Sustainable Salons automated direct bank payments with GoCardless to cut financial admin and streamline the customer journey.
of members pay with GoCardless.
hours per week of data entry saved.
Sustainable Salons is a social enterprise that collects waste from hair salons, barbers, beauty salons, dermal clinics & pet groomers in Australia and New Zealand. It then recycles that waste into several socially and environmentally responsible products, and donates 100% of the profits back to communities.
These include the Hair Boom, which is made from hair cuttings and used to mop up oil spills, and medical wigs that help reduce costs for parents when their child is going through alopecia or cancer.
“We’ve also found a way to release the nutrients from waste hair cuttings so it can be used as fertilizer, and 100% of the proceeds from our recycled hairdressing foil go to providing meals for the homeless,” said Paul Frasca, Co-founder, Sustainable Salons.
Sustainable Salons currently has over 1,500 salons across Australia and New Zealand signed up as members, and 77,000 consumers have selected their salon through Sustainable Salons’ directory - equating to up to $6m injected into the hair care industry*.
Big banks meant big admin
Sustainable Salons charges its members weekly, and needed a payment provider who could handle the volume of payments it had coming in and out.
“We want our members not to have to think about their payment and whether their money was collected correctly,” said Paul. “We want them to have a seamless journey and GoCardless provides that, enabling them to get on with the business of doing hair and making their clients look good.”
Before GoCardless, Sustainable Salons worked with the big four banks in Australia and New Zealand to process their Direct Debit payments. This led to anything but the seamless journey Paul had in mind, and the team would often be sending up to 40 emails a week chasing banks for answers.
“Working with the banks came with a lot of red tape,” said Paul. “We were introduced to GoCardless through our work with Arcturious, who have been instrumental in digitizing and automating our operations around the Salesforce platform.”
Arcturious is an award-winning business consultancy that uses strategy, empathy, technology, and curiosity to take a human-centered approach to digital transformation programs.
“To help make Sustainable Salons’ sales and billing process more efficient we looked into the payment solutions that plugged into the Salesforce CPQ system,” said Michael Diamond, Director and Founder, Arcturious. “We found that most worked great if you're in America, but not in Australia and New Zealand, and not if you have more than one legal entity. GoCardless stood out because it has a native integration with Salesforce and our chosen payment gateway, Asperato - and the combination of the three allows customers to deal with complexity.”
Three industry-leading technologies
These integrations have allowed Sustainable Salons to combine those three industry-leading technologies into a seamless sales, quoting, sign-up and payment process.
“On the payment side, as each weekly subscription becomes due these requests are pushed to Asperato and through to GoCardless for automatic collection,” said Michael. “Previously that process depended on manually entering the same data into Salesforce, the payment gateway, and Sustainable Salons’ accounting system over and over.”
Now, with truly automated processes in place, Sustainable Salons is saving a significant amount of time on admin.
Combing through your supply chain
Not only do big banks equal lots of admin, they also often have unfriendly environmental practices that risked undermining Sustainable Salons’ work. For Paul, part of using your business for change is being aware of your supply chain, especially when greenwashing is rife in the financial services industry.
“When it comes to partnerships, we always look first at the product that they have, and then we also make sure that they have the right value sets to grow with us,” he explained.
Paul’s ideal payment provider was one with a strong net zero policy that wasn’t creating unnecessary landfill through credit card production, which led him to GoCardless. “What was amazing about GoCardless, not only as a product, is that they also had sustainability values plugged in,” he added.
Cutting financial admin
Sustainable Salons provides customers with a number of ways to pay but Paul’s clear preference is for direct bank payments.
“We encourage customers to choose Direct Debit because it offers the most seamless integration within our systems,” said Paul. “More than 75% of members pay with GoCardless, which has saved 20 hours per week of data entry for our finance team.” That means more time to focus on meaningful work that creates impact.
By increasing visibility into failed payments GoCardless has also helped Sustainable Salons to improve cashflow.
“It used to be super complicated to work with our banks to resolve failed payments,” said Paul. “GoCardless gives us real-time information on failed payments so we can react quickly to solve the problem and minimize cashflow disruptions. Sustainable Salons is growing exponentially, and this will only become more important as we scale.”
A worthwhile investment
Paul has run businesses since the age of 19 and says it’s hard to understate the importance of payment infrastructure, whatever business you’re in.
“I've learned you've got to make sure you build the right payment infrastructure – every business has to accept money somehow,” he said. “But if you try to do it on the cheap it only ends up costing you more in the long run.”
This means that Sustainable Salons look for partners that offer more than a great product.
“We always make sure they have good customer service and that we’ll never be delayed when problems do occur,” said Paul. “And they must have an easy API infrastructure that our software teams can work with to integrate across our platforms.”
GoCardless delivers on all fronts, according to Paul: “Working with GoCardless has been a great relationship so far, and we hope the relationship will stay strong because it will be key for our growth for many years to come.”
*this value is based on the average salon appointment receipt of $150 and the total book now clicks Sustainable Salons has received via their Salon Directory.