Apr 18, 2012

The Doves Studio

Sonya and Christopher Dove, collectively known as The Doves, are two of the most celebrated hairstylists working today, having won several of the industry’s most prestigious awards and been featured in hair and fashion magazines worldwide, including Vogue, American Salon and Estetica. Originally from Great Britain, The Doves are known for their cutting-edge designs and their polished aesthetic, along with their ability to teach and inspire stylists who fly in from around the world to take their classes. The Doves opened their own 2,300-square-foot hair salon in Santa Monica, CA, a few years ago and decided to take a “green” approach to the design and practices of the salon. We asked these new members of the Oribe network (the salon will start carrying products this month) to talk to us about how and why they stay eco-chic.

How would you describe the overall design of your salon?

We wanted clean and simple lines that were enhanced by texture to give an inviting feeling. The salon feels welcoming and warm while still being modern. There are high ceilings and clean lines, but we have managed to soften it with the use of engaging colors and different surfaces.

What is your favorite element of the salon?

The Color Bar. When we spoke with our architect, we explained that we wanted to make the color bar the focus of the salon and showcase the color in an interactive way. We feel that hair color truly is an art, and wanted our clients see what goes into making their color formulas.

We also have a custom-made panel from Hungary behind our reception desk that is truly unique. Fiber optics are built into the concrete, and as the ambient light gets darker, the panel lights from within and glows through the cracks in the concrete. It looks amazing through the glass window front at night.

Why did you decide to make your salon eco-friendly?

We didn’t set off to make the salon eco-friendly; it really happened once we found the perfect location in Santa Monica. Santa Monica is a very environmentally conscious city, and good portions of the building codes require eco-friendly measures. We spoke with other business owners in the area and we got really excited about all the “green” things we could do and decided to build them into the salon’s culture.

How did you know where to start?

We ended up joining the Sustainable Works Program and having their people come in and speak with our architect and us regarding the measures to take to “go green.”

Tell us about the environmentally conscious aspects of your salon’s design.

We wanted to keep the design of the salon modern and open, not only did we feel that it created a light and inviting atmosphere, but it has also helped with heating and cooling. Having a more open design lets the air flow between sections of the salon without needing multiple heating and cooling zones. We chose light fixtures that use energy saving bulbs for the entire salon. We have areas of the salon that accommodate multiple bins so that we can separate waste and recyclables.

What are some of your most unique eco-friendly initiatives?

We save the foil from color tubes and color foils in large balls in order to for them to be recycled for use in aluminum cans or other manufacturing processes. We have also “adopted” a section of the beach in conjunction with Heal the Bay. A few times a year, we participate in their “adopt-a-beach” program and clean the trash off of a designated section of beach. We also try to use eco-friendly toilet paper and paper towels whenever we can.

What tips do you have for other high-end salons who are looking to be more “green”?

Honestly, it’s easier than you think. Check your local community for eco-friendly programs and partner with them. Simple things like washing the towels and capes on a “quick wash” setting help conserve water.

How did you successfully mix being “green” with being a high-end salon that caters to a discerning clientele?

We were successful in our endeavor because we made it a team culture. We encouraged the team to participate in events and bring suggestions to us with things they thought would be beneficial to the salon. The things we did to be greener were very subtle—eco-friendly or recycled toilet paper and paper towels, energy saving lights, eco-friendly detergents—so there wasn’t anything that detracted from the salon experience.
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