Sustainability is clearly something that’s very close to Rachael Kennedy’s heart…
“I guess I’ve always been what you would call a conscious consumer”, says Rachael, who opened Gronn eco-salon in Bury in March 2016. “I’ve always detested plastic bags, all of my skin care products at home are plastic-free, vegan, and sustainable. My toothbrush is made of bamboo, there’s no plastic anywhere in the house”.
Rachael started her career in hairdressing at the age of 17 in Bury, and has worked all over Greater Manchester in the hair and beauty industry for the last 26 years. When she decided to take the leap and open her own salon, it felt right to return to Bury. “I wanted to run a salon in the kindest way I could, for the planet, for animals, for everyone. It came from my core values really; it’s just an extension of that”.
“Everything in the salon has to be vegan – that was the first rule for me. We started with one brand of haircare products that was vegan, organic, and Fairtrade, but the distributor in the UK was wrapping all of the deliveries in plastic, and it felt really needless, so we ditched them. We now work with O-Way (which stands for Organic-Way).
It’s clear speaking to Rachael that a huge amount of research and care has gone into making sure that every aspect of the operation of the salon is low carbon, plastic-free, and is genuinely kind to animals and people.Their products are bio-dynamically farmed in Italy”. The products used at Gronn are vegan, Fairtrade, and the ingredients are farmed using zero pesticides.
The products contain no chemicals, and are free of parabens and sulphates. All of the products come in glass bottles, that are easily recycled, and the manufacturer is even changing the dispensing spouts from plastic to aluminium, which is far easier to recycle. All of their product deliveries now come packed with nothing but a small amount of cardboard.
But the salon doesn’t just work with planet-friendly plastic-free products. They’ve chosen an ethical electricity supplier, Ecotricity, which means 100% of their electricity comes from wind farms. Their hair washing sinks are fitted with showerheads designed to reduce water use. All of the cleaning products are planet-friendly, low chemical, and are refilled from large bottles, further reducing packaging.
The salon is also keen to care for its local community. Gronn hosts a huge range of workshops from eco-chic clothing swaps, to plastic-free Christmas wreath making, Fairtrade pop-up markets, and even a menopause vegan HRT cake and tea afternoon. Rachael works by herself at the salon, and wanted to support other women entrepreneurs in the area, so she also hosts PositiviTEA, a monthly social and support morning for female entrepreneurs.
Looking at every detail
“Everything I do, I try and do in the most mindful and sustainable way possible”. And that extends to even the smallest detail. “When I found out that teabags were full of plastic, I was shocked. We’ve now switched to only serving organic loose leaf tea”. Small items like hairdressing clips and combs are made from metal, which last far longer than the plastic versions, and can also be recycled at the end of their life. A lot of plastic hair accessories are poor quality, and also made of types of plastic that cannot be easily recycled.
Gronn salon in Bury is taking a genuinely holistic approach. A low carbon, planet friendly business, in an industry that is usually known for high energy use, high chemical use, and huge amounts of single-use plastic packaging. It’s fab to see an independent business in Greater Manchester demonstrating what’s possible, and we hope other hair and beauty businesses in the city-region are paying attention.
Plastic Free GM
Greater Manchester has launched the first city-region wide plan to drive down avoidable single-use plastics!
PlasticFreeGM asks businesses, organisations and individuals to pledge to take action to reduce avoidable single use plastics across Greater Manchester. PlasticFreeGM works with campaigning partners to provide information and advice to guide more sustainable choices. A number of sector specific campaigns are taking off to offer relevant support and information on reducing single use plastics.Read more