If you’ve ever come across the softly spoken Maria Faulder, you’ll be familiar with her unwavering determination to raise the bar. As owner of Suite Three Hair in Buderim on Queensland’s Sunshine coast, Maria fosters a small team of dedicated stylists, all strongly committed to improving their local community, driving sustainability and creating a superior salon experience.
“Isn’t sustainability really just about giving a gift?” questions Maria. “A gift to our team, to the environment, to the needy… is ‘giving’ not an alternative word to sustainability?”
And with that sentiment, it’s not hard to see where Maria’s salon culture is focused. Over the past nine years, the team has become a local community champion – for various charities such as the Cindy McKenzie Breast Cancer Foundation and Wishlist, the team has raised more than $15,000, and last year Suite Three sponsored one of their clients to embark on a walking challenge across the Great Wall of China for Steps Towards a Cure. In just a few weeks time, Maria’s ambitious apprentice Miranda Crosby is leading the charge in a Shave for a Cure event for Team Adem, a local Leukaemia and Blood Collection Charity (all hair shaved will be coming to Sustainable Salons for ponytail donations or hair boom contributions).
But wait… there’s more. “Orange Sky Laundry haircuts are scheduled for March 14 onwards,” says Maria. “We will be cutting hair at the laundry van – in silence, without words, no questions asked – for the homeless.
And the salon’s vision doesn’t end there. Sustainability has been on Maria’s agenda for quite some time, and when she joined the Sustainable Salons Australia movement earlier this year, it was the cherry on top for her clients and her business.
“Sustainability to the team means that we are giving the ultimate value add-on service to our clients,” explains Maria. “By following the Sustainable Salons practices we are highlighting ourselves as a new wave of responsible hairdressers who ‘ give a crop’!
“For our clients, in order of ‘wowsers!’ they’re very impressed that we can repurpose all of our plastics into park benches and tubing for the NBN cable. They LOVE that unused product doesn’t go into the waterways and that its collected and deconstructed for use on maintaining highways. But most of all, knowing that their hair is being made into booms to absorb oil spills in the waters around The Great Barrier Reef just blows them away. Every time we tell that story, everybody gets goosebumps!
“But ultimately, there is seriously nothing more special for a client – and the team – when they are able to donate their ponytails for kids suffering from cancer.”
Maria doesn’t do things by halves, and when it comes to building her salon brand, sustainability is not mutually exclusive to business success.
“The word sustainability totally encompasses a complete concept that not only applies to taking better care of the environment – it applies to financial growth and a wider reach for attracting new clients…
this thing is like a Mexican wave!”
In August 2016, Maria won the Small Business Woman of the Year in the Sunshine Coast’s Business Women’s Network Awards. Immediately, that accolade translated into a 15% growth, and then with that momentum building through a wider audience thanks to the media coverage, when Suite Three joined Sustainable Salons Australia in January this year, the growth continued to a staggering 30%!
“We are a VERY well oiled machine!” Maria says proudly. “The team is made up of very dedicated, talented people, all committed to achieving big growth and being the best hairdressers they can be. Currently, Miranda is a finalist in the Sunshine Coast Inspiring Women’s Awards.”
Maria says one of her seniors, Brooke Blair, is the salon’s most dedicated green warrior: “I even caught her trying to empty used coffee out of the pod once!”
It’s clear that the Suite Three team has its collective sights set on a building a more sustainable future not only for the salon industry, but also for their local community and the next generation.
“I’m proud every day when I hear my team share their excitement about what we are all doing together. Attending The S Event and celebrating this whole movement is certainly up there with our best sustainability moments so far.
“I love that SSA is unifying the industry even more!”
Sustainable Salons Australia provides the most comprehensive waste free systems to the professional hairdressing industry. We collect and recycle 95% of a salon’s waste and reward the salon for their recycling efforts!
Contact us here if you’d like to become a member of Sustainable Salons Australia.