Sustainable From The Beginning
When Andi Ka’ton opened Ka’ton Salon in 2014, sustainability was always at the forefront of his business model, but it wasn’t necessarily part of the conversation for the industry around him.
“When I would tell people that my salon was an organic, non-toxic, clean air salon, people would look at me and laugh,” says Ka’ton. “It was hard to make it work and difficult to convince consumers to be eco-conscious.”
Andi, who describes himself as a “hippie at heart,” worked tirelessly to make his vision of an eco-friendly salon come to life. His background in retail opened his eyes to the large amounts of waste in the industry. “Every single salon, every seat, every stylist produces too much waste. From boxing to over-packaging, to product usage,” says Ka’ton. “Being an eco-friendly, eco-minded salon that cares about the health of the hair means we have to stand for that constantly; by making sure our waste is down and the products we use are good for both the customer and environment and by making sure the products we use are the best ones out there.”
In 2018, things started taking a turn. Andi met Tim Howard, Vish’s Chief Innovation Officer, and was in conversations with him about how he could reduce waste within his salon. Vish would allow him to see exactly how much color was being used (and wasted) with each service instead of guessing, giving Andi a chance to hone in on salon waste once and for all.
As with any change, Vish required buy-in from Andi’s staff, which wasn’t all that difficult. For an eco-friendly salon, finding new ways to reduce waste made sense to the team. “After a while, reweighing our bowls became a habit, and now it’s second nature.”
It’s been four years since Ka’ton Salon introduced Vish into their salon, and the results have been positive for Andi, his staff, and clientele.
In 2020, Andi introduced an incentive program to encourage staff to be even more diligent with reweighing and reducing waste. Staff who hit a certain reweigh percentage receive an additional commission, and a monthly bonus is given to the stylist with the lowest waste for the month. The financial incentive was the extra encouragement for staff to embrace Vish fully. “Since we’ve been using Vish, it’s part of our life, part of our routine,” says Andi, “it’s the beating heart of our salon.”
Reinvesting in the Business
Reducing waste is not only good for the planet, but it’s also good for profit. Andi was able to reinvest funds that would have gone toward color back into his employees and the salon. “Reducing waste allowed us to move additional funds into different areas of our business, such as education, marketing, and new equipment,” says Andi.
The cost of education has increased significantly over the past couple of years, so having that financial buffer has allowed Andi to continue offering high-quality education to his staff without making cuts to other areas of the business.
Becoming a Waste Warrior
It’s been nine years since Andi Ka’ton decided to go against the grain and open an eco-friendly salon when eco-friendly salons weren’t the norm. Andi and his staff’s dedication to reducing waste in their salon have paid off in many ways over the years, but in 2023 they have been recognized as Vish’s #1 Waste Warrior.
Each year, Vish reviews metrics from each salon to determine who is using the least color to complete services, tracking waste as a percentage of the service and the dollar amount of product wasted.
Vish celebrates Waste Warriors’ dedication to their craft and commitment to promoting sustainability and waste elimination.
This year, Ka’ton Salon’s average waste cost per service was $0.29, and their overall waste was 7%.
“Being a 2023 North American Waste Warrior means that the mission and vision of Ka’ton Salon as a clean air and sustainability salon that reduces waste going down our drains and in our landfills is being accomplished; while protecting the earth and also… money. A big thank you to Vish who has been there for over 5 years helping us along the way!”
Learn more about our 2023 Waste Warriors.