#16 | Dennes James-Kraan  - Tabitha James Kraan (TJK) Organic Hairdressing : Champion of Sustainable and Organic Haircare

Did you know, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, a common cleansing agent found in shampoos and soaps, damages the natural protective barriers on your skin and lets in hormone-disrupting chemicals, which can be carcinogenic?

 

In this episode of Sustainability Matters Today, I interview Dennes James-Kraan, the co-founder of Tabitha James Kraan (TJK) Organic Hairdressing and #Champion of Sustainable and Organic Hair Care.

 

Founded in 1999, TJK is a pioneering, organic salon based in the Cotswolds, UK that runs 100% on energy from renewable sources. In 2015, they launched their own line of luxury organic hair products that deliver professional performance without compromising on the quality of ingredients. This organic hair care line recently won the Marie Claire Hair Awards in 2019 for being a game-changer in the cosmetic industry.

 

Please make sure to subscribe to the Sustainability Matters Today podcast to learn more about other champions of sustainability like Dennes.

 

I hope you enjoy the episode!

 

Resources:

Sassoon Academy: https://www.sassoon-academy.com/en/academy/uk

National Vocational Qualification (NVQ): https://www.vocationaltraining.org.uk/nvq-overview

Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodium_laureth_sulfate

ewg.org website:https://www.ewg.org/

Soil Association UK: https://www.soilassociation.org/

TJK Website: https://www.tabithajameskraan.com/

Daniel:   Thank you for joining me on the show, Dennes. Great to have you. 

 

Dennes:   Thank you, Daniel, it’s great to be here. 

 

Daniel:   So, I'd love to start with you telling us a bit about yourself and really how you got involved with sustainability in general and also specifically at Tabitha James Kraan. 

 

Dennes:   Right, okay, so I moved to the UK in 1998 from the Netherlands where I grew up, in a society where, you know, recycling was very ingrained in everything we did.

 

Daniel:   Right.   

 

Dennes:   From bringing your empty bottles back to the shop, to collecting the newspapers from all my neighbors and then bringing them to school. Once a week the council would bring a lorry to collect all the papers of the whole time of the whole week in one go to bring them to the recycling points. You know, talking about a low co2 footprint, one lorry trip, you know, just to one school done all the papers. And bringing empty bags to the shop, that was my biggest shock when I first moved to the UK and I was actually refused service. I think it was a Tesco when I went there for the first time ever and brought my empty bags.

 

Daniel:   Right!   

 

Dennes:   And the girl of the checkout looked at me and said I'm really sorry, but you can't use those bags. So, I questioned why not? And she said about they don't have Tesco on you have to use Tesco bags when you buy shopping here. 

 

Daniel:   Wow.   

 

Dennes:   And I actually had to insist for the manager, the duty manager to come out and for him to give her permission to use my own empty shopping bags. Luckily, things have changed dramatically since then. 

 

Dennes:   I also seriously struggled to recycle our domestic waste because there’s simply wasn't a connection scheme in place whatsoever. There's no separation of glass and aluminum, you know, all the things that can be recycled really easily.   

 

Daniel:   Yeah!   

 

Dennes:   And when... sort of I made Tabitha aware about the culture that I came from and how that was also ingrained and made so, normal and so acceptable, but also how it was prioritized. She didn't join me on a mission to see how we could implement some of those ideas in her hair salon that she already had. 

 

Daniel:   Okay, that makes sense. So, you were actually kind of the catalyst for it to be kind of brought on board and made into a core part of Tabitha James Kraan 

 

Dennes:   My background opened up the conversations, well, you know I think the Dutch culture, which very similar to Scandinavian culture, started the conversations. Like how can we improve some of the things we're doing here with the limited public services that are currently available. 

 

Daniel:   Yeah, really interesting. And so, what were you doing before you moved to the UK? On your website, it says that you were a researcher. So, is that a big part of what you were doing before? 

 

Dennes:   Yeah, I did study at one of the Dutch universities at the Faculty of Philosophy. That's not necessarily research. But the department that I was studying at was so small at the time that it was, a really new concept. So was put together with philosophy because it was the only way they could sort of justify placing it. I studied cognitive artificial intelligence. And this was back in the mid-90s.   

