‘Scisters Salon’ takes eco-friendly strides

From+left+to+right%3A+Melissa+Parker%2C+Katherine+Olenski%2C+Easton+Basjec.

Scisters Salon

From left to right: Melissa Parker, Katherine Olenski, Easton Basjec.

by Eugènie Budnik , Staff Writer

When clients walk into Scisters Salon and Apothecary located on University Avenue in La Mesa, one might notice something unique about this salon. Products in glass and aluminum bottles, hair being collected for recycling, and bamboo combs and brushes adorn the shop. This is because Scisters Salon and Apothecary is San Diego County’s first zero waste salon.

The salon was opened in 2010 by co-owners and founders Melissa Parker and Easton Bajsec after they were paired together in a business class. The project they were assigned to do was to draft a hypothetical business plan. Parker and Bajsec, both interested in opening salons one day, decided to draft a plan for a salon. 

“We did it as if we were realistically going to open a salon, just to get the most out of it. In doing this project, we looked at each other and realized that we could financially make this work. We ended up using that as our actual business plan,” Bajsec said.

Despite their environmentally conscious efforts, Sisters Salon was not initially centered around sustainable beauty. At its start, the salon was much like a traditional salon. However, as Parker and Bajsec started working in the industry, they realized how much plastic waste was being created through their business. 

“We had a real struggle of conscience in selling this major manufacturer’s product. We had like 150 skews of plastic bottles lining our shelves here,” Bajsec said. 

Parker and Bajsec set out to find a manufacturer who would sell them hair care products in bulk, to allow for refillable bottles to be sold directly to consumers in the salon. This proved challenging, as no manufacturer would budge on selling their products in bulk. So, Parker and Bajsec started to experiment with creating their own product.

“We knew we wanted to do refillable items. So we looked for a place where we could find products in bulk so that we could have a sustainable refill program,” Parker said.“In trying to find something that was zero waste, and low toxins, as well as a product that works really well, we could not find anything. We decided we were going to make it ourselves.”

After many months of testing out products on their own hair, Parker and Bajsec finally found products they were proud of and confident in selling to clients. But now, they had to define exactly what zero waste meant in their salon, as well as how they would practice it.

“We define zero waste as doing what you can to not send anything to the landfill. We also try our hardest not to send anything to the recycling center. We are trying to make as circular an economy as possible,” Parker said.

In order to accomplish this goal, Parker and Bajsec carry their products in strictly glass or aluminium containers at the salon. They also send waste items that cannot be reused such as disposable gloves or hair to the company Greencircle, which recycles the material in unique ways. 

“Greencircle takes our hair and repurposes it. Just recently, they used hair to clean up the oil spill which happened off our coast a few weeks ago. It’s a pretty genius idea!” Parker said.

Scisters Salon also strives to make sustainability an accessible, community affair. 

“Our hope is that we can be a resource to our industry, as well as all other industries and even individuals in their sustainability journey. Any effort is applaudable,” Parker said.

Basjec expanded upon the fact that other salons across the country have reached out to their team about implementing more sustainable practices into their own salons.

“Recently, we had a salon in Indiana reach out to us, saying ‘We love what you’re doing! What Products are you using?’ Hopefully, one day there will be a lot of salons doing this,” Bajsec said.

Whether someone is just starting out in their journey of a sustainable lifestyle, or is a pro at living sustainably, everyone is welcome at Scisters Salon and Apothecary. 

“Our tagline has always been ‘Beautiful people. Beautiful community. Beautiful planet.’ “We always strive to live up to that line,” Bajsec said. 

Wanting to book an appointment at  Scisters Salon? Visit their website