This week we chat to Paul Frasca, co-founder and managing director of Sustainable Salons.
Paul Frasca started his hairdressing career at the age of 11 and owned a salon at age 19. Winning a prestigious hairdressing award took him to Europe where he styled an elite clientele for the next decade before making his way to Australia. His passion for sustainability started when he lived in Amsterdam where he met his partner Ewelina Soroko, a passionate environmentalist. Their research in salon waste revealed that hairdressers send one million kilos of aluminium foils to landfill every year. It was the catalyst to start Refoil which was only just beginning of making salon waste history.
In 2015 the pair started an innovative resource recovery programme called Sustainable Salons. Designed especially for the salon environment, multi-award winning Sustainable Salons collects up to 95% of the salon’s waste bin and re-purposes it for environmental and community benefit, while rewarding the salon. He also volunteers as a board director for The Australian Hairdressing Council where he is responsible for improving the industry’s environmental practices.
What does your typical day look like in a nutshell?
I wake up at around 5:30-6am and usually do some sort of fitness to start the day. I then like to arrive at the office early at 7am and start with research & brainstorming to get my brain moving. From 9am, I’m dealing with the usual meetings & emails, focusing on the day-to-day operations of Sustainable Salons. At around midday, I make lunch for the team, usually a salad or something else healthy. The team always sits together to eat lunch and take a break from the desk, before we get back to work for the day.
Who has been your biggest inspiration throughout your career?
My first inspiration would have to be one of the first hairdressers I worked for when I did my apprenticeship, David Mathers. He helped shake me up and taught me discipline. I then started to become inspired by what was happening in the tech world and how people were starting to solve problems for industries. People like Elon Musk, who has revolutionised electric cars, not because he wanted to create cars but because he wanted to solve the energy problem through cars, inspire me.
What do you do to avoid burnout?
The art to not burning out is clearing your mind. One of the ways I clear my mind is through sports, especially surfing. When a big wave is coming towards me, I stop thinking about everything else and at that moment my mind is clear. I look at sleeping the same way. When I switch off for the night, my mind becomes clear.
When did you develop your passion for the environment?
My passion for the environment started very young. I grew up on a very organic way of living on a farm, and have always really cared about the environment and animals. This passion grew deeper when I met my partner Ewelina. She opened up my whole world to understanding the importance of sustainability. The pillars of sustainability; People, Planet & Progress have become my philosophy of life.
How did you come up with the concept for Sustainable Salons?
The concept came while Ewelina and I were writing a fantasy business plan for something we wanted to wake up to everyday. Sustainable Salons became the result of that project, a business we love waking up to every morning.
Your biggest achievement to date?
Our biggest achievement to date was actually getting Sustainable Salons off the ground. We wrote the business plan 14 years ago, and worked for 9 years to achieve it until Sustainable Salons finally began in 2015.
Where do you see yourself and the business in five years?
If I had it my way, we’d be on the moon! I definitely see the Sustainable Salons programme in a lot more small businesses, continuing to make an impact in both Australia and New Zealand. There’s always the potential for us to expand to other continents around the world, spreading the Sustainable Salons message. Stay tuned to find out…
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