LOOKING good comes at a cost; unfortunately, when it comes to hairdressing it’s often the environment that’s wearing it.
According to the NSW Environmental Protection Authority, around 2 million kilograms of hair salon waste goes into landfill across Australia each year, and that doesn’t even touch the chemicals gurgling down drains or the water washing them down.
So when East Freo’s George & Ivy picked up the State Salon Business of the Year WA/NT at the recent Australian Hair Industry Awards, the judges singled out their commitment to reducing their impact on the environment.
The salon, tucked away behind Richmand Quarter on Council Place, is owned by husband and wife team Catriona (Cat) and Paul Howard and it feels a little like a mini-castle with its Brian Klopper design.
Mr Howard says it was originally the renowned Freo architect’s own home, and when he put it on the market five years ago, they decided to live upstairs and open a salon below.
But business boomed: “So we expanded upstairs and we’ve got 10 people working here now,” he said.
“It’s just a beautiful environment to work in – the architecture’s inspiring.
“Seventy per cent of all our power is supplied from solar and we’re consious when we do use tumble dryers and things like that, we do it in daylight hours,” Mr Howard said.
“All our products are organic and biodynamic.”
He says there’s not much they can do about their water consumption, but may look at installing a rainwater tank for the small courtyard garden that greets customers as they arrive.
“We also use a company called Sustainable Salons and for a charge per client they recycle 95 per cent of all our salon waste.”
Mr Howard says they’re wary of using the council’s recycling service, fearing too much would end up going to landfill.
The service adds just $3 to the cost for each customer, but Mr Howard says after picking up an eco-award three years ago, they found customers weren’t just happy to pay but were coming from across the metro area to get a green ‘do’.
He said sustainability wasn’t the only thing the AHIA judges looked at.
“It’s your socials, it’s your website, your marketing, salon client retention, your whole financials – they look into every aspect of the business. It’s a bit confronting because normally you don’t like to give out those sort of details.”
He said George & Ivy’s diversity was also a factor.
“Some salons just have one particular thing they specialise in, like maybe blondes or guy’s belayage; we have everything.
“So for men’s belayage we do mullets, we do shags, we do skullets, we do bixies, pixies – we love variety.”