QED skincare owner and pharmacist Shoshana Eisner reveals her move towards making sustainable choices with innovative steps, using sample sachets.
THE SALON COLLECTION BOX FOR SAMPLE SACHETS
“Two of my bathroom drawers are full of samples I have received over the years. Like many beauty consumers, I love receiving samples with my purchases. I look at them excitedly when I receive them. Maybe 10% of them are suitable for me, so I try those ones. The others are popped in the sample drawer for later or never. I know they are valuable, which is why I can’t throw them out so I hang onto them.
It occurred to me that these samples would be very useful to people living in shelters or in their cars. I discovered a beautiful volunteer organisation called ‘Every Little Bit Helps’ (ELBH). They collect sample-sized toiletries, beauty products and sanitary items and make up kits. They then distribute them through an established network of shelters around Australia.
ELBH needs more samples, more volunteers to run collection points, more volunteer packers (and of course more money). Your salon customers have drawers full of samples at home. As a salon, you have customers who visit regularly and you have personal relationships with them. This is an easy way to make your business look socially conscious, make your clients feel good and also help out people who are doing it tough. (PLUS the samples don’t end up in landfill! This is Win-Win-Win).
By offering our clients to drop off their unwanted “new-ish” samples of skincare, makeup, fragrance or travel size hair products (from any brands), we can make our clients feel good about repurposing something they have but don’t need.”
HOW TO SIGN UP
“We are calling this initiative: ‘Salons for ELBH’. We will enrol like-minded salons who will encourage their clients to bring in their unused samples (of any brand) when they come in for an appointment. Once a month, we will collect their samples and take them to ELBH.
Twice a year, we will host a ‘Salons for ELBH’ morning, where we will invite our members to come pack up the care packs with ELBH with a High Tea. It will be so fun, and we will achieve something good. Initially, I am looking for five socially-minded salons in Sydney’s East and then hope to roll it out. We will have a website where the salons will be featured and a logo kit for the salons to use on their socials and communication.”
“The purpose of this program is to get the high-quality samples that our clients don’t need into the hands of people who could really do with some TLC, some indulgence and mainly some dignity. So, the products need to be recent and unopened. Also, they need to be small, as the washbags are not too big. Travel size/sample size tends to be perfect. We will be inviting salons and brands to also donate samples to the salon box. Our goal is taking advantage of our relationships with our clients to turn a wasted resource into something very useful and making our clients feel good with very little effort.”
REPURPOSING OF SALON MATERIALS
“We are also launching a campaign called ‘Stop recycling! Re-use!’. We want to give people ideas where their items can be re-used or even repurposed.
With the demise of Redcycle, it has opened up our eyes to the fact that recycling is complicated, costly and may not be happening like we think it is. Most of our favourite products are packed in glass jars. Glass is an intriguing packaging material as it is beautiful, resilient and easily sterilised. A glass jar base which has been cleaned and sterilised, looks absolutely brand new. Of course, glass can be recycled.
Did you know that the recycling process goes something like this: It needs to be collected, sorted, shipped, smashed, melted, re-shaped, shipped and re-delivered – all at great environmental cost. Instead, we are incentivising our customers to return their glass jar bases for a $5 Credit. We then clean and sterilise the jars, at which point they are gleaming and smooth, just like new. We then re-label them and can reuse them. We are offering the $5 incentive because we want to show our customers that this is important. And we value their efforts too.”
THE PROGRAM ETHOS
“We want to sell products packed in packaging which is useful. Packaging which is attractive but won’t go straight to landfill.”
Here are 6 simple steps to take to ‘green’ your brand:
- Switch to lightweight, fast- drying towels from disposable bedding and facial wipes.
- Switch to good quality, washable facial masks for your staff, instead of using disposables.
- Use a front-loading washing machine with a high star energy rating. (According to Choice, front-loaders use up to 70% less water than top-loaders). And don’t forget to choose laundry liquid with a NP logo on it. (This means it has No Phosphorous)
- Consciously choose printing companies who offer compostable printed materials and adhesive for your marketing items and labels. (And remember to add a compostable/recyclable logo in the corner).
- Stock and use great-quality, environmentally friendly, Australian skincare products. They have a lower carbon footprint as they haven’t had to travel the world to get to you!
- Don’t forget to tell your clients. A little sign detailing steps you are taking, makes you look good and makes them feel good about using you as a salon.
This article originally appeared in the May-June 2023 print issue of Professional Beauty.
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