Environmental Entrepreneurial Equity

Benjamin Hudgins, Founder of Novak Hair Studios

Closed Caption Transcript:

Hey, impact Fort Worth.

My name is Ben Novak Hudgins,
and I'm with Novak Hair Studios.

I'm so excited to be here with you
guys today at Impact Fort Worth.

I know that you guys have been tuning

in all morning and we are so excited for
all of the speakers that are lined up.

And I'm so excited to be a part
of that group of people.

I feel like Fort Worth is
something so incredibly special.

We are a community of people
who really support each other.

Not only do we support each other,
we support the idea of entrepreneurship.

We support the idea of small business,

and we support each other
in making those decisions.

But one of the coolest parts about

Fort Worth is that we are
a group of change makers.

Fort Worth community of business owners
have really stepped up and put into place

the things that really
matter in the world.

We're taking it to the next level.

And I'm so excited that you guys have

chosen to be a part of Impact Fort Worth
today and really start trying to find ways

to be able to create impact within
your life and within your businesses.

And I hope that my story is able to help

share that with you guys
and share that inspiration.

And then maybe you're able to take
something away from this and create some

different changes within your own life
that really helps embody what life is

really all about, which is the lives
that we really are living for.

We don't live for the lives
inside our businesses.

We live for the lives
outside of our businesses.

We live for the love that we
share with our families.

We live for the kids that we create.

We we live for all of those special
moments and experiences through life.

And I'm so excited Impact Fort Worth

is doing what they're doing and reminding
us of how important those things are.

I think if COVID has done one thing

for us, it really has realigned a lot
of us into really what matters.

And I think that sustainability really is
a part of that because we've realized how

fragile life can be and we know
that we have to do better.

We have to do good by the world.

And that's something at Novak Hair Studios

Is that something that we have really

it's always been kind of a fabric
of who we are from our very beginning.

Whenever we first opened our
concept nearly three years ago,

Fort Worth has really embraced us and so
many incredible ways from winning best

salon three years in a row,
with Fort Worth weekly and winning best

of Salon with Fort Worth magazine
from winning Fort Worth initiatives

that inspire really true change
and making more sustainable options.

The options that our
consumers are wanting.

And we're just so proud to be
a part of the fabric of Fort Worth.

And thank you guys from
the bottom of my heart.

Really thank you for embracing us

and allowing us to really make an impact
on the community that we call home.

So I want to go really deep into my story.

So I'm actually going to start at the very

beginning, which is
essentially how I got my name.

So I was actually named after my granddad.

Novak Bullard and Novak lived
his life for for many purposes.

But he really had a true
passion for beekeeping.

It was something that he
really, truly loved.

And he actually was one of the select few
that was able to turn his passion of

 beekeeping into a way to
raise his family.

And if you know anything about beekeeping,
which I've been learning over the last

couple of years, that could be
a very challenging thing to do.

But when he was driven by that passion,

he knew that that was something
that he wanted to make happen.

When he came back from World War Two,
he actually found a way to turn his

passion of beekeeping
into that full time gig.

But at the same time,
he was noticing something that was

happening and he wanted to be
the whistle blower essentially on that.

He was saying that the introduction
of pesticides that were happening within

our crop system essentially were going to be
the demise of humans as we know it.

And unfortunately, so many
of his predictions came true.

And you can see that with the decline
of the world's natural pollinators,

like the honey bee,
we've actually lost 90 percent of our

world's pollinators
in the last two decades.

So literally a pin drop in time.

We've lost 90 percent of our pollinators.

That's so crucial to the survival of our race, because
a lot of people don't realize

that the prediction is that without
the bees (single handedly the bees),

we would only live on this
planet for about four years.

So that's a pretty, pretty daunting
number whenever we realize that.

And that is why it's so important
to inspire change and make change and be

the change in the world
that we want to see.

