How Jacquelyn Rodriguez, The Clean Beauty Biz Coach Is Helping to Promote Sustainability and Climate Justice
An Interview With Monica Sanders
Start small, but start now! Don’t let the enormity of the challenge overwhelm you. Every little step towards sustainability and climate justice counts, and it’s never too late to start making a positive impact.
According to the University of Colorado, “Those who are most affected and have the fewest resources to adapt to climate change are also the least responsible for the greenhouse gas emissions — both globally and within the United States.” Promoting climate justice is an incredibly important environmental responsibility that is slowly becoming more and more recognized. In this interview series, we are talking to leaders who are helping to promote sustainability and climate justice. As part of this series, we had the pleasure of interviewing Jacquelyn Rodriguez.
Jacquelyn Rodriguez is a trailblazer in the eco-friendly beauty industry, inspiring others to embrace sustainable practices and ethical values. Her commitment to creating a positive impact in the world is evident in her work as the founder of Enlightened Styles a holistic salon, keynote speaker, and The Clean Beauty Coach. Through her Clean Beauty Biz Method, she empowers beauty professionals to create profitable businesses while making a meaningful difference in their communities. Her passion for promoting a better future for all is truly inspiring, and her message of kindness and sustainability is one that resonates with audiences worldwide.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit. Can you tell us a bit about how you grew up?
Growing up in Harrisonburg, Virginia, I was surrounded by the beauty of nature and the warmth of a tight-knit community. It was my mother’s home town and My father had moved there all the way from Uruguay, and he fell in love with the town’s charm. Our family was incredibly close, and we always found joy in good food, lively music, and laughter.
As a young girl, I was bursting with creativity, and I loved to express myself through various art forms like dancing, singing, and painting. But it wasn’t until high school that I discovered my true passion: cosmetology. There was something about the world of beauty that sparked a fire within me, and I couldn’t wait to dive in.
Fast forward to graduation day, and I had achieved a rare feat — I had earned my diploma from both high school and cosmetology school simultaneously! The beauty industry spoke to me on so many levels, from the daily conversations with clients to the endless possibilities for creativity and transformation. I was hooked!
Everyone has a cataclysmic moment or marker in their life which propels them to take certain actions, a “why”. What is your why?
I have spent many years in the beauty industry, and I’ve seen firsthand the practices that don’t align with my values. But it wasn’t until I became a parent that I truly started to think about the toxic chemicals in our daily lives. I mean, have you ever read the ingredient list on a cleaning product? Yikes!
So I started making changes at home — buying organic food, swapping out harsh chemicals for natural alternatives, and embracing a sustainable lifestyle. But then I would walk into the salon and it was like stepping into a different world. I could feel the difference in my body — headaches, skin irritations, the works. That’s when I knew I had to make changes at work too.
As the salon owner, I was in a unique position to create a cleaner and healthier environment. And it was a game-changer. Not only did I want to provide a safe place for myself and my staff, but I also wanted to offer a safe haven for our clients too.
And you know what? It worked! The positive effects were undeniable, and I knew I had to spread the word. That’s why I’m so passionate about empowering other salon owners to take these same steps towards sustainability and cleaner living. It may seem like a small change, but it can have a big impact on the world. Plus, who doesn’t love feeling good and looking good at the same time?
You are currently leading an organization that is making a difference for our planet. Can you tell us a bit about what you and your organization are trying to change?
At Enlightened Styles, sustainability isn’t just a trend, it’s a way of life. We’re serious about doing our part for the planet, and we’re proud to be certified by the Green Business Bureau.
One thing that really bugs us is the lack of transparency in many industries, including beauty. That’s why we’re committed to being open about what we’re doing, as well as where we need to improve. It’s all about being accountable to our clients and the planet.
So, what are we doing to be sustainable? Well, we use hair and skincare products that are eco-friendly and free from harsh chemicals and toxins. We also try to reduce waste by recycling and repurposing materials. For example, we partner with Green Circle Salons to recycle all of our waste, including PPE and color waste. Plus, we get creative with our glass bottles — we turn them into planters or give them to local artists who turn them into something amazing! we believe that sustainability isn’t just about the physical practices — energy plays a part too.
We’re also all about energy efficiency. We use energy-efficient lighting and equipment, and we support ethical sourcing practices when purchasing products. Oh, and we’re trying to cut down on plastic waste too. So, we use companies that use glass, aluminum, and plant-based materials instead.