 

Daniel:   Oh, wow, and so that research was then used in the actual TJK product line and all the work that you're doing at the salon. 

 

Dennes:   No, I think, just generally, researching is a skill that I've always been really good at. So that's skill has definitely come very handy when we started to, first of all, referring back to what I said earlier that we were trying to find solutions for services that didn't existed yet, in this country. 

 

Daniel:   Right!   

 

Dennes:   We came up with some of our own solutions, but also convinced eventually the local council to start a recycling service and further down the line, it also served us very well, when we were determined to create a hair care line, only using natural ingredients, which is incredibly hard. And often we've been told that, you know, by cosmetic scientists that what we want to achieve is impossible. You know, the, combinations of the ingredients just are not going to stick together. They're not going to last and it's due to you know, share determination and continuous research that we found ways around it. 

 

Daniel:   Yeah, fantastic. Well, I think that that's definitely wanting to hear more about that. So, you moved to the UK in 1998 and then Tabitha was already doing... she already had her salon at that point. And so how did it begin? I mean, because now, in my view and from what I've seen, it seems like you're very much a leader in sustainability haircare space. So how did it’s kind of begin? 

 

Dennes:   Well, yeah, it's one of those series of events that you know, led Tabitha to actually start her first salon at the young age of 23, which is back then sooner, it's quite, for a woman to start her own business at that age was quite unusual, especially in that sector. And it basically came down to the salon she was working for going bankrupt and literally she was told one morning when she came into work, I'm really sorry, but we got to be out here by lunchtime. She's always had a fascination for hair and her mother was a hairdresser which is why she said she would never ever go down that road. You know, teenage girl like I'm not going to do with my mother's no way. 

 

Daniel:   Famous last words. 

 

Dennes:   But she rolled into it because she needed the job, she wasn't going to continue studying for chef. So, she took on an apprenticeship in a local salon thinking like well they were looking for somebody, it's not something I really want to do, but I'm able get some income until I find something that I want to do. And she just completely fell in love and when she witnessed that on day one, she was like, yes, this is what I want to do. I want to be part of that. And that's how the process started. So, the combination of that led to really dig deep and delve deep and she went to London and went to the Sassoon Academy study there and she really threw herself in. 

 

Daniel:   Going back to the salon on the website, it said that it's quite environmentally friendly, you have a lot of different programs in place to really be ecofriendly and sustainable. And I know recently on the lucky day of the 13th, Friday, the 13th of September, you introduced the terra cycle program to the salon. So, what kind of the thought process or what are some of the things that you do at the salon to encourage that kind of environmentally friendly approach? 

 

Dennes:   Well, so when we started looking at improving our waste, improving our sustainability, and also combined with the fact that Tabitha got pregnant with our first son, back in 1999. And the lightbulb moment she had when the midwives came to visit her and advised her to stop coloring her hair. And she questioned the midwife saying, like, hold on a second, I'm the hairdresser you're the midwife, who are you to tell me what to do with my hair?   

 

Daniel:   Yeah.   

 

Dennes:   And the midwife very, clear plain language said, anything you put on your scalp, and especially something as you know, chemical like a hair dye could potentially be absorbed through your skin, into your body into your bloodstream and affect your unborn baby. So, I mean, to say that to a pregnant woman, is of course that's going to be “No”, but like, “Okay, if there's anything that could possibly harm my own born baby, I'm going to look into this”.   

Daniel:   Yep.   

 

Dennes:   Which she did. The hair coloring industry is - it's been extremely good at hiding all the incidents that have happened over the years - with literally people having allergic reactions that resulted in instant death, 

 

Daniel:   Wow.   

 

Dennes:   All over the world, on a regular basis. Not many people are aware about this. If you if you do a Google search, you'll find some references here and there from newspaper clippings in England, you'll find instances but no big deal as be made about it and it's just like being stung by a bee. If you're allergicto that that's how it’s sort of signed as no big deal. But ,it is in the same time, it has been proven to be directly related to the dyes in the hair that cause the reaction was are extremely harsh synthetic chemicals that are created to open up the follicle to dye - the core of the hair on the inside. So, when the cuticle closes again, the color stays there much longer, rather than staying down on the outside, which is what a semi-permanent color would be doing.   

