La Bella Hair Studio on Patterson Avenue has a simple, yet powerful motto- “Live, Look, Feel Beautiful.” While that was originally crafted to give their customers a better salon experience, it has recently shifted to making the world around them a little better. As of January of this year, La Bella has gone totally cruelty-free thanks to the passion and persistence of the entire team. Nancy Young, La Bella’s executive stylist, says that going cruelty free was really a natural progression for La Bella, “When the company starting growing, we saw that that vision needed to grow as well,” and she goes on to add that, “As that vision expanded, it started to include ‘let’s make the world around us better too.”
Erin Rose, La Bella’s manager and owner of Penelope the cute shop-dog, said it was an arduous process at times in shifting their products and practices to fulfill their cruelty-free goal, “We did a lot of experimenting so that we didn’t compromise the quality of what we’re using.” She goes on to say that a lot of the research they put in to switching ended up directing them to smaller lines with similar ideals. Although there was a lot of work on the back end for the team, Rose didn’t mind, “We had to research diligently, but it was worth the effort.”
In the process of taking care of the planet and animals while still making people feel great about themselves, La Bella became a Green Circle Certified Salon. Green Circle’s mission is to, “… recover and re-purpose beauty waste ensuring that we can help keep people and the planet beautiful.” From your first La Bella experience you can see how they reached this milestone. Discounts are given to customers who bring in their recyclable hair care products, they’re producing minimal waste, and recycling thousands of pounds in a year. They’re also expecting some developments in the future from Virginia Tech as it comes to hair being recycled into actual recycle bins.
When asked exactly what’s next for La Bella, Erin Rose half-jokingly says, “More dogs!” More dogs in every shop is always the ideal, but they do currently have that count at one-Penelope, the sweetest little shop-dog. They are always partnering in the community, most recently with the Richmond SPCA and Richmond Animal Care and Control. I believe that Nancy says it best when asked about the effects of this drastic change over the last year, “It’s not a sacrifice to be cruelty-free.”