A few years ago SALON TODAY had a cover feature on growing your own grassroots campaign, and we showcased individual salon and spas who'd taken small, yet mighty ideas, planted them and watched them blossom into success. At the time, I alluded to how political campaigns leveraged the grassroots phenomenon to elevate a candidate to success, but I was hard-pressed to find a large, widespread campaign within the salon and spa industry that was truly grassroots--that grew despite the backing and bankroll of a powerful manufacturer behind it.
This past Tuesday, I not only found that example, I found myself swept up in the excitement despite being thousands of miles away. On November 13, at least 116 salons, spas and other businesses participated in a CUT IT OUT event to raise funds and awareness for the victims of the Azana Salon and Spa shooting in Brookfield, Wisconsin. I say at least 116, because that's the best count the organizers of the event had, but even on the day of, people were calling to see how they could help.
The grassroots organizing literally started the day after the estranged husband of an employee entered Azana October 21, ordered people to the ground and began shooting. When police arrived at the scene, three women had been killed, four more were injured, and the shooter had killed himself. The day after the shooting I talked with Jan Seybold, who owns Carenza Color Cutting Experience located across the street from Azana and she was on the phone with other salon owners in the great Milwaukee area, including Mary Beth Berns, Kitty Tierney, Janet D'Amato, Rosie Steffens and Dawn Panfil. Still in shock, the women were already talking about how this could have happened in any of their businesses, and wondering how they could best help the victims, as well as the owner of the spa and the remaining employees while the spa was closed.
Soon, the women began meeting for coffee, discussing ways they could help. They got in touch with the Professional Beauty Association's CUT IT OUT program, which educates beauty professionals on how to recognize the signs of domestic abuse and counsel clients to seek help. Mary Beth Berns launched a CUT IT OUT community Facebook page and began sending friend requests to every salon and beauty professional in the area. And, they designated November 13 as the first annual CUT IT OUT day when any salon or spa that wanted to participate could donate between 5 to 25 percent of that day's sales to a fund to help families of the victims.