 

Daniel:   Oh, I see, wow. 

 

Dennes:   So, when she had that lightbulb moment and the midwife told her that she was like, well, if this could harm my unborn baby, obviously it could potentially harm me as well. And that's started the journey in  a much bigger scale and she then said like I want to start looking at alternative ways of coloring people's hair, but also I want to start looking at all the other products that we use in our industry because nobody's ever told me that. When I was studying as a hairdresser when I was doing my NVQ and then later on when I went to all these academies in London, nobody ever mentioned about actually was in these products and how they work. All we were learned is the technique and how to use them, not necessarily what is actually in them and how to protect ourselves from it, potentially, the consequences these products might have for the environment. When we wash it and rinse it out of somebody's hand, goes down the drain, it magically disappears effectively, we've made it our life's mission to try and eradicate harmful synthetic man-made chemicals from our industry.   

 

Dennes:   And when we started doing that in 1999,  we decided we're going to change our salon to an organic hair salon. A fresh organic hair salon, within the holistic approach, we’re going to stop using perms instantly began to swap the colorings over for henna for natural base colours. We're going to stop using hair sprays and aerosols and we're going to start looking for alternatives that we can use instead. But as you probably would have got from what I was telling you earlier, the salon was already a thriving successful business.   

 

Daniel:   Right. 

 

Dennes:   So that caused a few issues, because in 1999 you couldn't just go to a wholesaler a say, like, you know what, we don't want normal shampoo anymore. We want to have organic shampoo that hasn't gone SLS, you know, whatever, you know, because it simply didn't exist. That led us then to go on a journey of studying and researching to start trying to formulate our own products. In the meantime, things that we could implement straight away was like switching over to an electricity supplier that was generating electricity from sustainable resources, changing all the lights because there's usually a lot of life in a hair salon - lots of strong high voltage lamps. So, we change them all over to low voltage lamps. We started the recycling scheme - we’ve got the local council and convince them to start a recycling scheme start collecting the recycling with your starts separating everything that was recyclable.   

 

Dennes:   We even,  for a long time,  collected all the hair clippings, and we donated them to a local factory that turned them into mats that were then sold to car garages, because hair is extremely good at absorbing oil.  

 

Dennes:   So, they were used to put underneath the cars when they were doing the services and they were changing the oil In the car, and any drips would fall on the hair mat, and that would absorb it, rather than it falling on the floor and then having to use harsh chemicals to clean it all again. Yeah, I mean, that was just the start of the journey. So, from then on, we just - everything we do - we are always looking at what is the impact that it has on the environment to create this? What is the potential impact that it has on the people around who are using this service or this product? And what is the impact that it has when it's been discarded? Oh, it's done its job. 

 

Daniel:   Yeah, I think it's really amazing that from that one comment, I mean, I'm sure there was more to it. But for the sake of the story, you know, that one comment that the midwife made to Tabitha it went so much further than just don't color your hair and now as you said, It went all the way to use switching your electricity provider and donating the hair clippings. And so it's incredible how it was such a positive snowball effect from just let's stop using harsh chemicals on our on our hair and scalp to let's take a look at it from a holistic point of view on how everything we do is affecting not only our health but the environment as well.   

 

Dennes:   And all these things are connected, I love that you use the word holistic because that is exactly - we never use a word but all our clients and everybody around us didn't understand the word organic. This was in 1999,  how can I sell them to be organic?   

 

Daniel:   Right.   

Dennes:   This was before organic foods were introduced in the supermarkets as well. So, it was for a lot of people was a complete - and of course they couldn't understand - and especially not the in combination with a hair salon. 

 

Daniel:   Sure, yeah, I think you're absolutely right it is holistic. And, it takes into account much more than just what you're doing at the salon because I think in order to be a leader or to really make a change or a difference in the world, you really need to kind of go all the way. And by going all the way then other people can say, oh, well, I'll do a little bit of what they do. And by doing that, and having other people just make a little change by following you, you're creating that chain reaction. 

