Renee Dreshaj of Green Opal Salon

Image Credit:  Milk Shop Photography

Image Credit: Milk Shop Photography

How do you set your salon apart from the next? Renee Dreshaj of Green Opal Salon has it figured out. Green Opal is 95% sustainable, making sure to produce the least amount of waste as possible. Renee talks about getting to this point, making sure the name of the salon met her needs, and more in this week's Small Business Sunday feature.

Haley Mills: What is your background? How did you end up doing hair?

Renee Dreshaj: This is actually my 10th year doing hair, this month! I grew up in the industry, my mom worked in salons my whole life. I would skip school to go hang out at the salon all day, but I never actually thought I would be a hairdresser. Coincidentally, my high school had a vocational program for cosmetology. I thought, ‘it sounds cool and I get to leave school for half of the day, I’ll go try that’ and I ended up falling in love with it. 

HM: How did you get to the point where you were ready to open your own salon?

RD: I was kind of in this continual work-flow. I felt like I was doing the same thing every day and I’m the kind of person that needs change often. I actually left the industry for a year to go to nursing school, and found myself still thinking about doing hair every single day. That’s when I knew that I needed to take the next step and that was working for myself. I didn’t want to go into a salon loft or booth rent business because I didn’t want to work by myself. I still wanted the salon vibe and atmosphere but I wanted it to be a place that was full of creativity, passion and inspiration, not only for myself but for my staff. Each person that I work with inspires me daily.

HM: How did you land on this space?

RD: I knew that I wanted a west side location and I could see the revitalization of the Clifton/ Edgewater on the horizon and just had to be a part of it. 

HM: You recently rebranded, where did you come up with the new name?

RD: Green Opal comes from a little place in my heart. I was pretty set on the ‘opal’ just because it’s the stone for October, which is the anniversary month of our business. The Green Opal is actually a stone that signifies passion, creativity, rejuvenation, and change which are all things I feel we strongly represent. We are very passionate about what we do, we love creating new things, and we hope to implement broader change for our clients and our planet. Green also made sense because our salon is 95% sustainable. We strive to make sure everything in our salon is recycled or repurposed.

HM: Tell me a little bit more about being 95% sustainable.

RD: Our hair clippings are sent off to a company called Green Circle and they make hair booms to soak up oil spills. They also make pet beds for shelter animals! Our wasted color gets processed so all of the water is extracted and the chemicals don’t end up in the ocean. Even our color foils are repurposed into new energy. None of the waste from our hair services goes into a landfill, it’s all getting repurposed or recycled. The staff even composts our lunch leftovers. 

HM: My next question was, what sets you apart and I feel like that is a big piece of that.

RD: Yes, that definitely sets us apart. We all are very passionate about being environmentally conscious. This industry has a tendency to produce an excess amount of waste and we want to do our part to minimize that as much as possible. The goal is to inspire others to do that as well and implement these practices at home! We hope that what we are doing can influence people’s daily habits in reducing the amount of waste that they create. Hopefully, other salons will catch on, too! 

HM: What are some of the services you provide?

RD: We are a full-service hair salon, so we do anything related to hair. I would say we are known for our balayage services and creating effortless organic styles. We try to create looks that are going to provide longevity and look great even 4 months after your service! 

HM: How many employees do you have?

RD: There are 8 of us in total. 6 stylists and 2 front desk coordinators.

HM: Is there anything else you would want people to know about Green Opal?

RD:  At Green Opal we are so much more than hairstylists. Of course we want to make your hair dreams come true and leave the salon feeling amazing, but we also want to inspire you to be mindful of the ecological impact of our daily practices. 

HM: Where is your favorite spot to get drinks with friends? 

RD: The Fairmount in Cleveland Heights. The patio is beautiful and the food is delicious. 

HM: What is your favorite spot for a date night?

RD: Typically a night out would be at L’Albatros, which is one of our favorite restaurants. We love good food, good vibes and good drinks! 

HM: Where is your favorite place to be in Cleveland?

RD: Honestly, Green Opal Salon. But a close second would be Sacred Hour in Lakewood for a massage.

Story feature photo credit: Milk Shop Photography

TCBL Haley