As blonds blossom into summery buttercreams and earthy brunettes glow with warm candlelight, it can be a challenge to evolve new formulas without a sudden spike in product waste that will drive up color costs. Each season’s new trends are all part of the process of keeping clients excited about their hair, but they can also mean throwing out established formulas and starting again.
“Cool shades that have been popular for a while are giving way to warmer tones of golds and beige this summer and we want to deliver on those without the burden of waste. Keeping waste down is much fairer to clients. We have color thresholds and if more is used additional bowls are charged to the client. So the team mixes the minimum and then mixes more if required. It means costs don’t fluctuate for the business or the client.”
— Kelley Swing, owner of Head Case Salon in Keller, TX, author of '$ustainable Salons Make Millions' and a member of the Rolling Stone Cultural Council for thought leaders
As a sustainability-focused business, Head Case benefits from a team of like-minded individuals whose values align when it comes to the environment and service. Those values helped propel the salon into this year’s Vish Waste Warrior Awards, an annual award organized by the color management provider focused on who has the lowest color waste. Head Case’s salon average was $0.31 worth of waste left over after each service (the national average is $1.44). Its total waste is about 4% each month.
Head Case scans previous formulas to estimate how much the salon will need for its new formula, and start with small amounts — 15 grams for a root retouch. Capturing the formula using technology as it's mixed allows it to replicate the color exactly so consistency is maintained. It’s the same for the team at Baddhare in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where minimums are uniform and additional color is charged to the client.
“Often a stylist mixes three or more shades to achieve the color they know their client will love but remembering the exact shades in the exact ratio in a busy, stressful salon environment is pretty impossible,” says Abigail Brown, co-owner with Rhysa Anderson of Baddhare. “It can lead to inconsistencies between mixes and unnecessary waste. We resolved this issue last October by introducing Vish to capture the formula as it is weighed. It is easy now to recreate the exact same formula regardless of the quantities or ratios of colors involved and still ensure consistency. We start with small amounts and remix, keeping waste down.”
Education has been fundamental for both salons in keeping ahead of the trends and on top of color. Both salons run monthly education sessions, with sustainability at the heart of any technical innovations and reinforcing existing practice. The teams are incentivized to keep waste low.
Meanwhile Baddhare has found an unexpected benefit of keeping a handle on color and waste through technology. The salon is able to monitor inventory more efficiently. The team can watch the trends by seeing how much product is dispensed to the gram and respond instantly, buying in more popular shades and dropping those falling out of favor.
Staying on top of spend while keeping ahead of color trends is a challenge, but at Head Case and Baddhare, the commitment to education, sustainability, and innovation helps keep them on target, and although seasons change, their product costs rarely fluctuate.
Visit www.GetVish.com for more information on the Vish Waste Warriors Awards.
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