 

Dennes:   Absolutely, I mean, I don't think, you know, I would definitely not want to put ourselfves forward as an example because it's been extremely hard work. What we're trying to do is, near enough, impossible - the goal we set you know. We should be one to eradicate all harmful chemicals from our industry. The hair industry is one of the biggest industries in this world within the beauty sector, that's the, you know, that's setting the goal really high. But just by making one tiny little change and the snowball effect that can have, if everybody would be doing that, we can make a huge difference.   

 

Daniel:   Yeah 

 

Dennes:   Huge difference.   

 

Daniel:   Absolutely, and going down that route, because that is quite a lofty goal as you're saying, eradicating all harmful ingredients in the hair industry. So, I'd love to hear, first of all, and you've already outlined this to a certain degree. So, I guess what I'd love to hear is more about what it is exactly that you're doing. I think it'd be interesting to kind of compare and contrast first what is considered quote unquote, normal or mainstream. And then have you tell us about what you do at TJK with your products and why it's so different and perhaps the challenges with that. So, if we start with kind of, how normal hair care for products are made. Is there any kind of, I guess rule of thumb in terms of you know, when you go to just a supermarket or a drugstore and you see, a five dollar,  five pound bottle of shampoo, for example, on the shelf, how are those products typically made? What's what goes into that?   

 

Dennes:   So, it was Mr. Schwarzkopf who looked at that at that problem and looked at other industries and how they solved oil related issues. And he discovered that in the factories, they were using an ingredient called Sodium laureth sulfate. That was designed to degrease the engines to get all the oil out. And they also use it if there were like, big oil spills on the floor to mop up and to get all this oil from the floor.   

 

Daniel:   Right. 

 

Dennes:   Very effective and, but also very cheap so he came up with the idea that if he used that ingredients or no in the water base formulation, and put it in a bottle, it would help if it's going to degrease, oil and from engines it was it's also going to be very effective at getting that oil out of your scalp. So that was how the modern version of shampoo was born. It was born out of an out of a solution to get rid of the oil that our body naturally produces. So instead of brushing your hair and spreading it through the length of your hair to protect it, just get rid of it. And then we'll stop your hair from the become greasy. Now I don't know about you, but you know when I heard that story, the first time I heard a story I was quite skeptical about using a really harsh synthetic men made chemical that is designed to mop up oil spills from a factory floor and degrease engines to put that on my on my scalp to wash my hair with didn't sound right to me.

 

Daniel:   Yeah, absolutely. 

 

Dennes:   Now up to this day so 110 years later from when he first made the formulation, I would say at least 99% of shampoos and body wash as well still have this ingredient as the main surfactants, the main working ingredients after water in the formulation. 

 

Daniel:   Yeah soon as you said I recognize the name right away I've seen it 100,000 times on every anything that's soap based, you see Sodium laureth sulfate, 

 

Dennes:   Exactly because it's very cheap, it's very cheap to make. Which is why you can buy a bottle of shampoo or body wash for one pound, right because the main ingredient domain, the most surfactant is super cheap to make. Now there's two big problems with that, your skin is supposed to have a protective layer of oil of course. If you if he would look at your hand and you move it around in the light you see that soft sheen.   

 

Daniel:   Yeah.   

 

Dennes:   It's a protective layer of oil that's there to protect your skin but also to keep the moisture inside. And we have that on our on our scalp as well. What I was referring to earlier is that our scalp actually produces slightly more oil with the intention that we brush it through our hair to feed our hair to moisturize and to protect our hair. So when you start using something that strips that all away, your body goes into a sort of an adverse reaction, because well, that was meant to be so I'm going to make a bit more and before you know what you get stuck In the in the perpetual circle. Because you'll find that the more you wash with a SLS or other synthetic strong detergent-based product, the more your body starts producing oil, the quicker you will feel your hair will feel greasy. So, during our research when we discovered that one of the first things, we looked at this as like this is a big problem. And of course, these harsh synthetic ingredients are so damaging to the hair that you don't need to use other products to rectify the damage that the shampoo has done. 

