The following 'success story' was submitted to OrilliaMatters by the Orillia Area Community Development Corporation.
“Sustainability isn’t a buzz word or the latest trend – it’s a way of life. The way I live my life and the way I run my business.”
Allison Abbott, owner of The Dragonfly Room, didn’t always have a choice in the products she used at work or the way in which they were disposed of.
Abbott's career as a Red Seal Certified Hairstylist spans 23 years and, during that time, she worked for many salons. She wanted to make her voice and her values heard so, in 2010, she started her own salon where she could make her own decisions.
Abbott rented space inside a salon and three-and-a-half years later had grown so much that she had to bring in another stylist to help her manage her client base.
She and her team moved to their current location at 32 Matchedash St. N., Suite 101 in Orillia, a boutique salon a stone’s throw from Lake Couchiching, in 2013.
Within a year, Abbott was presented with another opportunity. A local salon owner retired, giving her the opportunity to be the exclusive salon to provide Aveda products.
“We were already using Aveda’s colour line, but when the opportunity arose to be a full Aveda salon, we wanted to jump on it.”
Abbott had always been inspired by Aveda’s mission of environmental sustainability. From Aveda’s responsible manufacturing and packaging to their commitment to using organic ingredients, becoming one of only 83 Aveda concept salons in Canada would meet her values for sustainability and boost her client base.
Upgrading to the Aveda product line would be a substantial investment.
For the past eight years, Abbott had bootstrapped her way, simplifying her life and taking small, calculated steps forward.
“I was at a pivotal point in my business - I was going from a debt-free business to being in debt. This was a big step for me.”
Along the way, she had attended many of the Orillia Area CDC’s seminars including improving accounting skills and making the most of social media and knew that they were a valuable resource.
“They helped me go through my financial statements to see if the upgrade would work and how, if it didn’t work, we could sell the inventory for cost. The Orillia Area CDC analyzed the risk of the investment, giving it a more positive perspective, which made it a lot easier for me to make my decision," she explained.
In addition to the Aveda upgrade, Abbott has made minor renovations, invested in more sustainable lighting, and brought in new stations and chairs, all resulting in a healthy increase in revenue.
The Dragonfly Room has also partnered with Green Circle Salons, an innovative recycling program that significantly reduces its environmental impact on the planet. The program helps them redirect waste, keeping it out of water streams and landfills.
“The Orillia Area CDC has helped us move along in our journey to becoming a sustainable salon. This diverse group of people offered their support, connections and expertise all with a common goal of honouring my values and bringing my business forward," she said.
For more information about The Dragonfly Room visit www.thedragonflyroom.ca or call 705-326-1028.