Wella's Charity Challenge: Royale Hair Auctions Art for KidsWhen Bridgett Vohland, owner of Royale Hair Parlor in Bloomington, Indiana, held her first fundraiser in May, her salon was only seven months old.

“When we heard about Wella’s Charity Challenge, we were so excited by the potential,” says Vohland. “And when we learned we had been awarded $2,500, we were ecstatic!”

Royale Hair parlor chose to use their funds to benefit Monroe County CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children) with a children’s art auction. “CASAs often spend a year with a case, and for many abused children the volunteer is the only consistent adult in their life,” says Vohland. “We chose CASA because we believe all children deserve to have someone on their side— the more funding there is for CASA, the more children have a voice.”

The salon, which was formerly an art gallery, was the perfect venue for the event, which raised $1,200. “It takes $500 to train one CASA,” says Vohland. “So it felt good to know we had provided an advocate for two children who otherwise may not have had one.”

Before the auction, Vohland and her team met with Monroe County CASA leaders to discuss how they could best use the $2,500 they received from the Charity Challenge. After the meeting, she decided to set aside some of the money to continue to grow the children’s art auction and to take advantage of an opportunity to partner with other local businesses in holding a major fundraiser at a local winery.

The entire Royale Hair Parlor staff is involved in promoting these events, but one stylist, Molly LeCount, was named Coordinator of Community Outreach.  LeCount spearheaded the event, and regularly works with local women’s shelters, as well as coordinating fundraisers for clients who’ve experienced financial hardship due to illness.

Wella's Charity Challenge: Royale Hair Auctions Art for Kids“In the same way we educate our clients about home styling or retail products, we educate our clients on the work that CASA does and the foster care system in Monroe County,” says LeCount. “We are fortunate in that we have a captive audience for one to three hours. We can use this time to not only improve our guests’ physical appearance, but also talk to them about creating the world we wish to live in."

With the first art auction fundraiser under her belt, Vohland is already thinking ahead to next spring’s event. They raised $1,200 with only social media and word of mouth to publicize the event this year, and Vohland believes she can double that number next year, and still set aside some to continue to grow the auction.

“We learned a lot from that first event and have many ideas on how it could be improved,” she says. “In order to engage the stylists more and spark client interest, we’re planning a hair show the night of the art auction,” Vohland adds.

Her plan is to let each stylist choose a piece of art as inspiration. Vohland also plans on setting up an online donation site and working with local elementary school art teachers to select art.
“Hopefully this will create more community interest and spread awareness,” she says. “And ideally we will bring in enough to continue to co-sponsor the larger, more lucrative fundraiser at the winery.”

As a new business, Vohland appreciates the opportunity the fundraiser provides to put Royale Hair Parlor on the radar. Although she acknowledges traditional advertising is effective, she feels positive social change is important to her clients.

“Showing that we care about our community and are involved in charitable fundraising is promoting a positive image,” she says. “Raising money for CASA got both our staff and our clients excited. By getting involved in charitable work before our first year of business is up we have set a standard for our salon. We have created a culture.”

In 2013, Wella's Hairdressers at Heart Charity Challenge awarded 20 finalists with grants that totalled $43,000. The next Wella“Supports Your Cause” Charity Challenge will commence in the spring of 2014. For more information and updates, please visit hairdressersatheart.com.

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