INTERVIEW: Tithing from your business with Halo Salon
From day 1 Halo Salon in Carthage has given 10% of their total income to non-profits. This isn’t 10% of the profit that’s left over after paying all their expenses— Taylor and Jade, the young founders of Halo, give based on their total income before considering any expenses. In reality, they give more than 10% because they also donate their time. When I started my company, I loved this idea so much, that I opted to do the same. Now that I’ve seen firsthand the benefits of committing 10% of my total income to charities, I wanted to interview the two radicals who inspired me.
A: Let’s start by talking about what it is you do in your business and what charities you support.
T: We donate a combined 10% of all of our salon services and retail sales. Every month, we pick a different monthly mission, that we support and we also do service projects for them.
A: Before we get into the mechanics of how you do this, let’s talk about why you decided to do this.
J: When we sat down and started talking about what we were going to do, we knew we always wanted to be different. We each had a fundraising background and did a bunch of things that were really personal to us. So, it was a no brainer that we wanted to continue what we’ve done personally through our business.
T: When we first talked about opening a salon, it was a big risk, and I just think that when you have God involved as the foundation of your life in general, when you give 10%, He will take care of you. What better way to make sure your business is doing what He plans for it than by giving 10% back to Him and back to the community and loving His people too. Especially in the first year, giving 10% was a huge commitment for us. You barely break even your first year, so giving 10% from that was a scary thing. From the beginning, we just committed to it. It has given back to us fourfold.
J: Not always monetarily.
T: Right, but it has brought us employees who are awesome stylists.
J: It’s cool to do the money thing. But, I find it a lot more fun when we get to do service projects. We and the girls get to touch people. It feels good to be directly helping people.
A: Have you had any negative things happen from giving?
T: I think one thing is just that we have been scared to put out there in the public, we don’t want it to look like we are bragging or just doing it for the publicity. We’ve had some people say we’re just doing it for ourselves, and that’s not anything we want to do, but we do want to show how the foundation of our business is God and touching lives in our community, and that foundation can make a huge difference.
J: I think any time you’re doing something good, there will always be those negative people trying to attack, and it did make me feel like, are we doing this for the right reasons? It makes you come back and think, no, I am doing this for the right reasons. I’m not doing it for myself. I enjoy doing it. I get blessed by blessing other people, but it’s definitely not, in their sense, for myself, or for us.
A: What other benefits have you seen?
T: I kind of touched a little on employees, but we haven’t had to advertise for employees. We have 8 and every single one of them has said I want to work here because of what you guys are doing, which makes it nice because we want the people who want to be involved.
J: It brings employees who don’t want to just stand behind a chair and cut hair—they want to do more. A lot of people in this industry don’t just want to cut hair. They want to love on people. They’re inspired by both things, not just giving good hair. There are millions of stylists who do awesome hair, but most clients don’t come to the stylists who do the best hair. They come to the people they love and have a relationship with.
A: We’ve talked about how giving is fundamental to what you do and it helps with recruiting. Does it help you get clients?
J: For sure. That was a worry at the beginning: what are our clients going to think? A lot tell us when they come in that they heard about us through a monthly mission, and the clients we have already love it. Every time they come in they ask, “What charity is it this month?” “Can I give extra?” or, “What else can I do to help?” It’s really cool to see. We’ve collected toys and books and we offer sponsorships. In a recent month, we raised almost $3,000 of sponsorships just from clients for a charity. That’s not including the 10% from us.
A: What was that one for?
T: We did a girl’s night out for eight high school girls who don’t have a good mother figure or a mom at all. We did free haircuts and styles and we had a photographer take pictures of them, sort of like senior pictures, and a dinner.
