start saving, changing your mindset is the hardest step. What used to be standard to all on energy standards no longer is and many of our actions already reflect that.

Purchasing energy efficient products and reducing water consumption is one of the easiest ways to get started. Supporting product lines that use recyclable materials, less wasteful packaging, and eco-friendly ingredients is another painless way to help.

You can use your team to make this process fun by asking them to be part in the effort to make the business greener and allow them to come up with the actions they would like to take to make a difference.

Visit www.business.gov/expand/green-business for the green business guide to get your team started. You will find lots of information on ways to get started, tax deductions available, and even a calculator to show how much you can save over time. The resources will help you not only recognize the cost savings but you will see the impact your actions have on the environment.

“Is it easy Being Green?” With the right resources, information, innovation and effort it may be a lot easier than you first thought.

Charlene Abretske is a business advisor with Your Beauty Network and supports salons and spas with growing their businesses through on-demand back office tools designed for beauty professionals. For more information call (866)364-4926 or email info@iybn.com.