You offer services using natural products, and you and your staff make earth-friendly choices for your salon whenever you can. How do you let your clients know about your commitment to going green? Below are five ways to spread your message
1. Be Authentic:
Here’s the thing about being green — it’s a life-long journey that’s walked incrementally. Some salons say they’re green because of products they use. Others go further and say they’re green not only because of the products they use, but also because of the flooring, lighting, furniture, and merchandise choices they make. The point here is to be honest. Don’t try to market yourself as a green salon simply because you offer polish without formaldehyde, toluene, and DBP (dibutyl phthalate). On the other hand, don’t shy away from letting clients know about the green choices you do make. For example, if you do choose polishes that are “big-three-free,” let clients know by talking about why you chose the polish, by putting a large, colorful sign by the polish display, and by including the information in any ads you create.
2. Location, Location, Location:
You’ve heard that said about the location of the salon, but it’s true of the location of your advertising too. Display informational signs throughout your salon to let clients know the steps you take to be green. Do you collect and recycle old polish bottles? Make your collection a focal point in the waiting room to draw attention to the practice. Have you changed your lighting, windows, or heating system to reduce energy? Put a sign by the thermostat, next to windows, or by your lamps to let clients know. Put labels on all retail products with your one-line commitment statement. Priti Organic Spa in New York City puts this statement on their service menus: “We believe that you can be beautiful without harming our world and ourselves.” These signs and labels are “silent” reminders of your values.
3. Educate, Educate, Educate:
Take every opportunity you can to tell your story about why you choose green options. Kim D’Amato, founder and CEO of Priti Organic Spa and Priti Polish, says she saw how educating her clients helped them catch her vision. At first, says D’Amato, people laughed at the idea of an organic spa, but she would talk with each client about what they were putting on their skin every day, and what she was putting on their skin in the salon. She says she would chat, educate, and plant a seed in their minds, saying how she made changes and suggesting easy ways they could too. “One by one, clients came back because of the experience in the spa,” says D’Amato, “and they would tell their friends or bring a friend with them when they returned.” Educating clients makes it easy for them to tell your salon’s story to their friends. Plus, it builds loyalty, trust, and partnership.
Nearly every town has businesses that share your enthusiasm and commitment to going green. Stop by those spots to drop off business cards to let them know about services you offer that would appeal to them and their clients. You could start with the logical places, such as health-food stores, organic restaurants, chiropractors, and acupuncturists. But don’t stop there. Some communities have phenomenal farmers’ markets, where vendors and customers alike would likely be clients interested in eco-conscious salons. Dieticians, podiatrists, and personal trainers can also be part of the network you build to promote your salon. Take part in local health fairs; for a nominal fee, you can often get a table to promote your business. Display your earth-friendly product line, and provide information on everyday ways your salon chooses to be green. This can be done simply and inexpensively by printing an attractive Top 10 list on a standard sheet of paper and displaying it on the table in a stand-up frame, or create an abbreviated salon menu with your Top 10 list. Be sure to include your branding so people know how to find your salon. Finally, don’t overlook other professionals, such as estheticians, masseuses, or stylists, who you can cross-promote.
5. Create Buzz:
A lot of marketing can be done for free if you’re clever and consistent. Write a press release describing your salon’s commitment to green practices. Send press releases regularly. One month feature a service that uses exclusively organic products. The next month introduce a new line of organic products being offered in your salon and explain why they benefit the client and preserve the earth. Write a press release on how your salon is raising awareness among clients on how to make simple, eco-friendly changes, detailing in what ways you are practicing what you preach. Create buzz on Facebook and Twitter. Reward clients who follow you on Twitter with contests that offer discounts or free add-ons. Twitter allows you to communicate immediately with clients about new products, services, or practices you’ve changed in the salon that make your salon more earth-friendly.
Defining Our Terms
“Going Green” means making choices that are good for people and for the earth. In a salon setting, this could mean reducing your use of water, finding ways to use less energy to light, heat, or cool your space, or taking the time to recycle salon waste properly and completely. It can also mean choosing eco-friendly furniture or flooring, and using products that don’t harm clients or hurt the earth when they’re thrown away or washed down the drain.
“Organic” is commonly reserved to refer to those things that are completely natural, without additives, such as wholegrain bread without artificial preservatives, or beef raised without antibiotics. (Absolutely no acrylics fall into this category.) However, in chemistry, the word “organic” refers to all complex compounds of carbon. Techs should be careful when choosing “organic” products, since manufacturers can legally call a compound of carbon “organic,” even though the meaning is different from how we commonly use the word.
Source: Paul Bryson, co-director of R&D at OPI (taken from “Celebrity Q&A” at BeautyTech.com)