So Novak Hair Studios actually
donates a percentage of our profits

to an organization called
the Honeybee Conservancy,

Honeybee Conservancy is a really
incredible organization.

One of the biggest things that they do is

they actually put small hives
in local community gardens.

They teach those community gardens how
to tend to them, why they're important.

They create an education program behind them,
and then they're able to those community

gardens that are able to grow fresh fruits
and vegetables in plentiful amounts

and be able to feed underprivileged
families who can't afford those things.

For me, which is a huge full circle thing,

you know, I grew up with a single
mother who was raising all of us kids.

And then that's
the single mothers out there.

They know that can be quite the task,

especially with a couple
of hungry teenagers.

One of the things what that was,
is that I grew up in the food pantry.

We lived off of the assistance
of the community that we grew up in.

And it wasn't until I became an adult

that I even realized that you
could get asparagus, not in a can.

So the idea to be able to create change,

that's so much deeper than
something so small, you know,

and all of that just starts with a simple
haircut that you're able to take a haircut

and you're able to inspire
change across the world.

And so many, many ways I tell that story,

too, because it's such a part
of the fabric of who I am.

So obviously, growing up with such
a respect for nature and having instilled

in me a lot of those same principles
that my grandfather carried,

really allowed for me to be able to look
at the world in a different way.

It was it was a way for me to be able

to say, like, this world is so precious
to us and everything that we do in it

 is going to be a direct reflection
of how we are going to continue to to pass

this world on for generations
to generations.

So for me, sustainability
was not my driving force.

It was not actually what created
the concept behind Novak Hair Studios.

But for me,
it was entrepreneurship one on one.

Your job as a business owner is
to make sustainable options

the only options. You have to do good

by the world and therefore
the world will do good by you.

So when it came time to actually creating
Novak Hair Studios, that was the no brainer.

We are going to try to do good in every

single way that we can,
which I'll go to in a minute.

You know, it goes so much,

so much further than just
the sustainability of the planet,

the sustainability of the people
who work in my industry.

So a little bit about my background.

I actually have been doing hair

for about 17 years, and I always had this
really deep desire to go into education.

To me, education is the fundamentals
of how we grow as humans.

It's how we grow industries.

It's how we become better at our crafts.

And that was such a important part of what
I wanted to be able to accomplish.

So all that to say, I worked really hard.

I was able to get involved
with being an international educator.

I worked for a corporation that allowed

for me to be able to open those doors and
get the type of education that I wanted.

But I also wanted to be a part of change

makers in the professional beauty industry
who helped create the trends

and techniques and be able to travel
around all over the United States to be

able to share those trends and techniques
with hairdressers all over the place.

And this led to so many incredible things.

I mean, I was able to do
New York Fashion Week multiple times.

I've done the Mercedes-Benz
Swim Week in Miami.

I have been able to work with some
of the top pageant beauty queens

in the United States who have gone off
to do some really incredible things.

Some of the top models in the industry,
in the modeling world.

It really led me down
some really cool paths.

But one of the most important paths

that it led me down is that it gave me
the opportunity to be able to walk

in to hundreds of salons and speak with
thousands and thousands of hairdressers.

And one of the things that I realized is
that the confusion and distraction that I

think plagues our world, to be frank,
through the corporate brand cultures,

it transcends so much deeper
than we could ever even imagine.

And what I found is that from going
in from Salon to Salon,

the same consistent problems were there
within every single salon. And time

in and time out, we saw the same problems
and I started jotting those things down.

And when it came time for me to be able
to open my own concept,

it was about finding a series of solutions
to protect an industry that I love.

And it goes so much further than that.

You know, it's a work work-life balance.

You know, how many of us get so caught up

into the hustle, especially when we are
business owners and we own our own

businesses, that we forget
about those lives outside of

what we do.

That adds to a level of fatigue
that sometimes we don't come back

from burnout is a real thing that really
affects most of us as entrepreneurs.

