Letter from the Owners

There is no such thing as a trouble free life.

We’d take a trouble free day, but even those seem few and far between.

Trouble comes in a variety of forms, right? From irritants to crisis, and everything in between. It’s that moment I open my fridge and surprisingly find myself out of onions to seeing relationships fall apart. At work, it’s the stylist whose car breaks down, a towel shortage, an unhappy customer (they do pop up) or *that time* we closed due to a global covid pandemic.

Planning ahead helps us not run out of onions. Policies are useful to navigate the staff or client concerns that spring up. And nothing but acceptance and a sense of togetherness helps us face the big daddy issues we’ve run into this year.

Here are some ways we practice acceptance and togetherness at Refinery House:

  • No one takes on a challenging decision alone. 
  • Yes Policy — we aggressively & generously look for the yes
  • We believe people
  • Hit the pause button: we practice creating space between an incident and our reaction
  • Responsiveness: we don’t leave issues unaddressed
  • Include as many people as possible in development of plans

We have a core value at Refinery House we call: RIDING DIRTY. It speaks to our acceptance of trouble (it’s almost always coming) and our commitment to get after it together. There are countless ways this impacts our day to day operations. Historically, it’s meant teammates might take towels home to wash, answering phones on vacation, staying beyond what’s reasonable to hang mirrors and put ikea furniture together. It’s taking that garbage away that someone forgot to put out. It’s cheerfully running out to get bleach. As we’ve grown, it’s meant showing up for team meetings and each other. It’s cleaning bathrooms and dusting shelves over and over. It’s staying late for that client whose appointment got confused. It’s accepting the shifts that aren’t exactly what we would prefer. As owners, it means being ready to give time off for both physical and mental health breaks, providing training and educational resources, creating work schedules that accommodate students and single parents, receiving critical feedback that helps us get better and at times, even being a shoulder to cry on when things get tough.

The management and leadership team at the Refinery House have committed to showing up and putting our money where our mouth is. It’s been a hard year, rich with trouble. And still, thanks to YOU:

  • We’ve moved toward an equitable pay chart that reflects a living wage target 
  • We continue to invest in growth, so that more people can be part of this good thing we think we’re building. Since last May our team has grown by 5 employees.
  • We’ve supplied $28,500 worth of scholarships to our hair courses, and managed to squeeze in offering each stylist 102hrs of education. 
  • We’ve hit our 1% of revenue to charity target, a monumental achievement given the margins in this industry and an accomplishment that our whole team should be proud of, because without a doubt, we’re in this thing together.

When you visit us at the Refinery House, you’re partnering in this good work. Thank you for being with us during this year filled up with “trouble”. Cheers to the weeks and months ahead as we continue to grow and do our best to serve you.