 

Dennes:   Well that's obviously serving the companies that make hair care products really well because they can then sell you a conditioner and a mask and the treatment and a this and a that to rectify the damage that their shampoo did in the first place. But when we first discovered this and the we really got to grips of what was going on here, we set out to create something that helped people to break that cycle to help them to stop washing all the time and wash so often and to help to regain that balance the scalp - balance the natural oil production. So, the first the first thing we did is we created a 100% natural dry shampoo which was completely made with botanical grown ingredients that all have the ability to absorb excess oil without taking it all away. So using natural ingredients like rice, potato burdock root, all grinded down into fine powders and they all have their different functions into absorbing excess oil, refreshing the scalp, dislodging dirtafter brushing out, to removing grease, making your hair feel like it's been washed and we added some essential oils as well so your hair also smells clean. Because very early on in our journey we discovered it a lot of people wash their hair because they wanted to smell nice, they want it to smell like the fragrance of the shampoo has, not because the hair is dirty. 

 

Dennes:   So  that started the journey into that was that was our first haircare product that we made. We made it initially for our salon guests when we discovered this and when we were educating them on the perpetual circle that they got themselves trapped in and the solution that they were asking for; how do I stop this? Because if I don't wash my hair, it feels awful. It feels greasy, it is my scalp itches. I get dandruff is a famous one as well as when people have little bits of skin from the scalp falling down on their on their shoulders. They call it dandruff, but that's not dandruff, that’s just really dry skin that's breaking off, that's tissue skin, which is caused by over washing it with a detergent, strong synthetic detergent-based shampoo - it dries out your skin.

 

Daniel:   So, if I need to get some new shampoo or soap or any real kind of product to wash, one thing I should look out for is that sodium laureth sulfates ingredients.   

 

Dennes:   Yeah,   

 

Daniel:   Yeah. Is there anything else that we should watch out for? 

 

Dennes:   Yeah, there is a whole list of course. It's not the only one there's a whole list of really harsh, man-made synthetic detergents that are commonly being used in the hack and body wash products; they are quite easy to find on the internet. There is a really good resource again, it's quite well known if you would go to the internet and you look for skin for the skin-deep database, you go to the website called ewg.org. So, it's a cosmetic database, it’s one of the oldest, longest established databases where you can research ingredients that by law always have to be put on the bottle of the product. So if you have a product that you're not sure about in your hand, turn it around and the ingredients will be on it by law they have to and any ingredient you're not sure about and I would always say the first five ingredients are the most important ones you can type in on the EWG skin the database. And they will give you some more background about where the ingredient comes from, whether its man-made , natural, any scientific research that has been done that has proven that it might have adverse reaction on you, the environment, etc. 

 

Daniel:   That's really helpful. You mentioned in your dry shampoo that you're using 100% natural ingredients. And I was reading on your website that you have a very specific way in terms of how you source these ingredients, and what you look for when you when you get them. So, can you tell us a little bit about what ingredients you're using? 

 

Dennes:   Well, we use a lot of different ingredients our formulations are quite complicated. In that we don't necessarily believe that less is more. When we formulate something, we have a really good understanding about what each botanical will bring to a particular issue that we're trying to address. And if we design the product and we want to introduce multiple raw ingredients or botanical ingredients, to make a combination to address multiple issues and create a haircare product that is going to be usable by people with different kinds of hair types as well. So, we don't believe in marketing tricks like we make one product for somebody with curly hair and another product for somebody with straight hair and dry hair and whatever, we make products that work for all hair. 

 

Daniel:   Right, and as far as the ingredients and you source organic ones, and I've also read that they're primarily local, is that right? 

 

Dennes:   If it can grow in the UK, we will source it from the UK, and we will source it from a Soil Association certified UK farm grower. Soil Association for people who are not aware about it is the longest established independent charity in the UK that certifies if a farmer or anybody who grows anything from the ground, any botanicals does not use pesticide or artificial fertilizers. And that the land that they grow on has not been treated for at least 10 years before they start growing on it. That no GMO is introduced and that they respect wildlife - does not test their ingredients on animals, etc. And we are, actually, a Soil Association Certified brand because they will also certify cosmetics. And again it's a similar issue, I mean, if you going to spray something on the crop that is capable of killing an insect, then I'm not sure if I want to eat that crop afterwards, no matter how much time it's been washed. If it can kill an insect, then it's, you know, I'm not sure if it's going to do much good for me.   

