SUSTAINABLE SALON SPOTLIGHT: Raw Hair Society
Raw Hair Society is a craft hair salon built for community, sustainability and authenticity. Here's how owner Jill Reed makes an eco impact (and how you can too).
Raw Hair Society in Corvallis, Oregon, is a craft hair salon built for community, sustainability and authenticity. And it amplifies those three core values on the salon’s website, Instagram account, and right on the front door. The salon also: • Empowers guests and artists to be their best, authentic selves within a safe space • Offers services for “whomever you are,” with gender-neutral pricing • Recently expanded into the space next door to add an airy boutique and comfortable reception space • Features an uplifting, bright and energizing décor with healthy plants throughout (as décor and to purchase)
Raw Hair Society is owner Jill Reed’s second salon but says it’s the first one built around her personal values and what she wanted to give to her community and clients.
“I really sat down and was intentional about it,” she says. “Even the name has a lot to do with it. I focused on what I have to offer the beauty industry and to the stylists who come work with me.”
“We live in a very environmentally conscious area and the word sustainable meant a lot to me and drove my business from the beginning,” she says, “including the process of finding and building a team that shared or was open to the same values. Not everyone came in as an expert. We delivered a lot of education, not only about the earth but about the health of our stylists, too.”
It was and remains important to Reed to acknowledge the amount of waste the beauty industry generates, and raise consciousness about ways to do and be better.
A few strategies she’s adopted successfully:
• Utilize mainly reused materials and furniture for the salon buildout and any updates
• Maintain and promote Green Circle Salon services and certification and use stats from the customized annual report to communicate specifically how much waste the salon recycled and kept out of the local landfill.
• Choose and partner only with product brands that align with her formulation and packaging philosophies
• Educate guests constantly on what to do with empty hair product packaging and how/when/where to recycle in general and locally. “I educate by doing and showing, and using my resources, like Green Circle, R+Co and others.”
• Use Eco Head water filters that reduce the water volume the salon uses daily, while softening the water to be gentler or healthier for the scalp.
• Avoid buying cleaning products or other items for the salon that are in one-use containers.
• Label, label, label bins for everything—make it easy for staff and guests to know exactly where to put what.
• Provide space for clients to bring in beauty product containers that have been used and emptied—even products not purchased here.
• Keep it all looking sharp and appealing, never cluttered. “Feng shui is important to me—we’re creative and visual people, after all,” Reed says. “There are attractive ways to curate your bins and your labels, fonts, etc. Be on purpose about it. Match your style.”
• Build habits into the salon flow and culture. “Sustainability practices are a team effort, and can easily become a natural one,” Reed says. “Emptying and maintaining our recycling is just part of our daily duties and culture for everyone. We’re a well-oiled machine.”
• Add green, sustainability and/or health fees to the service ticket. Pre-pandemic, Raw Hair Society had a standard Green Circle-recommended fee to cover the basics. After the shutdown, they added a health and sustainability fee to cover PPE and more, a $4 fee on top of every service.
• Make sure all guests know that all retail product plastic bottles or tubes are recyclable and/or made of recycled material.
• Reward recycling. Incentivize guests. Raw offers 5% off a single R+Co item when guests bring in a container to the salon to be recycled. Market the promotion to let guests know you are not only recommending R+Co because of the line’s packaging sustainability, but because the products and formulations are the best and healthiest for them.”
Raw Hair Society + R+Co
On the salon website and elsewhere, Reed lets guests know that “We have chosen to use and support only quality, chemically reduced and animal cruelty-free products.”
Today those products are exclusively R+Co, R+Co BLEU, and some local vendor niche brands, as well as local jewelry, essential oils and a trending assortment of house plants to take home or gift.
Like a number of salons struggling through the pandemic, Reed was motivated during the shutdown to maximize retail partnerships to sustain and grow her business, and R+Co helped her focus.
“I always knew the importance of retail, but R+Co offered new ways to drive my retail and help my business stay afloat,” Reed says. “Another line we’d carried just wasn’t’ accessible enough, and shipping got too expensive and wasn’t sustainable in any sense of the word.
“So I did my research, looked on social media, reached to other salons and connected with R+Co. When the salon reopened with the expanded boutique, we had space for more retail and was able to commit more space to both R+Co and R+Co BLEU.
Bottom Line = Values
“It would be a lot harder to stay true to our salon promise to reduce our waste if we weren’t working so closely with a brand that aligns with our values,” Reed says. “R+Co just fits with what we are trying to do, and with the daily conversation we want to have in our salon.
“When it comes to generating revenue, it was the best decision we’ve made for the business. Plus, our team loves the line, its aesthetic and how the products perform. It works with the vibe of our space. Even the names are exciting and fun.
“As an owner, I appreciate all the support, education and innovation R+Co offers. The R+Co team prove to me every day they are working to make the beauty industry better. And making the industry better is exactly what I want to happen.”