J: The sponsorships paid for shampoo, conditioner and brushes that they got to take home. A lot of them didn’t have brushes. We also helped 16 transitional youth who ranged from 17 to 23 and they are basically kids who have no family, are homeless, have been taken out of bad situations, or timed out of foster care. Basically, when you are 17 or 18 in Missouri, if your foster family doesn’t want to keep you, they don’t have to. Then you’re stranded. We found a group in Joplin who house these kids and mentor them and teach them how to become adults because they never really learned how to do that. Because they never had the family to teach them those things. We had a lot of donations from clients to buy them Christmas presents, a lot of them had never had a Christmas before. Some of things on the list were underwear, toilet paper, paper towels, and hand towels; things that you would just grab at Walmart were the things on their lists. We did free haircuts, Allyssa Hunter from Pro 100 provided them a Christmas dinner, and we gave them all their gifts. They were all so appreciative. We got thanked like 500 times. It was definitely eye-opening and humbling. Thinking about myself when I was their age, I was such a brat, you know, a spoiled brat.
T: But they’re appreciative over a pack of t-shirts and underwear, things we take for granted. It makes you think about your own kids; they have so much.
A: How do you decide which nonprofit to help?
J: It’s actually worked out, because it just falls in our laps, like God again telling us what to do each month.
T: This year we’re excited to get all of the stylists involved in finding other missions and to see what they’re wanting to do to help.
A: If someone had a nonprofit they wanted to potentially talk to you guys about, is there a mechanism for doing that?
J: Yeah, get a hold of any of us. You can call the salon and talk to Taylor, I, or any of the girls. Facebook also. Just tell us what it is, and we can figure something out.
A: What’s one thing that surprised you about this decision?
J: The growth in our stylists. Seeing their numbers grow so fast. We weren’t expecting to fill all our chairs and be busy in just one year.
T: The amount of community involvement and excitement. People will come to me and ask to help even if they don’t come to the salon. We’ve had sponsors and support from other businesses.
A: You decided to do this before you started your business, right? How did people react? Did anyone doubt you?
J: Our friends and family were really supportive.
T: People would ask us, like, do you want to make money?
J: There was a business man we met in California and we told him our business model. He asked if our husbands made a lot of money because he thought we were basically starting a non-profit and didn’t understand why they would let us do this.
A: I know it’s hard to quantify, but if you think about where you are now vs where you would be if you hadn’t done this, what’s the difference?
T: We are way ahead, especially for first year in a salon business. We are growing every single day. It’s a hard business to do well in, and we are so far ahead from where we would otherwise have been.
A: Plus a lot of intangible benefits it sounds like.
J: There has been so much personal growth for all of our team. The service projects are probably my favorite because we get to love on people as a team and watch [our] team light up and grow from every service project. Even when we are crazy busy, it helps us always remember how blessed we are
T: It’s like when you are really tired, the best thing to do is to work out. And when you are run down, it doesn’t seem like you can give more, but that is when you give more and you are so blessed. Just when you want to stop, that’s when you should give more. Every service project and every check we write is such a good refresher for us.
A: You mentioned at church talking about tithing. Usually that’s talking about individuals. Have you heard of another business doing what you are doing?
T: There’s no model we were following. It’s just a God thing. We knew that we were going to make it work. We wanted Him to be in our business.
J: I think it made sense for us to come together and do this because we’ve been doing fundraisers for a long time and we’ve always kind of had that thinking like, how can we help the next person.
T: And use our gifts to bless others
J: That’s our motto. We want to put it into not just our personal lives, but into our business.
A: In the year since you’ve been open, have you heard of any other businesses doing something like this? Has anyone asked you, “tell me more about this.”
J: I don’t know if anyone has necessarily implemented it, but we’ve had a lot of people ask about it and wanting to know how we make this work.
T: It would be cool if everyone did this!
A: If there were businesses considering this, maybe not necessarily the 10%, but an intentional structured giving, what other advice would you have for them?
J: I would suggest to sit down with their employees and be very upfront about what their ideas are and get them involved in some way. It does work a lot better and we raise more money when our employees are involved.
T: They can take it ownership of it too.
J: Even just giving them responsibility to figure out what we are doing. Are we doing a service project, are we just donating money? It gets them excited about it and helps fuel instead of just the owners.
T: I would also say that if you’re going to commit to this, you have to have trust. Some months are tough and making that contribution is tough, but you have to stick with it. You have to give when it’s hard.
J: That contribution is the first bill we pay every month.
T: We know that it’s going to come back, not just money-wise, but trusting that God will take care of you.