At HSA we know the best salons to work in are where the boss and staff are able to work together. That’s why we created the Ethical Salons initiative, to celebrate and recognise those owners who are doing right by their staff, and to give them support where they need it.

So what does it take to become an Ethical Salon, and is it worth it? Our HSA ambassador Vanessa Watt owns a salon in Kingaroy, QLD, and to her it’s a no-brainer. “I’m an ethical salon because I respect my staff,” she says. “Their pay is up to date with anything changing. I always make sure I’m in the know, even with super and stuff like that.”

Respect is not just about the correct pay – it’s following employment legislation, too. “The girls are always having their breaks, always knowing their roster, and if they need to stay back, I’m asking them,” Vanessa says. She also does her best to give notice for changes to the roster. “They always know if the salon will be closed or an event is coming up, they know a few weeks or a month in advance.”

Training is also super important at Infiniti Hair. Vanessa makes sure her staff get a minimum of 2-3 hours of training a week. “They get set incentives,” She says. “If they have certain training they would like to go to, the salon pays for it.” She finds not only does it keep her staff up to date with the latest products and techniques, but it means they’re improving their hair styling skills all the time.

Health and safety is something that a lot of salons ignore, but to Vanessa, it’s a priority. “We do an induction when they start and go through all the workplace health and safety procedures.” She also teaches her apprentices back and wrist exercises for before and after blow-drying. “We’re planning to do a yoga session as a work bonding activity!”

Ethical to Vanessa doesn’t just mean treating her staff well, and she’s proudly environmentally friendly. “We’re very big on the environment because we are a small town in drought,” she says. “We take precautions in the salon for recycling and not using excess water.” Infiniti Hair has also done a number of charity events, like the World’s Greatest Shave.

Becoming an Ethical Salon means you also receive legal and industrial advice from our expert team – something Vanessa finds super helpful. She had a staff issue last year that she struggled to cope with, and HSA was able to mediate those discussions and come up with a resolution.

Because we represent both the worker and the employer at HSA in mediation, we’re totally impartial and try our hardest to get the best outcome for everybody. This sets us apart from other groups that only look after the employer, and we’re able to provide ongoing support and advice.

HSA helped Vanessa find that balance between being a friend and a boss. “The salon is a family environment and the girls feel like they can talk to me,” Vanessa says. “If they come to me and there was an issue, I would try to sort it out. If it got to the point where it was above me, then I would be seeking HSA for advice.”

Our mission at HSA is to change the industry, and we can’t do that without working with salon owners committed to doing the right thing. Vanessa’s experience as an apprentice motivated her to be the best owner she could, and she hopes Ethical Salons will inspire others to do the same.

If you want to become an Ethical Salon, fill in our application form and we’ll be in touch! As well as our expert advice, Ethical Salons can also use our Jobs board to look for work, and we’ll always be happy to give you a shout out on social media, too. It’s time to shake up hair and beauty – together.