4 Ways to Maintain a Salon Culture of Community Service
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Early this month, when Jungle Red Salon Spa Gallery in Minneapolis holds its third annual The Red Affair fundraiser to benefit local nonprofit Avenues for Homeless Youth, it will mark 15 years of continued support for the organization—as long as the salon has been in operation. The ticketed VIP event will offer hors d’oevres, wine-tasting, music, auctions, raffles, awards and appearances by local sports figures.

“Happiness comes from helping others,” says Jungle Red owner Suzanne Erickson. “That’s where you gain the most happiness. This concept is throughout our salon culture. Our stylists have this same feeling and drive, that giving back as a team makes the work that much more fulfilling. Everybody pitches in.”

The extent of the event makes it sound as if Jungle Red has a huge resource pool, but this is a six-chair, full-service salon with a staff of eight.

The level of dedication is key. Kari Melchert, Jungle Red general manager, says that the event’s details are hammered out at staff meetings and additional meetings.

“We understand that everybody can’t make every single meeting,” Melchert says. “Staffers make it fit their schedule. Many times they’re using their connections with friends and clients—people they’re already interacting with.”

In addition to the annual focus on helping homeless youth and some brainstorming each October around breast cancer awareness, Jungle Red places high emphasis on the arts. The name says it all—Jungle Red is a salon, spa and gallery. A monthly Rhythm & Red evening brings artists together with the community for a few hours of music, networking and art awareness.

“The gallery space is one way we support local artists,” Melchert says. “We have mostly paintings, drawings, photography and mixed media arts.”

Recently a staffer was added to manage the gallery.

If you want your salon to maintain a culture of community service, borrow these four ideas from Carla McCall,
a partner at the accounting firm AAFCPA in Worcester, Massachusetts, which donates 10% of its annual net income to nonprofit causes.

  1. Make community a core value. This starts with the leaders, who can model individual dedication by serving on boards. As salon programs get put into place, the leaders must stay highly involved.
  2. Choose your causes carefully. Your cause will not necessarily resonate with the rest of your staff, and some causes can even be polarizing. McCall advises making sure the organizations you choose are stable and transparent about their impact on the community. You’ll need to explain to your team why a cause is worth their time.
  3. Geography is less important than it used to be. Although it’s never a bad idea to keep it local, today you can make this work no matter where the organization is located. It can be a national or even global cause if it speaks to your team.
  4. Appreciate each team member’s participation. McCall says working together to improve others’ lives reminds individuals that they can have a true impact in this world. Make sure they have the training necessary to make your initiative succeed.

If you and your team want to launch a charitable program but are afraid to approach your clients, Erickson predicts you’ll find more cooperation than you might think—especially if you have business owners among your clientele.

“When I’m the one asked for a donation, I’m more than willing to give,” she says. “Maybe someone can’t make a major donation, but any business owner usually can contribute a gift certificate. I’ve found that business owners are very willing to help other business owners. “This concept should work anywhere—small town or big city.”

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Originally posted on Modern Salon