Market Spark: A local business that steps out in front of the crowd, modeling innovative practices.
Angela Kowieski knew something had to give. The toxic cauldron of harsh chemicals associated with the beauty business -- formaldehyde, parabens, ammonia, artificial dyes and more -- was taking its toll on the 32-year-old owner of Divine Body & Styles Organic Salon & Spa. It all came to a head two years ago, when she was pregnant. She experienced headaches, rashes and chest pains. "I knew that if I didn't change, I wouldn't be able to continue to do what I love," she says.
Change is always risky for a small business owner, but Kowieski committed herself to ridding her Waunakee salon of harsh chemicals, both for her own health and the health of her customers. It wasn't easy, but after a lot of research, trial and error, she found dependable, professional lines of natural, organic beauty products that met her high standards. The conversion to eco-friendly products was complete in April 2012.
Kowieski loves the change: "I'm no longer choked by chemicals when I walk in the door," she says, "and I'm not going home with chest pains."
Her customers love it too. "I was shocked to see how glad people are with the conversion. I have people coming to me who haven't been able to get their hair done in years. It feels good knowing customers can get services done in a safer way."
Kowieski hasn't stopped there in her commitment to going green. In keeping with her earth-friendly ethos, her billing is now paperless, and she uses washable hand towels rather than paper towels in the salon and bathroom. Even hair clippings are recycled by local gardeners, who use it to keep the rabbits away.
Any neighborhood would be lucky to have an innovative, eco-conscious business like Divine Body & Styles, and any business would be smart to follow Kowieski's model. Her philosophy is "we only get one body and one Earth," and she leads by example.