Amanda Berry and Charlotte Archer on cutting bad ties for good reasons.
Amanda and Charlotte have both been qualified hairdressers for years, though with their trade came the bags of foil and bottles of chemicals that were being discarded with no care for the environment whatsoever. With a mentality to “either get out of the hairdressing industry or change it”, they decided to do the latter, and we are extremely grateful that they did.
What made you start Bob?
Bob is the creation of Charlotte & Amanda, born off the back of being frustrated with an industry that remains predominantly unaccountable for the waste it produces. We found the way we lived in our personal lives was contradicted by working in an environment where no f!*k’s were given for all of the chemicals and foil being thrown into landfill and down our drains. We wanted to either get out of the hairdressing industry or change it.
Tell us more about the meaning behind the name Bob.
I wish we had a more poetic answer to this question! Bob came about after the realisation that our original name felt off-brand & just not us!! Bob is strong and simple, The Bob is the most classic haircut – always being re-invented and made new, but a classic at its core. We wanted to create a space that felt comfortable, unpretentious and warm. I think Bob encapsulates that.
What is something others wouldn’t know about starting a sustainable salon that you think they should?
It’s not difficult to be sustainable! Sustainable Salons Australia has made recycling 95% of salon waste as simple as putting foil, hair and other waste into the correct bins – we’ve taken it a step further with composting food scraps but ultimately, as long as everyone is on board, there’s no excuse to be creating unnecessary waste.
What has been the most challenging thing you have uncovered since the beginning?
Big companies hiding behind clever marketing, trying to convince us to stock their brands (often very convincingly). We are constantly researching and updating the products we stock as well as our practices to be as clean and green as possible.
Within the ethical fashion community, there’s a big question that we ask which is ‘who made my clothes?’. In the scope of Bob, can you tell us a bit about the products in your salon, and how you decide which ones to stock?
We have curated a selection of products that sit under our anti-crap ethos. It is important to us to only have brands on board that have little to no crap in them, but that also run their business in an ethical and sustainable manner, as well as providing great education so that Bob staff are armed with knowledge to embrace our anti-crap philosophy.
Best piece of advice you have ever received?
“Walk to the beat of your own drum.” This keeps us focused on our true values and not worry about what anyone else is doing.
One tip you’d give to others who are wanting to start their own business?
Stay true to your values at any cost! It can be tough at times but sticking to your guns makes every success feel authentic and worthwhile.
Where do you envision Bob in the future?
Our immediate goal is to build Bob into a successful and respected sustainable business. Being less than a year in, our focus is on being the movers and shakers of the hairdressing industry – demonstrating to other salons that it is not only possible to have sustainable and ethical practices but that it’s imperative that we do.
Do you have a morning routine? If so, what is it you do to set yourself up for the day ahead?
We both have young children and it is all go in the mornings to get everyone out the door. However, when we walk through the Bob door we make a point of connecting with one another over a coffee. Being co-owners means there is a constant need to stay connected and nurture our relationship, much like a marriage! So in the morning you’ll always find us huddled around the coffee machine checking in with one another and setting up for our day ahead.
One book everyone should read? Why?
Slow by Brooke McAlary. We both read this over summer and found it to be a timely reminder to keep life simple and find pleasure in the little things. Her message is simply that possessions do not equate to happiness, which is so important in the age of instant gratification and constant marketing.
Are there any other Movers & Shakers our there in your world that you think people should know about?
Stacey Burt, Founder of The Little Company, Cremorne; Stace has a fresh approach to the world of skincare & The Little Company thrives on the philosophy that natural, simple skincare and sustainable beauty is the key to great skin. Her super-cool warehouse space is always humming and her staff are full of knowledge without making you feel like you need a million different products. We love everything about that place!