The environmental impact of the fashion industry has been making headlines over the past few years, and as people learn the true cost behind their clothes, hairstyles, and beauty products, they’re beginning to demand change. Valorie Tate, the founder of Sustain Beauty Co, is hoping to help make that change happen. To close out Earth Month, we reached out to hear her story.
How Sustain Beauty Co Is Helping Salons Reduce Waste (and Increase Profits)
Sustain Beauty Co founder Valorie Tate talks about finding sustainable products and how salons are starting to ask bigger questions about their own environmental impact
A desire to do good
Valorie, along with her husband and co-founder Paul, got their start in technology. When they left the industry, they realized they wanted to do more than just be another marketing agency.
“We wanted the next phase of our careers to mean something, to do good somehow,” Valorie said. “At the end of the day, we wanted to be able to lay down on our pillows and feel like we’ve made a difference.”
This led Paul to a tradeshow in London, where he met the founder of ECOHEADS, a showerhead built for salons that reduces water and energy consumption by up to 65%, while also filtering and softening water. They were immediately hooked on the idea.
“We brought ECOHEADS here [to the United States], and built the brand and the demand for clean water in the salon,” Valorie said. “Our clients loved how easy it was to conserve while also enhancing their service and started asking questions like, ‘Well, what’s next?’ So we started searching.”
Bringing sustainable salon products to the US
As it turned out, there were a wealth of products focused on sustainability and reducing the environmental impact of the hair salon being used all over the world that didn’t yet have a presence within the US, and Sustain Beauty Co wanted to help bring them to a wider audience.
In addition to ECOHEADS, Sustain Beauty Co works with brands like Paper Not Foil to reduce foil waste in coloring; Scrummi, a single-use eco towel meant to reduce waste generated by non-biodegradable synthetic towels and laundry emissions; and more. Sustain Beauty Co is also partnered with Vish (a Boulevard integration) which helps stylists track color use over time, so salons can reduce waste by getting the most out of their formulas.
“There’s a lot of new technology coming out that connects those dots to the bigger picture,” Valorie explains. “It’s not just about what happens in the services, it’s about what happens to that product in the manufacturing process, even the shipping process. Where does it go for end-of-life? I think a lot of salons are asking intelligent questions that lift the veil on ‘greenwashing.’”
Reduce waste, increase profits
What’s been helpful in getting salons on board with sustainable products like the ones Sustain Beauty Co offers is that they’re not just useful for reducing waste, though that is a key part of the promise. Using products to maximum efficiency can also decrease costs and increase profits.
“Vish’s sustainability message has played very well into a lot of point-of-sale companies like Boulevard,” Valorie says. “It’s a way for them to integrate another piece of technology that helps their salons be more sustainable and mindful because they’re saving tons of money that they can then reinvest into their business and explore new ways of being more profitable.”
Change is hard, but necessary
Making changes isn’t always easy, but Valorie has found that salons and their clients have been very receptive to sustainable practices. “I think the best thing you can do if you’re just getting started is to talk about it to your customers,” she says. “As soon as stylists hear directly from their clients that they appreciate sustainable changes in the salon, they realize this is an easy way to deliver what their clients want.”
These sorts of changes aren’t going to happen overnight, but looking at your salon and focusing on one area at a time will help salons start to edge toward sustainability and get the ball rolling to making your entire business eco-friendly.
“It really does start from the ground up,” Valorie says. “Once you have an appetite for it, you realize you aren’t alone and the future of the salon is green.”