Posted on August 19, 2015
Every month, Jenni Bailey, Natalie Palmer and Alissa Vallee pool together 10 percent of the profits they’ve made on services, and they donate that sum to a charity or cause of their choosing. The three young, energetic and passionate stylists at Sola Salons Carlsbad near San Diego are making a big impact in a relatively small space.
It all started with Jenni. A mission trip to Kenya in 2014 changed her outlook and priorities; when she returned to the U.S., Jenni quit her gig directing a million-dollar salon in search of a career in the industry that was not only fun and exciting, but meaningful, too.
Jenni says she, “left the salon with no plan, no client information, but a ton of faith.” Essentially, she’d decided to “head for change” — and that happened to be a fitting name for a business that flawlessly melds beauty and philanthropy.
By December 2014, Jenni had signed on with Sola Salon Studios and officially founded Head for Change; two months later, two friends – Alissa, a former schoolmate, and Natalie, a colleague at Jenni’s previous digs – joined her when a double suite became available.
“We felt like the beauty industry has the potential to be vain,” Alissa explains. She doesn’t mean that in a negative way, but she says, “We wanted to feel like we were giving something back.”
The process is fairly simple: Alissa, Natalie and Jenni spend most of the month doing the typical hairstylist routine: cutting, coloring and catering to clients in a shared studio. At the end of every month, they convene to decide where 10 percent of their profits will go.
Last month, the young philanthropists supported The Archibald Project, a nonprofit organization working with orphans worldwide. Sound Coffee Collective also received some cash for their work of building transparency in the coffee chain.
Beneficiaries aren’t always so formally organized, though; the trio has also lent a helping hand to local families in need. Two months ago, the 10 percent went to a mother who needed a prosthetic limb, and before that, funds helped adoptive parents bring home a son with severe medical problems.
“We see a need, and we fill it,” says Alissa, adding, “A lot of times our clients hear about what we are doing and give suggestions.”
Jenni’s latest endeavor involves opening a hair school in Kjabe, Kenya for women involved in prostitution. The desire, she says, is to provide a place for them to know their self-worth and beauty, and to be safe, learn a skill and start a new life.
On her most recent trip to Africa, Jenni brought back handmade key chains and bracelets from a woman caring for about a dozen children without parents, and all three Head for Change owners now sell the trinkets on their shelves, with 100 percent of those proceeds going back to the jewelry maker.
Head for Change doesn’t formally track the donations it makes, but Alissa says the monthly donation average has been upwards of $1,000 dollars. “It’s not a lot,” says Alissa, “but it makes a difference.”