Eco Interviews: Heather, Masters of Craft Hair

9th September 2020

Sustainability has always been at the heart of The Beauty Assembly. We want to share our passion for the planet with our clients and help other salons improve their sustainability status, so we’re starting a blog series called the Eco Interviews where we’re interviewing other local businesses with the same ethos as us when it comes to ethics. 

To kick off our exciting new series we’ve interviewed Heather Baker, joint owner of Masters of Craft, an independent hair salon on the edge of the Leeds City Centre. Masters of Craft is in a 2020 Finalist of the Salon Business Awards’ ‘Green Salon of the Year’. We asked Heather why it was so important for her salon to be an ethical business in Leeds, what their sustainable practises are and how difficult it was to become ethical in the beauty industry.

What made you want to focus on becoming a more eco-friendly salon?

It was always our dream to be pushing the boundaries with sustainability. We we’re talking about it 10 years ago when myself and Chloe, my business partner, first wanted to set up a salon. The vision was always the same, it’s not come from what’s trending. I’ve always had a really strong connection to nature and for me, to be eco was the only way. It takes a lot of time and dedication to work in this way but we have to follow our hearts and looking after the planet has always had the top spot! Being eco friendly becomes a lifestyle and our passion for that has always driven us forward. 

What would you say are the main steps you’ve taken to achieve a more ethical business?

Having a business with ethical values is a constant evolution. It starts small, with whatever you can, and builds in momentum as you grow. We are a Davines concept salon which means we only stock their products and colour. They are a Carbon Neutral, cruelty free B Corp company and are constantly evolving their products to be more natural, and kinder to the earth. It’s great to have such a strong relationship with them as they are perfectly aligned with our brand. 

There’s a lot of attention that went into our salon design. We relocated at the end of last year and all of the upcycled furniture from the old salon came with us. Nearly everything in the space is preloved and pretty much everything that isn’t is made from natural materials. The salon has a very welcoming feel. It’s really bright and open with loads of natural light. Everything is very client and wellbeing focused and as nothing is fixed, we can move things around as we feel we need to. You won’t find any standard salon fittings in there. This is great for clients to feel at home as they have their own unique station to sit at. We wanted to make it a warm and upbeat but really calming experience. We’ve had our years of working in frantic salons. We very much wanted to create something more positively impactful than just a great haircut. If we can help our clients to leave feeling lighter than they arrived then we’ve done our job. Mental well being is more important than ever!

We try to partner and align ourselves with as many ethical companies as possible. Ethical bank account, Carbon Neutral Card payment system, Renewable energy company. Other things we focus on are:

-Product refills

-No single use plastic

-Biodegradable colour capes and bin liners

-Low energy lighting with sensors

-Eco cleaning products

We’re always looking to educate people through our social media and in the salon to spread the message further. Our passion for the environment ripples out. All the team are on board with that which really helps with our brand message.

On Earth Day during the pandemic, we added 40 new trees to our ‘MOC Forest’ which are being planted in Slovakia as part of a Rewilding project. It’s good to know we are contributing towards creating more biodiverse habitats and it’s a winner to be able to offset our Carbon Footprint too! 

Is it easy to be eco-friendly in the beauty industry?

I’d say it’s getting much easier as awareness increases and the quality of products improve. You have to really believe in what you’re working with to be able to perfect the service for your client and recommend aftercare that will give exceptional results. 

Working with a strong eco conscience means you have to do a lot of research and your values have to be taken into account with every decision you make. None of this reaps financial rewards and of course it’s a huge commitment, but what is better than the feel good factor of knowing that you’re doing you’re trying your absolute hardest to do the right thing. 

Has being located in Leeds helped you at all?

Leeds is a great city for a growing eco community. People are really picking up on the eco/sustainability vibe and making steps to live more consciously. Being central helps, but we find clients will travel the extra distance for a more niche experience. 

What’s your best tip for anyone wanting to be more eco-conscious? 

Ask yourself this. How much headspace do you have for change? If it’s not much, make a decision to change one little thing right now. What would it be? How hard would it be to do that? What have you got to lose? It’s easy to overthink it and before you know it you’re so overwhelmed you give up. Nothing happens over night so don’t beat yourself up for not doing it all at once. Those small changes can really make a difference to your outlook. You can pretty much guarantee that changing that one thing will switch your focus enough to notice what other eco options there are all around you. 

Another way of taking the pressure off is to ask the advice of professionals. Our clients love that they can come into the salon or catch us on social for hints and tips of how to live more sustainably. It means the information they get is distilled into easy absorbable chunks. Plus they love that they come feeling they’ve done their bit without having to think about it too much. We’re always like ‘Let us do the hard work, you just enjoy the moment and know that you leave not only feeling great on the outside but also on the inside for supporting an independent sustainable business. Let that be the cherry on the cake!

We are incredibly proud to be a part of a City Centre filled with independent businesses which focus so much on sustainability, and we’re so grateful for Heather for answering our questions with so much detail. Keep a look out for our next Eco Interviews post!