Artist Spotlight: Salonvironment Founder Hannah Craik
Hannah travels to local salons to offer environmental consulting and helps collect recyclable salon materials like foil, plastic bottles and hot tools.
Marlo Beauty: How did you get started in the beauty industry?
Hannah: I always wanted to support people in any way I could. Initially, I wanted to focus on teens who needed extra support, but I was never one for school structure. Instead, I got into cosmetology right after high school and loved that I could be creative as well as care for the community!
Marlo Beauty: Where did your passion for the environment come from and how did that evolve into being an advocate for clean beauty and salon recycling?
Hannah: Before moving to Michigan at age 10, we lived on the west coast! I grew up loving hiking and dabbling in nature photography. Forests are my happy place.
The health of people and the planet are one in the same. To say they’re not would be like going to the gym to stay in shape but only eating McDonalds! So if I want to give people the best hair service, I have to be mindful of the impact of that service as well.
Marlo Beauty: Tell us about Salonvironment. When did the idea come about?
Hannah: I was so inspired by organizations such as Green Circle Salons that I started personally recycling in the salon I was working for in 2019. I started thinking: “How can I save money behind the chair with environmental practices?”
Fast forward to the summer of 2020 - I was going back to work at the salon, but it was also around the same time that the wildfires on the west coast were ramping up (wildfires happen quite often in the summer and have become more devastating each year). I was so emotional seeing the places I love the most burn and being powerless to do anything about it. That was when I decided that this was going to be how I support the beauty industry and the environment.
Not long after, I stepped away from working behind the chair so I could provide what other beauty professionals don’t have time for - the tools, resources and research needed to reach their sustainability goals.
Hannah says she stepped away from being behind the chair full time to focus on helping salon pros find the “tools, resources and research needed to reach their sustainability goals.”
Hannah: Every salon, beauty professional, client and location is different. There’s not necessarily a “one size fits all” solution - some want to learn about how they can reduce their waste, others want to know how to lower their utility bills or what to look for when shopping for new beauty products.
Marlo Beauty: What are the other services Salonvironment provides?
Hannah: We have three tiers of Consulting Subscriptions which involve either providing the tools you need to recycle on your own, providing recycling to salons that meet the criteria or setting them up with Green Circle Salons. All of these include monthly meetings to keep you on track, personalized recycling signs and more.
We also offer recycling pop-ups for communities that don’t have the option to recycle and workshops, classes and in-person training based on what others want to learn.
Salonvironment's first recycling pop-up at Walking Lightly Zero Waste Shop in Ferndale, MI.
Hannah: You can start by heading to our website and Instagram! I also love brainstorming and chatting with others! I think communicating is such an important part of this mission because the more the idea grows and the more people who get involved, the stronger the impact on the beauty industry and the planet.
Marlo Beauty: What are your top three tips for making a salon more environmentally friendly?
1. Check out your salon building’s infrastructure. Plumbing, electrical, etc. Any leaks or outdated parts can waste energy (and money!)
2. Recycle! You will become more aware of product waste when you start recycling. And remember, recyclable materials usually have to be either emptied, cleaned or both. You can’t recycle something if it’s full of product!
3. Use environmentally-conscious products. Find out what the haircare companies you use are doing to help the environment - big or small. Are they using more natural ingredients? Do they test on animals? Do they make efforts to shy away from using plastic?
Hannah recommends doing your research to find environmentally-conscious haircare companies and supporting them through your salon.
Hannah: EVERYTHING! The creativity, innovation, the people, you name it.
Marlo Beauty: What is a quote or mantra you live by?
Hannah: “We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.” - Anne Marie Bonneau
Marlo Beauty: Is there anything else you want to add?
Hannah: I am not a perfect environmentalist. I’ll buy a Dunkin' coffee via drive thru and be given a new cup instead of bringing a reusable one. I’ve recycled items wrong before. I sometimes take long, hot showers. What I’m trying to say is that you don’t need to be perfect in sustainability in order to make a difference in the world. Every little thing helps