Another part of that is that if you look

at the beauty industry,
it is a major waste maker.

The beauty industry as a whole contributes

an astronomical amount
of numbers to our landfills.

But we know that 95 percent of that waste
can be diverted from landfills.

But we have less than one percent

of salons that are doing anything
to really implement those changes.

Not only on that aspect,

When you look at the professional beauty

industry, you also look at increased
numbers of all sorts of different

types of cancers,
female infertility rates.

A lot of these things are some

of the highest out of any industry
happen in the beauty industry.

And these are things that are really
major, especially whenever we start going

into our own salon concepts where maybe
we're working for a salon suite where we

don't have the access to those clean
air initiatives and stuff like that.

So Novak Hair Studios was really
about finding all of those fixes.

It was finding solutions for things
that were broken and an industry that,

frankly, has been labeled
as a failing industry.

So we are excited to be
able to take that back.

And that goes into so many different
parts of the concept of who we are.

First thing on my list was how do
we try to limit our heat load?

How do we limit the amount of electricity

that's being used again in a notoriously
wasteful salon environment?

We do that in our salon through not only

motion detection,
so we're able to minimize the amount

of electricity that's being used whenever
nobody is actually using the space.

We're also able to use all pure LED
lights so that we minimize that.

We have a lot of different initiatives

throughout the salon, like our
partnership with Green Circle salons.

Green Circle Salons is a salon recycling

partner program that allows for us
to actually take our recycled goods.

So imagine you get those nasty
ends trimmed off of your hair.

Well, now that those are being trimmed
off, they can be reused and repurposed

for something that actually
creates impact on the world.

Recycled hair is often used for cleaning
up oil spills, so local communities are

actually able to utilize these mats
of hair that are woven together similar

to wool, and they actually
are naturally absorbent.

So they absorb all of the oil
but release all of the water.

So it creates cleaner rivers and lakes

and ponds and those inevitably
end up in the ocean.

So being able to start that at the source.

They're also using it to make
stuff like bioplastics.

So imagine a recycled

recycling bin made out of recycled
human hair, which is pretty cool to me.

I'm a science nerd, so that's cool to me.

On top of that, we're able
to take stuff like foil.

So you get that beautiful balayage and you

get foils for days, or maybe you're
just getting a classic color retouch.

Well, those tubes are
made out of aluminum.

Those aluminums then have color all over
them and those chemicals on them so they

can no longer be put
into standard recycling.

So through our Green Circle

partnership, we're actually able to take
those aluminums and we're able to divert

them from the landfills,
send them with a Green Circle.

They actually melt it down.

They first create clean energy out of it.

So instead of burning fossil fuels or
those types of things,

they're actually able to combust
them and it creates clean energy.

But more importantly, it makes it
where those aluminums can be reused.

So now those aluminums that were once
just tossed in the landfill to sit there

for predicted to be about three to four
hundred years, we're able to actually

reuse those for nonsurgical metals like
air conditioning vents, bicycles,

those types of things, along with plastics
and papers and those types of things.

And, you know, those are all
really important parts of it.

But then we also have our water sources.

So when we look at the technologies
that are being introduced

to the beauty industry,
which are important technologies like nano

pigments, those nano pigments are so small
that your standard water filtering system

isn't able to pick those nano pigments
out of the color or out of the water.

So when it's going through its filter

process, it's going
into our drinking water.

So imagine your hairdresser or
you yourself mix too much color.

You're then mixing it up and instead
of putting it into a separate container,

oftentimes it gets rinsed down the drain
that goes into our drinking water.

And we inevitably have to digest it.
With one of our initiatives,

with our Green Circle partnership,
we're actually able to divert all those

leftover chemicals from going
into the water system.

We're able to send it
off with Green Circle.

They spin it, they take the potable,

drinkable water,
remove it from the chemicals,

and then they're able to dispose
of those chemicals in a hazmatic way.

