Off the Fringe featured as one of the Salon’s on Get Timely’s Blog Memoirs of a Sustainable Salon – to view the original article click here, below are excerpts that feature Off the Fringe.

by Rosa Anderson-Jones 

Sustainably-run salons are popping up all over the place and the more popular they become, the more that their practices are expected by customers.

We spoke to some of the most successful sustainable salons from around the globe. These businesses understand that there’s no Planet-B, and because of that, they’re working hard to reduce their carbon footprint. Here’s how they do it!

1. WHY IS SUSTAINABILITY IMPORTANT FOR HAIR SALONS AND BUSINESSES?

Bridgette Young, Off the Fringe

It’s important for any business to be as sustainable as possible, for now, and for future generations. It is important to me, as an owner and stylist, to have a sustainable salon as I want to be able to do my part in helping protect the environment and show people that it doesn’t have to be difficult. We also wanted to educate our clients on what they can do to be part of being more sustainable. We want to have a little spark of interest for our clients to be more aware of what they are using and how they are using products at home. Like using organic products, products that are safe for the environment as well as better for you. We want to be part of the bigger picture, doing our little bit. New Zealand is known to be “clean and green” but the waterways and oceans are suffering and as a combined force I think hairdressers in NZ could make a massive difference in the fight for our environment.

2. WHAT STEPS DOES YOUR BUSINESS TAKE TO BE SUSTAINABLE?

Bridgette Young, Off the Fringe

At Off the Fringe, we think about our environmental impact every step of the way and make a conscious effort to continually improve in this area as new opportunities become available.

In the past year, we have reduced our waste by using introducing ‘Rockfoil‘ reusable foil. We’ve also replaced our basin taps to eco-heads, almost all lights have been changed to energy efficient light bulbs and we have changed to eco cleaners. Even our commercial cleaners who come in once per week use eco cleaning products and cloths.

We use our dishwasher on eco mode whilst using ‘Ecover’ dishwasher tablets and have invested in beautiful ceramic cups for clients to enjoy their beverage (no throwaway cups here). We also replaced our old heat pump with a much more efficient and energy friendly solution.

We recycle packaging of colour and retail products, where possible. We have come a long way over the years and will work to improve every year in our commitment to conserving our planet for future generations.

3. WHAT ARE SOME TRUSTWORTHY PRODUCTS THAT YOUR BUSINESS USES? ARE THESE PRODUCTS TESTED ON ANIMALS?

Bridgette Young, Off the Fringe

Our main product we use in the salon on our clients is Organic Colour Systems. This is our number one choice for colour and retail range. We have been using this for many years. We trust the company and its products implicitly as they provide all information on ingredients up front. There is no grey area where their products are concerned. This has helped us tremendously when it comes to clients who may have allergies to certain ingredients. We can check every bottle for the exact ingredients and show them what each product contains. Our manufacturer, Herb UK, has a fantastic training program which allows us, as hair stylists, to really understand what the specific ingredients do and how they can benefit the client. We offer a skin patch test to every new client and we also follow up with patch tests on clients at least once per year. I believe in a company that has nothing to hide. We want to know what’s in that bottle and if those ingredients are safe to use and that they have been ethically sourced and if they are animal-friendly. These are the most important points to consider when looking at products. All the products we use in the salon are animal-friendly, Organic Colour systems have never and will never test on animals.

I have worked with hairdressers who have suffered from eczema and psoriasis and I struggle to understand why they have never made the effort to find brands that they can actually work with.

4. WHAT TIPS WOULD YOU GIVE OTHER BUSINESSES WHO ARE THINKING OF BECOMING MORE SUSTAINABLE?

Bridgette Young, Off the Fringe

Do it! Make small changes, like light bulbs, first. I have recently started replacing the good old fluorescent lights with LED. It has made a huge difference to the salon lighting and there is a 15-year life on those babies! No more throwing out bulbs! LED light bulbs alone save you money and reduce waste, piling up in our landfills (as well as saving money on electricity). It’s a flow on effect: you do one thing and it has a domino effect on the next thing. Every bit helps!

5. WHAT ARE SOME EASY SWITCHES THAT SALONS CAN MAKE TO REDUCE THEIR FOOTPRINT?

Bridgette Young, Off the Fringe

Start with the small stuff, such as switching to eco-friendly cleaning products and offering organic teas and coffees. Then move onto bigger things, like energy-efficient heating or air-conditioners and printers and lighting. Mostly I think it is a lifestyle choice to make.

I want to be able to offer my staff and clients a safe a pleasant place to come to. I want them to be able to use the products knowing that these organic ingredients have been ethically sourced and that they are not adding to the pollution of the waterways. These are just a few of the important issues that I have thought about when it comes to my salon and our brands we choose to use.

6. WHY DO CLIENTS LOVE ECO-FRIENDLY SALONS?

Bridgette Young, Off the Fringe

The comment I hear most often with new clients is that they love the smell of the salon. It doesn’t smell like ammonia or have a very strong aroma. Everything you smell is from organic products.

We are finding that more clients coming through the door in search of better choices. Clients are becoming more educated on the products available to them, and because of that, we need to keep up with the best and safest products around.

Clients love that we use eco-friendly products and by choosing to come to us they too are making the choice to be eco-friendly. Customers who use our products at home are making small changes to protect the environment and to protect themselves by further eliminating chemicals from their lives.