Defining Your Purpose

Our resilience has been tested to the core over the past two years. The instability has shaken confidence in institutions and security, which may have given way to more spiritual strongholds for both clients and your team. Where once clients came for an amazing service, they now want the same amazing service at the same price but only if you align with their beliefs. Never before in history has a business been expected to have political positions and public announcements on social issues, but in a time where every dollar is more precious, people want to everything to mean more.

COVID gave pause for reflection for stylists, too, sparking an exodus from an industry already challenged by a chronic recruitment shortage. But some salons have flourished, and it appears their commitment to sustainability has helped. In fact, it could be their superpower.

“The pandemic revealed what we’d been missing by all working so hard,” says James Alba, co-owner of B-Hive Organic Salon in Hillsborough, NJ and founder of The Salon Movement. “Now stylists are putting their work/life balance first; choosing their family before a last-minute request for a color correction on a Saturday. They want their lives to mean more. Money is great, but increasingly, it is not the only motivation. Stylists also want a sense of purpose.”

Why is ‘Purpose’ Important?

Research has shown that across all sectors, workers with a sense of purpose suffer less ill-health and, by extension, less absenteeism. They are happier, find work more meaningful, and are more productive. These studies have also shown that people increasingly want their employers to share that sense of purpose.

B-Hive has built a strong business around its purpose, which is to deliver superb services with minimal impact on the planet. It is a message that is increasingly resonating among the public as it witnesses unprecedented fires, floods, and droughts. Something that is felt around the globe and a sentiment shared with a growing number of salons, including Ron King Salon in Austin, TX.

“People are so much more aware of the climate and our carbon footprint,” says Ron King, co-owner with his husband, Ethan King, of Ron King Salon in Austin, Tx. “Being sustainable isn’t just about what you do with your waste and what you buy, it has to be about the partnerships you form.

“Sustainable means working to create a healthy business, with a loyal team, in a world that will survive. And you need to work with others to fulfill that.”

When the Planet is Your Purpose

Ron works with Sustain Beauty Co to ensure his team has access to premium products that also happens to contribute to sustainability, such as the highly absorbent, biodegradable Scrummi towels or water-saving ECOHEADS salon shampoo nozzles. Part of finding and defining your purpose is also ensuring your partners reinforce and strengthen those values, giving both stylists and clients a clear picture of your brand ethos and will attract the right people through your doors. For Ron and James, sustainability delivers that sense of purpose.

“Stylists really respond to being part of something bigger, whether it is charity work or protecting the planet,” agrees James, whose own purpose is to support other salon owners to be more profitable and successful, which is why he set up The Salon Movement. “And they will share their joy with their clients, discussing all the steps the salon is taking towards its goals, which definitely enriches their two-hour conversation and avoids sinking into a client complain fest.”

Sustainability can provide a channel for a shared sense of responsibility that enriches the experience of everyone involved while helping protect the planet. But it is the growing awareness that the journey can begin with small steps, with help on hand to guide any novices, that is encouraging increasing numbers of salons to work together with their teams to set a new agenda that will help them all enjoy the industry more than ever.

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