 

Daniel:   I think that’s fair and so is that the kind of the thought process in terms of why you're using organic ingredients in your products?   

 

Dennes:   Yeah, because organic effectively is a measurement of the degree of how natural something is. The biggest frustration that we come across on every day, and it's in the last few years, is actually really escalated, is that our industry - the beauty industry - is not regulated at all when it comes to using terms like natural and organic. So, the food industry is regulated. So, and this is a worldwide agreement. If you are going into a shop and you buy an apple which is certified organic, then no matter where in the world that is grown, it is passed by the same standards to make sure that it is an organic apple which means it is not being sprayed or grow with artificial fertilizers. In the beauty industry, unfortunately, that legislation does not exist. So, this means that anybody who puts a drop of an organic ingredients into their bottle, meaning that the total amount of the organic ingredients in the in the whole formulation might only be 0.1% can put on that it's an organic product and get away with it. There's no regulation, this they're not going to be held accountable by anybody if they do that.   

 

Daniel:   So your certification with the Soil Association is basically you saying that actually we are truly organic because the Soil Association which is a regulating body that looks at food and creates a specific set of standards, they have looked at your products and have said, yes, this passes this pre-determined criteria. 

 

Dennes:   Yeah, they are an independent organization. And everything we create has to first be approved by them. Every single ingredient we source we have to disclose exactly where we get them and from who. They will backtrack and find out exactly who this person is, where it was grown, how it was grown, how it was process, what happened in between, how it was transported to us, and the footprint that it had. 

 

Daniel:   Wow. 

 

Dennes:   Every single ingredient, everything is being locked, everything's being checked. No animals have been hurt. It is it is a complete audit of everything we do by independent auditor effectively who specializes in making you know in making sure that this is all gentlemen organically done.  

 

Daniel:   That's incredible.   

 

Dennes:   And it's not just a one-off process. We get inspected once a year - we get a huge inspection. 

 

Daniel:   Incredible, I would imagine that you wear that Soil Association badge with pride considering that anyone can say that they're organic, but your organic and verified and certified, 

 

Dennes:   Certified yeah, and that's the thing, it's you know, we have nothing to hide here. We're doing this because we believe in it or not because it happens to be in fashion. 20 years ago, people wouldn't even think twice about buying a new sweater or dress every week or two week and throw them out after wearing them two days because you know you buy a new one again because you've had those for your work for two days.   

 

Daniel:   No. 

 

Dennes:   And, things are changing you know people are aware about the huge amount of damage to the environment, the way people that actually are making these clothes are being treated and its really horrendous industry. The beauty industry is not far removed from those practices either. It's a huge industry with vast amounts of money going around. So, in the last five years, what we've seen is that there hasn't been any significant growth in terms of the turnover in the industry. But there has been huge growth to people wanting natural organic transparent brands, and of course, the big boys who were having a, you know, a 99.9% of the market share, they are losing out. Because if the overall economy or if the overall industry doesn't grow, but only one segment within the industry grows which is mainly small independent brands trying to do the right thing, trying to be more aware and more sustainable about how to create these products, paying fair wages, paying back into society and donating to charities, then these big boys are going to want a slice of that as well.   

 

Dennes:   So, what we're seeing at the moment is well-established companies have been around for a long time and has been using the same formulation of Mr. Schwarzkopf initially created 110 years ago, they just add a few drops of magic organic something to their formulation. And now they're also clean and sustainable and natural using all the best words and marketing words that they think will sell their products again to that new generation is coming through. The millennials and the generation set that are looking for authentic, products.   

