In the River North neighborhood of Chicago, a new hair salon has come to town espousing personality, pizazz and eco-consciousness, too. Award-winning colorist John Blue opened Boss Hair Group in November 2018 as a salon for the eco-friendly consumer. Here, he shares his best tips for how to create a green business.
One of Blue’s main reasons for opening a green salon was the concerning amount of waste produced by the beauty industry. Green Circle Salons has helped him reduce that—chemicals in haircolor are dumped in a hazard landfill, and hair clippings are sent to a women’s prison in Canada where the inmates make hair booms that soak up oil spills in the oceans and waterways. Green Circle also recommends using Ecohead showerheads at washing stations to conserve water. “On a busy day, [Ecoheads] can save up to 65 gallons of water per hour,” Blue says.
Do your research
Beware of greenwashing when it comes to choosing your salon’s hair and beauty products. Brands sometimes market themselves to look like they fulfill various ethical standards, including being natural, organic and cruelty free, when in reality they do not. Blue says to pay close attention to the wording of marketing phrases, and always do your research. He emailed companies asking questions that helped ensure the products followed through in what they were marketed to be.
An eco-fee of $2 is added to every ticket at Boss Hair Group to compensate for the extra charges that come with green initiatives, like the Green Circle, eco-friendly cleaning supplies and LED lighting. “Everyone’s been really supportive and it makes them feel really good,” he says. It’s also been a great way to bring up the initiatives that the salon is taking to be green, he adds.
Share your process
Blue loves when clients ask about the salon’s partnership with Green Circle, or about any of the sustainable practices. He’s all about supporting the conscious consumer, someone who asks why and how. “Clients are more interested when you create a dialogue and it’s a little more in their face,” Blue says. Boss Hair Group also keeps clients engaged in their mission to be green with a recycling program for their retail products. When customers are ready to throw away their plastic containers bought from the salon, they can bring them back to be recycled for a 15 percent discount off their next purchase.
Keep your own style
Sustainability can be prioritized without it being the entire identity or image of your salon. Blue was tired of seeing the stereotypical green salon with “white walls and green plants,” so he designed his space with a point of view: Studio 54 blended with ’90s supermodel chic, and plenty of pops of chrome and color.