Five minutes with Cat Frost, founder of sustainable hair salon Kindred Human + Earth.
Interview by Carolyn Enting
Providing hair, skin, human and earth care, Cat Frost and her team at Kindred Human + Earth create beauty in an artisan and sustainable manner.
A light-filled white space filled with living plants, cane furniture and cosy throws and salon philosophy also made Kindred the perfect place for Good’s latest cover shoot!
When did Kindred open?
It treaded quietly into the iconic industrial warehouse in Douglas St like a wisp on a sage touched wind at the beginning of 2018. In the nature of the brand the opening is unassuming and gentle. A subtle sign was only added last week, six months after opening. There was no launch, the celebration is in every day, a new person discovering and delighting that they found Kindred. speaks for itself upon entering. You understand its intention to nurture without any words needed.
How is the salon philosophy brought to life?
Kindred enquires with a pioneering spirit towards challenging the one dimensional current model of a hair salon by offering something that resonates with a holistic approach and an openness to a bigger collective. Kindred in essence is tribal , connection to the community, cultures, history, heritage of our kin folk.
We have a simple maxim to create beauty with hair simply and sustainably and that means many things on lots of levels if we consider those words more mindfully. Give only good , leach nothing, waste minimally and hope that a little we can offer will permeate the community and the extended community in good and beautiful ways.
We encourage sharing of knowledge and skills and a playful approach to creativity.
What is the salon’s specialty?
Kindred has a contemporary simple artisan approach to hair. We work to celebrate the individual and the diversity of cultural influence and style of each person. We aim to work with natural and gentle colour palates and to maintain integrity of the natural hair state by supporting with the best plant based take home products. Simplicity and good design are key. We like to simplify technique for the client so that the home care is then simple too. It’s important to enquire with a holistic approach for each client’s hair service i.e.: lifestyle, health, time and to provide a colour service with home care that truly supports the integrity of the hair. Stylists are focused on providing service and honouring the individuality of our clients – we hope to provide you an opportunity to express your diversity , individual style through using our tools and expertise.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Our inspiration comes from looking at the bigger picture…. Drawing inspiration from the world around us. Sharing ideas and the partnerships we form with others which are all enriching and cross pollinating. We believe in the pioneer spirit of reaching out beyond perceived boarders and keeping dialogue open with others within and beyond our industry. I feel that Kindred invites open communication and we are enjoying the human connection with other hairdressers ,photographers, artists, scientists, musicians, creators, environmentalists, sustainably champions …. we are tuning in on all levels.
What does the name Kindred represent?
Kindred – the word speaks as its origins of meaning it speaks of our ancients and of our next of kin, clan, tribe, house, unity, commonality, collective belief.
Human + earth – involving a conscience of sustainability in regards to the earth and its inhabitants.
Human – respect and connection to the human. Nurture, relationships , mind, body, spirit. Acknowledge what it is to be human and to be an ever evolving brand who will learn from our own human mistakes and be open to the connection to other humans and their ideas. Empathy, community, spirit.
Earth – our hope is to continually strive to be protectors of the environment, using the best possible, plant-based ingredients where we can. We develop and continue to develop our own systems for minimizing waste, redistribution of waste and supporting our local community. We are working currently on being 90 per cent out of landfill.
Why did you choose the space you have?
I searched for two years for a space to house the feeling Kindred represented. Walking into the large industrial warehouse at number 42 Douglas, I felt the sense of light, air and space even on the cold wintery day of the viewing.
I also noticed the quality of natural light at all times of day, which just added to the many reasons why the site would become the beautiful studio it is today. Natural light is provided by the towering skylight gabled roof of the studio allowing for zero lights during all daylight hours and later in the summer.
The spacious site gave room for large indoor plantings which improve air quality and the sense of wellbeing to all who visit. The proximity to the city provides a retreat for clients escaping from all inner-city zones with free parking outside the door.
The studio is also private, which means clients need not feel like a shop mannequin as they have their hair done. Tick, tick, tick of many boxes for the site, not forgetting the features of the old warehouse itself such as the old tasting room left over from Supreme Coffee roasters – now my office.
The wash lounge is a no-speak zone where the shared three-seater lounger positions your body with no impact to your spine. We tuck you in with comfort blankets and eye pillows if you wish. The lighting rig over this space was engineered so we can spotlight our view while toning blondes without disturbing your experience with bright lights in your eyes.
The coffee is organic Allpress made on the mockamaster – a modern version of a classic served with a range of milks. The staff have all been taught by Allpress how to make the best brew.
We give a blessing each morning to the studio with sage and Palo Santo and yes we do hug our plants – they are all named after Persian poets.
We don’t use lights in the studio most days – the natural light is plenty and is beautiful for skin and hair tones.
Clients can move around and find spaces to lounge in the spacious studio window seats, Moroccan day beds, bamboo loungers or in NOK our espresso bunker. There is also a mediation or chill zone up in the loft.
How would you describe the Kindred philosophy?
We are creatives so we are using artisanal skills in a way to be the tool to create beauty for our clients– eliminate wasteful habits and make the experience of creating beauty simple. Consider ways to reduce rather than excess in our habits. Reduce meaning on all aspects – sensory overload – reduce this in the environment – noise, fumes, chemicals, waste, haste, lights- to bring back a simple experience with a quieter essence to the experience and to re-establish what it means to nurture – natural light, increased natural air quality, more space , the feeling of home in a commercial environment – evoke a feeling of coming home and unwinding – the focus is on mindful quality service – experiential with small gestures that we hope permeate the lives of our clients and they take something away that might impact positively on their kinfolk or their environment also. We hope to encourage people to send a sense of care message out into their extended kin .
Some of the things Kindred does:
Using plant based, cruelty free, scientifically based phytoceutical formulations Our brand partners such as Davines have carbon neutral reusable recycled packaging, organic, naturally derived products , support slow food farmers.
Our ranges are PPD, Paraben SLS, SLES free, made from 100 per cent renewable energy B Corp Certified. Our Ammonia free colour range from Davines called ‘A New Colour’ is fragrance free to minimise irritation and of course ammonia free so nothing gassing off into the environment.
We work with companies such as Sustainable Salons who help us to ensure we keep 95% of our waste out of landfill. This means we have to slow down and mindfully sort our waste so that it redistributes to its best advantage.
Some of our initiatives – We use pre used foil and recycled items where possible. Our paper, plastic and glass packaging is all recycled and repurposed including any plastic bags we receive. Any waste chemical is spun into grey water – this can be used in industry such as road works. Metals are melted and reused . Hair is collected and creates hair booms to soak oil spills in the ocean. Other hair is being stock piled to create a compostable substance which will soon be available in hardware stores for sale for your garden. Pony tails of 20 cm length are collected to make wigs for NZ children undergoing cancer treatment. The proceeds from our donated salon materials go to kiwi harvest who distribute food to those in need.
Kindred and its sister café NOK both partner with Sustainable Salons and ensure waste is repurposed or composted. sustainablesalons.org/kindred-human-earth