So, again, just all of these different
levels, including all of our water

fixtures throughout the salon,
actually have a collective

of Sixty-five percent of a freshwater

savings, a lot of people don't think about
this, but we actually do have a day zero

on whenever we will run
out of freshwater.

And so if every single business makes
those small little changes like

a different faucet head,
it can make some of the biggest impacts, if

we make those in our businesses,
if we make those in our personal lives.

But we all know that whenever we're

looking at big businesses or
the businesses that we spend our

money with or the businesses that we own
and operate, we know that those businesses

oftentimes make up the biggest
part of the economy.

And if we're able to make those changes
within those businesses,

we're really going to actually be
able to make change in the world.

And all it takes is one little step.

That to me is actually one

of my guiding forces to people when
they're trying to start making some

of those changes is offer recycling,
make the recycling bin bigger,

make the trash cans smaller, make it
where people have to think about it.

So when we label our trash cans,

they don't just say trash on them,
they say landfill.

So really make the average consumer think

about what is it that they have in their
hand and where is it actually going.

Also making those simple water changes,

changing out your light bulbs,
those types of things allow for us to be

able to really create positive
change in such a simple way.

One of my biggest reasons,

so my actual why was to ease
the confusion,

the distraction that plagues the world,
especially the beauty industry.

And I do that through a lot

of the initiatives that we have
within our work life balance.

We work really tirelessly with our luxury

solo artists to try to create
an experience that really allows for them

to be able to leave work,
be the parent that they want to be,

to be the spouse that they want to be,
to be the hairdresser that they want to be

and really start implementing those
types of changes into their life.

And when we look at our own selves as

entrepreneurs, we oftentimes
are plagued by fatigue.

You know, we hustle and we hustle and we hustle

 and we don't leave much
for ourselves outside of that.

With Novak Hair Studios
in that partnership with our luxury solo

artist, we're really able to put
the perspective back into place.

We do not work for the lives
that are inside our businesses.

We work for the lives
outside of our businesses.

We want to be able to show up
for our kids' soccer games.

We want to be able to have
dinner with our friends.

We want to be the type of people
that we really want to be.

How do we do that?
How do you have it all?

How do you be that good parent?

Be that good spouse,
to be that good business owner and do what

you do in the craft
that you do and do it well.

You do it with the help of others.

You cannot do it all alone. By surrounding

ourselves around people who are
passionate about what it is that they do.

Our guest service team genuinely loves
creating an experience from start

to finish our shampoo's that genuinely
loves the art of the massage process

and really creating a memorable
shampoo experience.

Our cleaning staff takes pride in making

our space a very clean space
and sanitary space for our guests.

And our stylists really are committed

to being able to create the experience
that they do behind the chair.

And it allows for everybody to really be

passionate about what they do and grow
their business in a sustainable way.

Because at the end of the day,

if we work ourselves to the point of total
burnout, sustainability goes so much

further than the sustainability
of the planet that we live in.

But it's also about the quality
of life within that planet.

And we don't think about that often
when we think about sustainability.

It is such a crucial part of that,

you know, in the beauty industry
specifically, you look at cancers,

they are amongst the highest in our
industry as a beauty professional

bladder cancer, ovarian cancer,
prostate cancer, the list goes on and on.

Then you start looking at other health
risks like sensitivity to other types

of chemicals, or you start
looking at infertility rates.

They are actually amongst
the highest in hairdressers.

And you can't tell me that that's not
a direct correlation to some of the things

that are introduced within
the beauty industry.

So one of the things that we did to try

to combat that was through
our clean air initiatives.

So our clean air initiatives
are pretty straightforward.

We have an air conditioning system in all
of our locations where it actually pools

the carcinogenic air out of the salon
and pumps fresh, clean air into the salon

constantly so that we're no longer having
to sit and waddle and all of the chemicals

and all of that kind of stuff that you
traditionally find in a salon.

