The Plan just opened its doors to the public last week after a busy year of renovating an old paper mill in downtown Holyoke, Massachusetts. With the help of architect Noah Modie from Oxbow Design Build in Easthampton, MA and many local investors organized through MainVest, salon owners Chelsea Falcetti and Tiffany Duchesne transformed a musty section of an old mill into a trendy and sustainable paradise. The Plan, much like traditional salons, offers professional hair, skin and beauty services but with an eco-friendly mission.
The plan is located in The Wauregan Building, which is one of several mill buildings along the canal in Holyoke that has recently had a facelift and is seeing life again. When I arrived at the building, the parking lot was surprisingly busy with activity.
I parked my truck and took a walk around to get an idea of the space. Tucked away in the various the corners of the building is a thriving community of artists and makers working side by side. I will be honest, it took some control to not poke my head into every workspace and yell “hey, watcha workin on?”
Founders and stylists Chelsea Falcetti and Tiffany Duchesne wanted to use their new business venture to breath life into a beautiful and forgotten part of the city. “We will be using our business as a force for positive change, starting with helping to revitalize downtown Holyoke,” they said.
When I spoke with the two before our session, I wanted to get a feel for the location, the customer experience, and the general “vibe” of The Plan. I wanted the photos to capture the salon’s eco-friendly mission, the reduce, reuse, recycle aesthetic of their space and practice, and their belief that beauty is for everyone.
It’s clear that The Plan is in the business of creating beauty and sustainability everywhere. As one of only two Green Circle salons in the Pioneer Valley, The Plan has partnered with the Green Circle program to be an active participant in, “the world’s first, and North America’s only, sustainable salon solution to recover and repurpose beauty waste.”
Working with Green Circle will allow the salon to minimize its ecological footprint in the local community. The Plan will “re-purpose and recover up to 95% of the resources that were once considered waste; materials such as hair, leftover hair color, foils, color tubes, aerosol cans, paper and plastics,” said Duchesne and Falcetti.
I decided to photograph the team in some of the more overgrown and falling apart sections of the mill to really capture the spirit of seeing new life in a neglected place. There was no shortage of location options and thankfully the team was willing to explore some of the more jungly corners of the mill with me.
As we walked through dark hallways and crumbly courtyards between the buildings, Tiffany envisioned a busy market full of Sunday brunchers and shoppers. She and Chelsea scrambled through a vine-filled pass for a photo opp. “Imagine sitting here at a cafe table, drinking a mimosa with your friends,” Tiffany said.
Behind a quick trim, balayage, or facial, The Plan’s mission is simple, to make beauty beautiful. This team isn’t afraid to turn a dark and dusty space into an eco-friendly wonderland because they know that beauty does not discriminate. Even an abandoned mill building can be beautiful.
“We want to make our clients not just look good, but also feel good,” they said. “We believe in compassion, self-care, positive thinking, and kindness, and will spread this in our salon every day.“