The mountain of towels required to service guests at the glorious Reve Salon and Spa in Sylvania, Ohio, had reached frightening proportions by the beginning of 2022. At a highly conservative estimate of two towels per guest, that added up to 5,000 requiring storage and laundering each month. But it was always way more, says owner Carmen Wigmans. So she began seeking an alternative.
“I tried a couple of brands, including one recommended by a visiting nail educator. Third time lucky, I found Scrummi,” says Carmen. “But even before that, I was determined to swap out the old towel system because disposables are so much easier to use. We went live on May 1.”
Throwing in the Towel
Reve stretches across 11,000 sq ft, comprising three levels at the front and two at the rear, with a big basement and elevator. Opened by Wigmans more than 30 years ago, it has a team of 50-plus across all beauty disciplines. A housekeeper was necessary whenever the salon was open, employed to go up and down in the elevator, collecting dirty towels, laundering them and replenishing the stocks in every department. For hours on end, a big part of the job was to monitor the laundry.
“Over the past decade, the costs of labor have doubled and all to watch the dryer go round,” says Carmen, who still works behind the chair. “Plus you have all the costs of replacing towels annually, servicing the industrial-size laundry machinery, the hot water and the detergent. A supply of clean towels is expensive.”
Towels also fill up valuable space. The cupboards in the hair departments, which had to be replenished every day, sometimes more often, now hold four to five days’-worth of Scrummi towels.
“They are much more compact, plus we’ve introduced the Scrummi Method to wrapping hair, which has allowed us to cut back to one towel per guest, two if they have color, and to create a ritual that ensures guest comfort,” adds Carmen.
The compostable Scrummi towels are also gentler on the enviornment. The energy used in the entire lifecycle of a Scrummi disposable towel including its manufacture is less than the energy used by a washing machine to clean one single cotton towel.
Cutting staffing costs
Dumping the laundry also means there’s no need for a full-time housekeeper. Someone is now employed to look after replenishment, etc from nine until three, five days a week instead of seven long days; that’s 35 hours a week instead of 74.
The downside could have been in the logistics. It’s bad enough remembering to buy in new cotton towels once a year, and the thought of organizing regular deliveries of disposables could be off-putting. But Carmen has a subscription for her Scrummi towels, and they turn up each month without anyone involved in re-ordering.
She has even worked out a simple way to dispose of the towels. They are collected in compostable sacks which are produced locally by a blind community.
“We need to think more about sustainability, especially as younger team members join. There is more awareness among them and clients that we have to respond to,” adds Carmen. “We have introduced new ways of doing things to bring down our carbon footprint, but it can sometimes be a trade off with higher costs. Yet, introducing disposable towels has helped to reduce costs, and it has been welcomed by our increasingly sustainably minded clientele and team, making salon life so much easier.”
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