Partnerships that Strengthen Sustainable Success

Jason Facio, Owner of Element Salon in Nashville, TN

A salon picked as one of just 50 nationwide to test new eco packaging for Kérastase Illuminate is certainly no small fry, especially just three years into its own sustainability journey. In that short time, Element Hair Salons, in Nashville, TN, has quietly evolved into being carbon-neutral without huge fanfare or drama. But L’Oréal couldn’t help but notice and was impressed enough to ask owner Jason Facio to run with the new Illuminate retail aluminum bottle and refill packs. Jason, and, more importantly, his team, were happy to get involved.

“I’ve got quite a young team and their attitude towards sustainability is one of positivity and enthusiasm. But even so, changing behaviors is a real challenge,” says Jason, who recognized early that sustainability was the future for the industry and was determined to be ahead of the curve. “You need to paint the change in such a way that the team can see the picture on the other side. Sustainability must make sense to them and to the business.”

Every step along the way has been stacked with business goals. His first move was to introduce Vish, which he’d seen at Data Driven Salon Summit in 2019. For Vish to be successful, behaviors must change as it required stylists to reweigh their bowls after each service to measure waste. It took a few weeks for this to become second nature, but it did and massively reduced color waste, along with, as a result, color spend.

His next move was to suggest Green Circle Salons, which involves sorting out and throwing waste into four separate trash cans. The team’s alacrity to sign up surprised him.

“They were on board 100% from the minute I mentioned it. I immediately had multiple volunteers keen to lead it within each of the four salons,” he says. “Because of their enthusiasm the introduction of Green Circle happened very quickly and we now are a zero-waste salon. Green Circle comes with a cost, but we introduced a $3 eco-charge to every appointment, which no client has objected to. That covers costs.”

Since those two early changes, Jason hasn’t looked back. The salon is of a classic design, with quality furniture and fittings, bought to last and be repaired if necessary. It doesn’t obviously shout “eco”, proving you don’t need to sign up to a “sustainable look”, but it has multiple upgrades that supports its carbon-neutral status. Every basin in all four salons has ECOHEADS spray nozzles, which reduce the amount of water and energy used, cutting costs while cleaning the water.

“It feels like silk on the head,” adds Jason. “And it guarantees a consistent experience across the team and locations.”
Besides two Vish stations in each salon’s color department, there are also two ECOHEADS Ping color blenders that mix up all formulas to a perfect consistency so it glides on the hair and ensures color goes much further than hand mixing. Being a closed mixer, it also captures any fumes, ensuring the salon skips hazardous fumes and repetitive motion strain and the team and guests are not inhaling any chemicals. More recently, Jason invested in the 24*7 foil cutting machines for each location, which has reduced the costs of foil and admin labor for prep time, plus made it easier and quicker for the team allowing him to formalize services.

“We now have a formal policy that if it takes above a certain amount of foils then it is a full head. It’s taken what was a bit vague – what constitutes a partial or a full head – and made it easy and transparent,” adds Jason. “Plus there is no waste.”

Green Circle and Vish Color Management may have been the tipping point, but the enthusiasm from the team has made every innovative addition a smooth upgrade to the service. They’ve also become adept at introducing sustainability to guests, which is probably why L’Oréal chose Element Salons to test-run the new packaging for Illuminate. If any team is going to talk up and convince clients of the benefits of a refillery system that cuts plastic by 80%, it’s the guys at Element.

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