So little changes like that whenever you
know that you're working with things

that could be potentially hazardous
to anybody's health,

even if the idea is that it's not
hazardous now, but we don't know what it's

going to be in 15 years, you know,
start trying to implement some of those

changes as you develop and grow your
business or even in your house,

like being able to make simple changes
within your home

that allow for those carcinogenic type
of ingredients to be removed completely.

For us

that's also about the plants
that we place throughout the salon.

Strategically, we choose different plants
that are known for absorbing ammonia

and stuff like that so that we can
create cleaner air throughout the salon.

The air that is remaining

in the salon is clean air process
by nature through plants.

Simple things like that can end up making

the biggest changes and that a
beautiful design factor to it.

One of the things that I think is so
incredible about this entire experience,

though, is that the way that it
has been embraced by Fort Worth.

So a lot of times we get terrified

of being able to make some of those
changes because, frankly, they cost money.

And whenever we are in situations like
we've been put through and this 2020 year, you know,

sometimes we get really
tight end on that money and we

start getting a little nervous about being
able to make those types of investments.

But when we look at what is actually

happening within the world,
we know that consumer behavior is

that they are demanding us
to make those differences.

They want to see those changes.

The sustainable part of our industries are
the top growing part of the industries.

And so it's important for us as the actual

business owners to make the sustainable
options, the only options.

And we do that knowing that those
returns are going to happen.

And Novak Hair Studios is proof that we are

able to say that we have reached a level
of success with a Novak in nearly three

years that has exceeded
our expectations tenfold.

Our stylists are happy the work life
balance is taking place,

but more importantly,
consumers are really responding to it.

People call specifically wanting somebody

who is using clean
ingredients on their hair.

People are calling because they care about
the businesses that they are supporting,

making positive changes and a community
that they love and that they call home.

You know, it's been so successful for us

that it's even allowed for us
to expand our locations.

So we actually just

opened up our second
location and Burlison.

So the greater Fort Worth area.

And it has also been really an incredible

success to see that people in our
community and the entire greater DFW area

that people really genuinely
care about creating this change.

And it's important to them.

The proof is in the pudding.

And whenever we see that the consumers are

really meeting in our area,
what the national predictions are,

if not exceeding honestly what those
national predictions are,

I think that it seems silly that we don't
take that and really run with it

and really make it apart
of our business's motto.

All that to say that it is important
people care about it and it can be

profitable if you're
doing it the right way.

It's also led us into being able to be

nationally recognized
on many different levels.

You know, we were featured in some

of the top industry publications
for our sustainability efforts.

We've been just recently,

we're excited to announce that we have won
some awards through the city of Fort Worth

and some of the recycling initiatives
that we have in both our freshwater

savings and along with our
recycling programs.

So we live in a community that really
supports and celebrates us being able

to create the changes in the
world that we want to see.

That is one of the biggest messages that I
want to be able to leave you guys with is

that you have to be the change
in the world that you want to see.

People are ready to make those

differences, and all we have
to do is make it the sustainable

the only option. It's really that simple,

making simple shifts in your life,
making simple shifts in your business

and demanding that of the people that you
do business with,

that they are doing things in an ethical
way, that they are doing things

in a sustainable way and that they're
caring about and putting into our

fabric and to our communities
what we need and we demand.

And our buying power can create so much
more than we could ever give it credit.

So thank you guys so much
for being a part of this today.

It has been such an honor to be
able to share part of my story.

I'm going to be joining
this conversation, too.

So I would love to see you guys here
in just a moment on our live chat.

I want to be able to answer any
questions that I can for you guys.

If there's anything that I can help you
with at all, make sure that you reach out

to us at NovakHairStudios.com,
where you can check us out on Facebook or

on Instagram,
Novak, Fort Worth and Novak, Burleson.

We hope to see you guys in the salon soon.

And I will see you guys and chat
with you guys in a minute.

Bye, guys.