We also focus on balancing the energy of the salon. We use practices like feng shui and natural elements like plants to create a harmonious and positive atmosphere. And, we support our clients in balancing their energy too. We offer services like reiki and crystal healing to help our clients feel more balanced and grounded.
And you know what? Our clients love it! They appreciate our commitment to sustainability and trust us to provide high-quality services while also prioritizing ethical practices. It’s a win-win situation!
As a coach, I’ve seen firsthand how incorporating sustainability into a business model can lead to growth and profitability. It’s amazing how much of a difference it makes for our clients too. They can feel the difference in the salon’s atmosphere and energy, and they’re proud to contribute to a business that’s making a positive impact.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company or organization?
The most interesting thing that’s happened since I started leading my company in this new direction has been the overwhelmingly positive response and the fire it’s ignited in me. When I first started out, I just wanted to run a great salon with a team of talented stylists and happy clients. I never imagined that I’d end up coaching others or becoming a leader in the movement for change in the industry.
But as I’ve gone on this journey, I’ve realized that this is my true calling. The more I’ve followed my instincts and seized the opportunities that have come my way, the more I’ve discovered that this is bigger than just owning a business. It’s a chance to make a real impact and create a movement that inspires others.
I’m humbled and grateful to be on this journey, and I’m excited to see where it takes me next. I never thought I’d be doing this, but now that I am, I can’t imagine doing anything else. The beauty industry needs change, and I’m proud to be part of the solution.
None of us can be successful without some help along the way. Did you have mentors or cheerleaders who helped you to succeed? Can you tell us a story about their influence?
I have been fortunate to have many incredible mentors throughout my career. However, my biggest supporters and cheerleaders have been my husband and kids — they always have my back! In addition to them, I have also been inspired by other coaches and business owners who have taken the brave step of not just starting their own business but creating something entirely new and unique.
Starting a business is a daunting task, but these fearless leaders went above and beyond, breaking traditional norms and creating something truly innovative. And you know what? They succeeded! These inspiring individuals not only created something new, but they also brought about real change in their industries. This is exactly what motivates me.
As a trailblazer in the beauty industry, I look up to these change-makers and aim to push boundaries, promote a sustainable future, and set new industry standards. I want to be part of the movement that leads to a better world not only for my children and grandchildren but for all future generations to come.
Their inspiring work has taught me to take bold steps and make a meaningful impact in the world. I hope that by doing so, I can serve as an inspiration to others and continue to make a positive difference in the beauty industry.
Thank you for that. Let’s now move to the central part of our discussion. Let’s start with a basic definition of terms so that everyone is on the same page. What does climate justice mean to you? How do we operationalize it?
To me, climate justice in the beauty industry means promoting sustainability and non-toxic practices that prioritize the health of both people and the planet. As a beauty industry trailblazer, I’m passionate about empowering beauty professionals to make meaningful changes in their businesses that benefit both their communities and the environment.
Let’s be real — the beauty industry has a big impact on the environment. From the production and disposal of packaging to the use of harmful chemicals in products, there’s a lot of work to be done to reduce our negative impact. That’s why I’m all about promoting sustainable and eco-friendly practices that prioritize the health of our clients and the planet.
But it’s not just about the environment — it’s also about promoting equity and inclusion in the industry. I believe that everyone deserves access to safe and sustainable beauty products and services, regardless of their race or socioeconomic status. By prioritizing sustainability and ethical values, we can create a more just and equitable world for all.
So, whether you’re a beauty professional looking to make a positive impact, or a consumer looking to support sustainable and ethical beauty practices, together we can create a better future for all and make a difference!
Science is telling us that we have 7–10 years to make critical decisions about climate change. What are three things you or your organization are doing to help?
As a leader in the beauty industry, I’m committed to doing my part in the fight against climate change. Here are three things we are doing to help:
Promoting sustainable and non-toxic products: Using hair and skincare products that are free from harsh chemicals and toxins and eco-friendly. By supporting sustainable brands and encouraging our clients to make more conscious choices, we’re reducing our impact on the environment.
Reducing waste and carbon footprint: We make a conscious effort to reduce waste by recycling and repurposing materials in the salon.
Educating and empowering others: Through my Clean Beauty Biz Method and keynote speaking engagements, I’m working to educate and empower other beauty professionals to embrace sustainability and ethical practices in their businesses. By sharing knowledge and resources, we can create a ripple effect of positive change throughout the industry and beyond.