 

Daniel:   Yeah, and it's interesting because if you take a look at the organic products. Well, these ones that you're specifically referring to. In terms of their pricing there, they are more expensive than a one pound bottle of soap that you can get, you know, at some drugstores. I do remember you mentioning at the end of the day that actually, even though the prices are different, your products aren't necessarily more expensive once you factor in a number of different things. So, can you tell us a little bit about TJK product pricing and kind of the thought process behind it and whether they are indeed more expensive or not? 

 

Dennes:   So, that’s a really interesting question then the all and one that I get asked a lot, because we charge 25 pounds for a bottle of shampoo, which to a lot of people seems a lot of money. 

 

Daniel:   Right?   

 

Dennes:   You have to remember that going back to what I was saying earlier, the reason why we developed this product is because we're trying to break the endless cycle of having to wash your hair every single day. So, the products the products we've created are designed to help to rebalance the natural equilibrium of your body to work with your body and in harmony with your body and your scalp and natural oil protection in particular. So, when you first would start using a Tabitha James Kraan product, it seems like a luxury, seems like a treat, the products are scented with aroma therapy, certified organic essential oils, and it's an experience it's like a spa at home. But as you start using the products and you replace your previous shampoo, you'll start to notice a difference happening in the way your body is reacting, resulting over time that instead of you feel like you have to wash your hair, it becomes a choice. And clients that have been using our products for you know, more than you know, for years now, they've come to a stage where they can easily go two weeks in between washes.

So, although it seems a very high expense - 25 pounds for bottle of shampoo in the first instance - if you take into account that it can achieve, you only have to wash your hair once a week. And you do the calculation so that effectively in the long term, it is the same cost as a one-pound bottle you buy in a supermarket. Our products are also highly concentrated they're made with Aloe Vera juice rather than water. You don't need to use this much. You know, there's a lot. There's a lot more than just a price point when you start comparing products with each other. 

 

Daniel:   Yeah, absolutely and I think that's an It's a really good point I think it's kind of like the argument of sometimes investing in an expensive pair of jeans assuming that they actually are high quality because high quality jeans will last you potentially for years and they may cost you know four or five times as much as kind of the cheaper jeans. But cheaper jeans you'll need to replace maybe once or twice a year and so by the time that your high-quality jeans actually need replacing you've bought you spent the same amount if not more on cheap jeans. 

 

Dennes:   Well I mean, I think you know you're knocking the nail on the head and this is the you know, when it comes down to sustainability because I don't know about you but my first washing machine literally last 30 years. And it was still going strong. The only reason I haven't got it anymore is because I didn't want to move it to England, so I gave it to a friend when I when I left the Netherlands   

 

Daniel:   Are they still using it? 

 

Dennes:   It’s still going now! So, that washing machine is about 50 years old, you know. And since I've lived in England, I've already had to buy three washing machines. Because it got to a stage where yeah, of course, things break down. But it got to a stage where it was actually more expensive to fix the machine than it was to buy a new one. Because we've demanded that everything has to be as cheap as possible now and the whole economic system is driven towards making things available at the cheaper a price as possible at the sacrifice of the quality. And you can still get quality but the few companies that remain in the world that built truly quality products. They have to now charge such vast amounts. It's not accessible for us anymore. It's just not we can't afford it anymore, because they've been pushed out of the mass consumer markets by the dry-freezing competition, to the extent that their prices are now an in affordable for most of us.   

 

Daniel:   And with that kind of as the backdrop and what I'm interested in knowing about is really, based on everything we've talked about so far, and kind of from your experience and point of view, would you say that sustainability is sustainable? Meaning, does it actually make sense from a financial standpoint for both consumers and companies and organizations to focus on being environmentally friendly, kind of from a financial standpoint? Because if it's not financially viable, then it's hard to justify actually continuing doing something? 

 

Dennes:   It's really good question. And it's not a simple answer at the moment the way the economy is working, is going to be very hard to introduce a new way of thinking, that is going to be sustainable in the long term. One of the issues that the Soil Association is battling with is that there is an argument that we can't - they're simply not enough land to grow organic ingredients to feed the whole world. But on the other side, actually, by creating that lands It would also bring back so much biodiversity, that our food resources will become available than we've lost. We've lost a lot of resources in the way that consumerism, capitalistic, economic cycle has taken us to. 

