Evolving into a Non-Toxic and Eco-Friendly Salon

Donna Rodrigue, Casa Verde Salon in Albuquerque

In the 50 years since Donald and Barbara Maestas opened Casa Verde it has gone through more facelifts than any celebrity, according to the family inside joke. Now run by their daughter Donna Rodrigue, it continues to evolve, always beautiful, never aging, sustaining its position as one of Albuquerque’s premier salons.

“We don’t chase or try to set trends,” explains Donna. “We focus on what’s best for the company and our people and concentrate our energies on those, reinvesting into the business and making sure it is future-proofed.”

But her actions have kept the salon ahead of trends. Nearly two decades ago, Donna began shifting the business towards greater sustainability. Fresh from nearly five years working for the Body Shop, one of the earliest proponents of clean beauty, she knew the harm that chemicals can do to clients, service providers and the planet. Her own father was suffering from lung issues.

“I became increasingly convinced that the chemicals in the salon were harmful,” she adds. “But adopting a green agenda can be an intimidating prospect. There is that fear of higher prices. But our ethos is that while you can’t do everything, you can do something, so we started by moving to a more environmentally conscious manufacturer.”

Since then the family has introduced other sustainable practices, including paying the city for their very own recycling bin in the parking lot. More recently, Casa Verde moved over to Scrummi disposable, biodegradable towels.
However the decision, Donna admits, was prompted less by eco reasons than a need for more space to increase the salon’s waxing business, which was thriving. She gave up her office to be converted into a treatment room and renovated one of the laundry rooms into a new workspace.

“I would not have been comfortable doing it if Scrummi were not eco, but they are actually better for us and the planet,” she explains. “We’ve been able to reduce laundry to just one room and cut back on housekeeping hours, water and energy costs, and detergent. Plus we no longer have people standing watching towels dry in a machine. It is so liberating and it works out cheaper than laundering cotton towels.”

The team and clients took to the new towels immediately, especially as the salon has a policy of giving away used towels to be used to groom pets or clean at home. One stylist has a particularly slobbery dog, so she loves them.
The attitude of the Rodrigue family over the years has ensured the sustainability of the business and in the process, they have created one of the most gorgeous, sustainable salons in the country, one that is ready for the next 50 years.

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