While there’s still a lot of work to be done, I’m proud to be part of the solution and to be doing my part to help secure a better future for our planet.
Are there three things the community, society, or politicians can do to help you in your mission?
Absolutely, there are so many ways that the community, society, and politicians can support our mission of promoting sustainability and ethical practices in the beauty industry. Here are three things they can do to help:
Education and awareness: We need to raise awareness and educate people about the importance of sustainability and ethical practices in the beauty industry. Encouraging others to make conscious decisions and pushing back against societal norms can create a demand for change.
Investing in sustainable solutions: Investing in sustainable solutions can help us reduce harm and create a better future for our planet. By supporting sustainable businesses and funding their growth, we can encourage more companies to adopt sustainable practices.
Policy and regulation changes: We need policies and regulations that hold big-name companies accountable for their harmful practices and toxic ingredients. By changing laws and regulations, we can force these companies to make better choices and reduce their negative impact on the environment.
Working together, we can create a more sustainable and ethical beauty industry. It’s going to take effort from all of us, but I truly believe that change is possible.
How would you articulate how a business can become more profitable by being more sustainable and more environmentally conscious? Can you share a story or example?
You know what’s amazing? Businesses can actually make more profit by becoming sustainable and environmentally conscious. It’s not just good for the planet, it’s good for business.
Think about it. Consumers are becoming more and more aware of the impact their purchases have on the world. They want to buy from businesses that align with their values and have a positive impact. And if a business can show that they’re committed to sustainability, it can actually attract more customers and build loyalty. Now is the time for change, and businesses that adapt and shift to become more value-driven and conscious will have a real competitive advantage. I’ve seen this firsthand in my salon. By making sustainable choices, we’ve been able to attract a whole new group of clients who appreciate our commitment to ethical practices. And by using eco-friendly products and reducing waste, we’ve been able to cut costs and increase profitability.
But it’s not just about making more money. It’s about doing the right thing. It’s about creating a better future for our planet and for future generations. And by leading the way in sustainability, businesses have the power to make a real difference.
This is the signature question we ask in most of our interviews. What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started promoting sustainability and climate justice” and why?
There are definitely a few things I wish I knew when I first started a holistic and sustainable business.
1. Start small, but start now! Don’t let the enormity of the challenge overwhelm you. Every little step towards sustainability and climate justice counts, and it’s never too late to start making a positive impact.
2. You’re not alone in this. There’s a whole community of people who are passionate about sustainability and climate justice, and they’re eager to collaborate and share their knowledge and experiences with you. Reach out, connect, and build relationships with others who share your values and vision.
3. Education is power! Take the time to learn about the issues surrounding sustainability and climate justice. And don’t keep that knowledge to yourself! Share it with others, educate your family, friends, and colleagues, and inspire them to take action too.
4. Be patient and persistent. Change doesn’t happen overnight, and it can be frustrating when progress is slow. But remember that every effort counts, and every step you take is a step in the right direction. Keep pushing forward, and don’t give up on your vision of a more sustainable future.
5. Use your voice! As a promoter of sustainability and climate justice, you have a unique opportunity to inspire others and make a difference. Don’t be afraid to speak up, share your story, and advocate for the changes you believe in. Your voice matters, and it can be a powerful tool for creating positive change in the world.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. :-)
When it comes to the world of sustainability, there’s one person who truly stands out to me: Greta Thunberg. I am in awe of her unrelenting passion for this cause. The way she fearlessly stands up for what she believes in is truly inspiring. It’s amazing to see the younger generation taking charge and fighting for a better world.
How can our readers continue to follow your work online?
This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success on your great work!
About the Interviewer: Monica Sanders JD, LL.M, is the founder of “The Undivide Project”, an organization dedicated to creating climate resilience in underserved communities using good tech and the power of the Internet. She holds faculty roles at the Georgetown University Law Center and the Tulane University Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy. Professor Sanders also serves on several UN agency working groups. As an attorney, Monica has held senior roles in all three branches of government, private industry, and nonprofits. In her previous life, she was a journalist for seven years and the recipient of several awards, including an Emmy. Now the New Orleans native spends her time in solidarity with and championing change for those on the frontlines of climate change and digital divestment. Learn more about how to join her at: www.theundivideproject.org.