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Hairdressing has always gone hand in hand with support for charitable causes. And that’s no surprise– hairdressers are professional communicators. They have to be good at listening to people, which makes them very empathetic. And they like to make people look and feel better.

In short, hairdressers are connected to their clients and the community, which makes it easier for them to care about the world around them and to be aware of their social responsibility. They know they can, should and do make a difference.

Here at Paul Mitchell giving back has been part of our DNA since the brand’s start in 1980—whether it’s taking steps toward sustainability, helping families in need, supporting underserved kids or empowering communities to lead a healthy lifestyle—Paul Mitchell has always believed in doing good for people and the planet.

Our latest campaign, #GivingIsMyStyle, is part of that tradition. Started to tie in with the launch of a new and improved Paul Mitchell website in summer 2014, it aims to engage fans and encourage them to join us in the pay it forward movement, sending out positive messages about giving back and creating a movement in that positive direction. It gives individual salons a chance to be part of a national campaign that connects directly with consumers. It’s not just about donating; it’s about doing.

To take part in the campaign, Paul Mitchell fans can use #GivingIsMyStyle to tell why they think it’s important to give back, and/or how they’re making a difference. For every share on Instagram or Twitter using #givingismystyle, participants gain a spot in the giving gallery on the Paul Mitchell website, and we donate $1, up to a maximum of $200,000 to one of our non-profit partner organizations, which include Waterkeeper Alliance, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, ReforestAction, Grow Appalachia, Morris Animal Foundation and Bright Pink.

Charitable actions like this speak louder than words about your brand. They become part of your business; part of your ethos and reputation. And the growth of social media and online communication drives that movement further. It becomes easier to spread the word, to get feedback and to respond and act on information immediately.

We also find that the biggest users of social media, young people, have a well-developed social conscience, so when their salon makes a stand for social responsibility, they naturally feel more aligned with their employer. When we approach one of our partner salons asking if the team would volunteer their time and talent to a charitable event we are sponsoring, it ends up fully staffed with energetic, happy stylists who are honored to donate their services for a good cause and ask for nothing in return.

These events are wide-ranging. They could be cut-a-thons, styling/braid bars, bake sales, fashion shows or raffles. Salons also collect food, clothing and blankets for food pantries and animal shelters. There is a commitment to providing services and hard goods to those less fortunate, so they are continually engaged in acts of giving back to their community.

At some point there will be time costs – donated time still comes from someone’s budget, whether it’s during business hours or days off. Hard costs come in the form of donated product, travel expenses to events, food at events/training, manpower and use of a salon/salon assets.

It’s true that there is only so much any individual do, and in the end the extent to which you want or are willing to give up your time and labor is down to you. But though you may have direct control only over your own actions, by your example you can encourage those around you to be more socially responsible as well. Look at your suppliers and see if they are environmentally conscious. If they are not, endeavor to get them to change their methods. Or change suppliers. Take part in events that promote social responsibility, and encourage your friends, family and co-workers to join you. Practice good stewardship of the planet and its inhabitants. Model the behavior you want to see in others, then teach them how to do it.

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