 

Dennes:   It becomes acceptable to just buy a new product because the first one is broken or to buy a new sweater because you've already wore it once, then all those resources that were required to make it are being discarded and often not even given to somebody else, but go into landfill. So, it's not a question if it would be sustainable, to become more aware about the limited resources we have. I think it's more that the way we live now is not going to be sustainable. 

 

Daniel:   Yeah, so, we don't really have a choice. We need to make it work. 

 

Dennes:   I mean, look around you, I notice, I'm not quite sure when this interview is going live, but we've got a huge conference coming up again, climate strikes all around the world. People are waking up to the fact that people are becoming aware that we've gone over the tipping point now, and it's early days, but we are starting to  see the effects that humans have had on nature and the negative effect on the balance is starting to show up in climate change. Sustainability, therefore the only way I see it is to always take what you can replace, or what nature can naturally replenish. And that is true sustainability. I love the brands that work with bamboo. Bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants in the world so it can literally grow a meter in a day.  And in the salon, we've got some amazing organic briefs you know like basic underwear and leggings and they are so comfortable. They're so breathable, and the bamboo that they're made of, was grown back within a day of making this clothing out of them. 

 

Daniel:   Yeah.   

 

Dennes:   They last forever, and this is real sustainability. I have no issue with, with you know with taking from nature and using resources and developing and building a better world for everybody. I mean that's what we all want to do we want. We want to make life more interesting, more comfortable. You want to eradicate disease. We want everybody to be more content and to be happier. But it can only be done if the resources that we use to achieve that goal and not completely deplete it. 

 

Daniel:   Yeah! 

 

Dennes:   And this is the path that we're on at the moment, and that is not going to be sustainable of course. 

 

Daniel:   That's very true. And so, what can people listening to this podcast do to be eco-friendlier in their daily lives, 

 

Dennes:   If you really want to be eco-friendlier, take your shoes off, take your socks off, and walk on the grass and go outside and go into nature. Now, most of us live way too much of a time, insights in buildings, a way away from nature. And it's that disconnect, you were a part of nature we made out of the same building blocks in the same, the same atoms in the same cells as trees and animals out. And we should never forget that we should never allow ourselves to be to be separated from that which What is what has been happening? So, if you want to become more sustainable and more eco aware and then keep start going out as much as you can, 

 

Daniel:   Yeah. 

 

Dennes:   Every opportunity you have go out there and enjoy being outside and breathing in fresh air. 

 

Daniel:   I think it's, that's a great suggestion and oftentimes when you do go out in nature, you end up feeling refreshed and rejuvenated and just kind of overall in a in a much better and healthier state of mind. So, thank you so much for your time. I think nyou took us on an incredible journey with a lot of twists and turns and very interesting facts and things that I don't think we've ever at least I certainly had no idea about. So, if people wanted to learn more about Tabatha James Kraan as a brand or as a person, where could they go to find you and find more information and what you're doing 

 

Dennes:   Well, they can, they can ideally come and visit us in one of our salons in the UK. 

 

Daniel:   Okay. 

 

Dennes:   That would that would be amazing because then you would really get to experience everything that... all the changes that we've been trying to instigate here in the last 20 years in our in our industry, but alternatively, they can visit our website and find out where other partners TJK partners across the world are, and they can go and visit them. If you're in America or any Canada or Europe anywhere. We've got partners all over the world now that have joined our journey and are sharing our message and they're all educated directly by Tabitha and they share a same philosophy so if you go to tabathjk.com then you can find the you can find all these just wonderful...this this network of friends all across the world. 

 

Daniel:   Excellent, well, it's great to know that regardless of where you are you have access to the high-quality products and to the expertise that Tabitha has as far as being a hair geek and passing that knowledge on to others.   

 

Dennes:   Absolutely.

 

Daniel:   Thank you so much really appreciate it.

 

 

Thank you very much for listening to this episode.

 

If you’d like to learn more about Dennes and Tabitha James Kraan Organic Hair Dressing, please visit their website at tabithajameskraan.com, or like their Facebook page, @TJKorganic. You can also follow them on twitter  @TabithaJK for more updates!

 

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