By Christy Bertrand

Jessika Guy makes millions of little actions add up. Be it donating a dollar a service to plant trees to planting the tree itself, Jessika is always willing to get involved to support the community and the environment.

Ten years ago, The Green Hair Spa opened in Stratford, Ontario. Curious and new to town, I poked my head inside to see what it was all about. Welcomed by a glowing smile, I couldn’t wait to ask a million questions. Watching Jessika light up when she talked about the products she was able to use and the programs she was able to support, I felt inspired by her passion for what treasures can be found when we follow the lifecycle of the things we use.

Photo credit: Kim Griffiths

It was around this time that the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was on my mind, and Jessika was collecting all the spa’s hair clippings to be sent and used to soak up oil spills in the ocean. I showed up a week later with photos of flowers to hang on the walls. I couldn’t wait to be a part of something awesome.

The day I met Jessika Guy, I knew that she had done her homework and was excited to share how things were made and disposed of, that her desire to learn and understand how better to serve the planet was a daily endeavour, and that her passion meant — should she ever ask — I would not hesitate to join in.

In 2018 she did just that. Jessika reached out looking for support with an initiative to educate people on the impact that the fashion industry has on the environment, to inspire people in our community to think about where their clothes come from and where they go when we are done with them, to create clothes out of recycled materials, and to promote lasting change for the betterment of the environment and future generations. I was proud to join her team as a Trashion Week volunteer.

I recently asked Jessika to share some thoughts on Trashion Week, her personal environmental commitment, climate change conversations, and her environmentally-conscious business.

10 Questions with Jessika Guy

Can you sum up Trashion Week in your own words?

Stratford Trashion Week shines a spotlight the negative effects that fast fashion has on the planet. It also inspires positive change, through a series of exciting fashion shows, design competitions and educational workshops.

What inspired the creation of Trashion Week?

Owning an environmentally conscious hair salon, I wanted to celebrate Earth Day in a way that aligned with my beliefs and the beauty/fashion industry. The idea of a “Trashion” Show quickly spiralled into a week of educational, inspiring and creative events.

Screenshot from StratfordTrashionWeek.ca
What most concerns you about the environment and climate change? "Great question, a hard one to answer. I fear that some people do not understand the direct link between the health of our planet and the food/water/air that keeps us alive."

Photo credit: Chris Berg

What is one thing that you learned from any of the events this year, that made you think more about your own habits?

The amount of clothing that currently exists in this world is MASSIVE. The Community Clothing swap alone, this year collected almost 2,000 lbs of clothing! I definitely look at my existing wardrobe with a new appreciation.  

Have you found it challenging to make sustainable decisions, when shopping locally?

I love that we have a number of consignment, secondhand and vintage shops to choose from in Stratford ON. I can usually find what I am looking for locally. I try not to buy new when I can avoid it, but we do have retail shops offering brands that I feel comfortable supporting. [Editor’s Note: See our recent blog about local consignment shops.]

What most concerns you about the environment and climate change?

Great question, a hard one to answer. I fear that some people do not understand the direct link between the health of our planet and the food/water/air that keeps us alive.

I am thrilled to have ANY conversations about climate change! 10 years ago when the salon opened, I felt like I was constantly having to explain the concept of the salon and why it was important. Now more people "get it" and want to be a part of the action.

Can you tell me more about environmental initiatives that your business supports?

The Green Hair Spa is a member of Green Circle Salons, an organization that collects salon waste (hair clippings, colour waste, etc) and disposes of it in a more environmentally conscious way, greatly minimizing our salon’s footprint. For example: the hair clippings are used to clean up oil spills and Green Circle Salons has started to manufacture a bioplastic material out of the of the clippings. They are an incredibly innovative organization and we are thrilled to be a member. The ammonia free hair colour line we use is called Organic Colour Systems. They are a UK based company and almost 100% of the ingredients used in the hair colour and products are sourced in the UK. They also manufacture and distribute everything in their facility in the UK. Making their efforts in minimizing their footprint highly commendable. I feel honoured to use their products in my salon.

Photo credit: Kris Kleist

Annually your business supports the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority. Do you have a favourite project to work with them on?

YES! We donate $1 from every service to the UTRCA. I can’t say that I have a favourite project, but most recently our donations went towards the construction of a cribwall on the north shore of Lake Victoria (Avon River) in partnership with The City of Stratford, Stratford Rotary, at the UTRCA. This project increases trail accessibility, provides shelter and habitat for aquatic life and will prevent river bank erosion.

What kind of conversations are you having about climate change locally (or in your salon chair?)

ALL of them! (lol) I am thrilled to have ANY conversations about climate change! 10 years ago when the salon opened, I felt like I was constantly having to explain the concept of the salon and why it was important. Now more people “get it” and want to be a part of the action. I feel like people are slowly starting to understand that small actions lead to big change. We need to let go of the “all is lost” mentality to encourage people to continue to make those small acts and watch them “snow ball” into big change.

Where is your favourite place to go, when you need a nature bath?

Living in Stratford, I love riding my bike down TJ Dolan Dr, then walking the TJ Dolan trail and pausing on the bridge. I also enjoy the trails at Wildwood Conservation Area & beach walks in Bayfield.

What’s next for Trashion Week?

I don’t want to give too much away, BUT you can definitely count on the old faves plus a few new experiences! Save the dates: April 19th-25th, 2020!