Eco-friendly beauty salon making waves in Holyoke

  • Chelsea Falcetti, left, and Tiffany Duchesne opened The Plan on Dwight Street in Holyoke in June. STEPHEN FAY PHOTO

  • Tiffany Duchesne, left, and Chelsea Falcetti opened The Plan on Dwight Street in June. STEPHEN FAY PHOTO

For the Gazette
Published: 10/13/2019 11:58:39 PM

HOLYOKE — Movie house audiences were astonished by “The Boy with Green Hair,” a 1948 cinematic parable about tolerance. Imagine that: green hair!

Fast forward to 2019 and green hair (also violet, cranberry and a dozen other hues) is a common sight. Less common, however, is the green beauty salon.

But being green, environmentally conscious and ecologically proactive was the goal from the get-go when Tiffany Duchesne and Chelsea Falcetti opened their salon at the end of June. These commitments were always part of The Plan — the name of their enterprise located in the former Wauregan paper mill on the canal at 420-B Dwight St.

The idea is to cut waste as well as hair. Duchesne observed that the beauty industry creates an enormous amount of waste every day, discarding heavy plastic product bottles, foil, color material and packaging. In their years in the industry — 20 for Duchesne, 10 for Falcetti — they became increasingly aware of the amount of waste their line of work was sending to landfills and waterways. By recycling and conserving, Falcetti said, their industry can “make beauty beautiful.”

They use plant-based products and have fitted their hair washing stands with “eco-heads” that use 70 percent less water than conventional heads. Customers can bring their shampoo bottles in for refills at a discount. They intend to add manicures and pedicures to their services once safe workarounds are developed to eliminate the use of acrylics and ultra-violet light.

The Plan even recycles hair, which can be woven with other fabrics to create totes and bags. Duchesne and Falcetti said human hair can even be woven into booms to help clean up oil spills. A UMass instructor was so impressed by their approach that he invited Duchesne and Falcetti to speak to his sustainable entrepreneurship class as the Isenberg School of Management.

Of course, as Kermit the Frog observed, “It’s not easy being green.” Falcetti said they spend at least two hours every week bagging recyclables and filling out shipping inventories. Staff training is another part of the investment. But they’re not complaining. Both are mothers; they’re aware of their obligation to future generations.

“I’m proud of it,” Duchesne said. “It’s a little hassle but it’s so worth it. We are making a difference. We couldn’t say that before.”

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