Barely five minutes into the interview Birch and Lace owner Sara Jeffery asks if she can tell me about the newly opened hair salon’s waste diversion program. For Jeffery, who is as passionate about the environment as she is about hair styling, it’s a huge piece of what Birch and Lace, the new downtown hair salon, is offering its customers.
“Usually in a salon there is a ton of waste,” she said. “I started doing hair really young, but I am also an environmentalist. I always had those two worlds separate but I wanted them to be combined. The hair industry can be very toxic and I didn’t talk about it in my environmental life because there was no bridge.”
Jeffery began to research and found there were salons using sustainable, eco-conscious methods. One of the lines Birch and Lace carries is John Masters Organics. Jeffery explained that when Masters opened his clean air salon in New York in the mid-1990s it was one of the first of its kind in North America.
“I realized it was possible,” Jeffery said.
One of the primary goals of the salon is waste diversion. Everything, including hair and left over dye, is re-purposed or recycled. Instead of going to the landfill, hair will be swept up and shipped off to be made into hair booms – basically your left over hair will be used to soak up oil spills.
As if that isn’t cool enough, Birch and Lace, who are members of Green Circle Salons, have a bin they’ll scrape left over dye into. Once they have three or four bins full they will call Green Circle Salons to come pick up the waste. From there it will be added to waste from other Green Circle Salons until there is enough for a waste management company to pick it up, where it will be further broken down and re-used as ash for road construction or turned into energy that BC Hydro will use.
“Anything we can recycle in Revelstoke we’re doing that. Everything else we’ll call and Green Circle will do a pick up,” said Jeffery.
In keeping with the eco-conscious theme, much of the furniture in the 1,500-square-foot space is re-purposed. The waiting area is composed of benches made from old pallets, a drafting table acts as the reception desk, and an old ladder displays two of the eco-conscious style lines Jeffery has chosen to sell.
During the interview, Jeffery leads me into a separate area of the space where she says she’ll feature the work of local artists on a six-month rotating basis. So far she has had 20 artists send enquiries to her.
Just a little further down the short hallway, we enter the “colour bar.”
“We formulate the colour right in front of you,” said Jeffery. She offers to let me smell one of the colour mixes. Surprisingly, it smells more like something I want to eat than the usual harsh ammonia smell I am used to.
“We’re a clean air salon, so we avoid ammonia and harsh chemicals,” said Jeffrey. “We have no aerosol products and no services that have pollutants.”
Currently there are three stylists (Jeffrey, Pam Jensen and Alyssa Sanderson). Jeffery says is important for people to know is that the stylists see themselves as a team that works together.
“We want people to feel comfortable seeing all of us,” she said.
Birch and Lace, located at 113 Second Street East, is open Tuesday to Thursday from 10 a.m. Until 8 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m to 6 p.m and Sunday from 12 p.m to 5 p.m. As of November the salon will also be open Mondays.