Fresh from nearly five years working for the Body Shop, one of the earliest proponents of clean beauty, Donna Rodrigue, joined her parents’ Albuquerque salon, Casa Verde, full of ideas of how to future-proof the legacy she would one day inherit. An early advocate of sustainability, she was also aware of how fragile a beauty business could be.
“I had become increasingly convinced that the chemicals in the salon were harmful,” she adds. “But adopting a green agenda can be an intimidating prospect. There is that fear of higher prices so our ethos is that while you can’t do everything, you can do something.”
Over the 20 years that she’s managed the family business she has swung it more eco-friendly by swapping to a more environmentally conscious manufacturer and acing out on recycling and waste management. More recently, she turned her attention to sustainable, disposable towel manufacturer Scrummi Towels. Her motivation was two-fold. First, she recognized they represented a further step towards carbon reduction and water conservation. But it also meant she could reorganize the 2,500 square-foot salon layout, dumping one of two laundry rooms and opening an additional waxing room.
“Lately, our waxing services have been generating a strong income, and so I was looking for ways to expand it, but we didn’t have any under-utilized areas,” says Donna. “At the same time, I’d got curious about disposable towels and had begun looking more closely at them as an option for the salon.”
She recognized it made financial sense but she was uncomfortable about the churn of disposables that could be produced by the 16-strong team and whether they really were a sustainable alternative. After testing a few, she took the leap and set up a subscription to Scrummi, which is a sustainable B Corp company. This allowed her to shut one of Casa Verde’s two laundry rooms, leaving the smaller room set up to wash and dry gowns and other items, while converting the other to her office. Her previous office was then converted into the new waxing area.
“I would not have been comfortable doing it if Scrummi were not eco, but they are actually better for us and the planet,” she explains. “We’ve been able to reduce laundry to just one room and cut back on house-keeping hours, water and energy costs, and detergent. Plus we no longer have people standing watching towels dry in a machine. It is so liberating and it works out cheaper than laundering cotton towels.”
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