Young entrepreneurs open environmentally-friendly salon
“Kelsie and I kind of came up with the idea together,” Alli explains. “We were hanging out one day and she was like, ‘What if you opened a salon, and I helped you with the stylist stuff that you don’t understand, and you helped me with the business side?’”
That was four years ago. Today, Georgetown High School graduates and best friends Allie Wilkinson and Kelsie Gibson do indeed work side by side in a salon. But it’s not just any salon. It’s Green Alley Salon and, unlike many salons, it’s environmentally friendly.
Opening a salon wasn’t a plan Alli fell into overnight. After her conversation with Kelsie, Alli made the most of her senior year in Texas State University’s entrepreneurial classes. She conducted extensive salon industry research not only for a grade, but also for her upcoming career. She spent the better part of the year gleaning advice and recommendations from mentors and professionals in the salon business, as well as examining natural products, green practices, and intelligent industry designs.
Meanwhile, Kelsie finished her cosmetology degree and began styling at a premier salon in downtown Austin. She apprenticed with talented color educators, trained alongside notable celebrity stylists, and began to make a name for herself in Austin’s competitive salon industry. Kelsie’s experiences, both good and bad, shaped many aspects of how the salon now operates.
Alli kept their environmentally-friendly design in mind as she selected the salon’s décor. She has had a hand in managing all of the restored facets of the building. She used repurposed furniture, such as an 1860s settee in the waiting area; the beauty bar was once used in the science department of a 1930s schoolhouse. The concrete flooring is not chemically treated, and the salon utilizes LED lighting. The building itself is a repurposed project; it was formerly her dad’s dental practice.
Alli worked with her contractor to transform the space so that each workstation has a reduced carbon footprint. For example, energy-efficient, retractable hair dryers are mounted on the ceiling. “We’re the first with this technology; it’s a patented item,” Alli explains. “Our hair dryers start automatically and glide easily, so that stylists aren’t fighting gravity.” The ergonomic design also helps eliminate physical issues that stylists often develop over time from using a heavy blow dryer.
For the most part, the salon carries product lines that contain fewer chemicals and harsh fragrances than many brands have. Alli and Kelsie are big fans of Kevin.Murphy and DevaCurl. “It’s up to our generation to make that change and to teach our kids how to change our lifestyles to [support the environment],” Kelsie says. She and Alli encourage women to embrace their natural beauty rather than conforming to someone else’s expectations. “The less maintenance, the better!” they believe.
Being green and being successful dovetail for the salon. Since their grand opening two years ago, Green Alley’s stylists have been featured on the runway during New York Fashion Week, and Kelsie’s celebrity client, model and actress Brooklyn Decker, stopped in for a trim. Fellow GHS grad and stylist Emily Hobbs was named Austin Monthly’s Best Color Correction Expert; and most recently, the salon became the first salon recognized by Austin for being a green business leader.
The ambitious young women of Green Alley Salon believe that “beauty doesn’t have to come at a cost to the natural world.” By combining forces to create an environmentally-friendly business, Alli and Kelsie have created careers that not only help others but also help our planet.
For more information or to book an appointment with one of the salon’s seven talented stylists, visit greenalleysalon.com.