The Benefits of Giving Back


We are so excited to have Chelle Neff back at Beyond The Technique to share the benefits of giving back to your community! If you don’t know Chelle, you need to check out Episode 77 of our podcast to learn all about how Chelle got into the beauty industry and built the powerhouse Urban Betty Salon in Austin, TX. She has so many great insights to share about the beauty industry, but today we are talking about a topic near and dear to Chelle’s heart, which is giving back to others. Let’s see how she does it to benefit herself and her business!



Why Have a Philanthropic Pursuit?

We know that not every salon has a philanthropic mission, but Chelle is here to share why this is such an important mission to incorporate into your salon’s values! First, Chelle has noticed that giving back has helped build a great reputation for her salon in the surrounding community. Other community organizations know that they can count on Chelle and Urban Betty for a donation when it is needed. We know that the beauty industry is all about building relationships, and these ones will last a lifetime!

In addition to building respect for her salon, giving back to others has also built respect for Chelle as a leader. Chelle explains that her employees respect leaders who do good for others. This seems so simple but it’s huge—have you heard the Gandhi quote, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world” – this starts with a strong leader like Chelle!

Above all, Chelle shares that, “If you have a platform and a brand, you should utilize it to give back to the community.”

For Chelle, there isn’t a question about serving others—not only does it benefit society, but it helps your team to connect and build a higher company morale. At the end of the day, everyone wants to do good and serve others! So, what are you waiting for?!

How to Get Started!

Like many salon owners just starting out, Chelle didn’t know how to get started with involving her salon in the community. But now that she has 13 years of experience, she has some advice to share with others! First, do not get overwhelmed by the countless ways that you can serve others. She notes that “even the smallest thing that you can do is huge,” so don’t try to do something monumental right out of the gate.

With that advice in mind, start small by simply giving donations. Chelle says, “If anyone asks you for a donation, give it.” Period. Urban Betty gives out $100 gift cards for products and services to any organization that asks for a donation. Additionally, Chelle does not set a budget for giving back, and encourages you not to do so either!

Now, you might be thinking “OMG, I’m giving out all these gift cards. What is going to happen?!” Well, a lot of them won’t come back. But, Chelle stresses that this is OK. When your gift card is up for a raffle at a gala, think about how many people are going to see your branding! That is priceless! Just by giving donations, this gets your name in the community and more opportunities will come along to do even more good! (P.S. Chelle does not expect her stylists to provide free services when a client visits with one of these gift cards. You need to bite the bullet and do it for a greater good!)

Some More Ideas

Chelle sticks by her advice to start small, but her salon has come up with some awesome ways to give back! If you’re ready to take your mission to the next level, you’re sure to find some inspiration from Chelle’s events!

Clothing Swap: Chelle shared with us that the first charity event that they ever sponsored was a clothing swap! Once a year, Chelle invites all their clients to her salon (and encourages her clients to invite friends!) for a clothing swap. Their event is three hours long, women bring clothes that they no longer wear or want, and everything is free! You take what you want and leave the rest. All the clothes that are left at the end of the evening are donated to SafePlace in Austin. SafePlace is a respected agency that provides support and housing for women and their children who have been affected by domestic violence. Of course, Urban Betty also accepts monetary donations at the event.

The clothing swap was Urban Betty’s first event, and they’ve done it for the last ten years! How awesome is that! Chelle notes that over half of the women who come to the event have never been to her salon before. Although she certainly does not put on the event for the business, there is a huge benefit to people knowing that her brand gives back to the community.

Betty Brunch: With a name as cute as Betty Brunch, who wouldn’t want to come to this event? Betty Brunch is—you guessed it—a brunch hosted at Urban Betty to support Austin Classical Guitar. This is quite the event, so get ready for lots of logistical details that are needed to make an event like this successful!

First, Chelle and her team go out to other vendors in town and ask for donations. For instance, Kendra Scott always donates a piece of jewelry—simply ask and you shall receive! Urban Betty also receives generous donations from several other local businesses including restaurants and stores. These items will all be used for a ticket raffle at the Betty Brunch. This is a great way to raise money for the charity of your choice!

Second, Chelle suggests getting about 25-50 swag bags ready. As a salon owner, you’re aware of all the free products that you receive during the year, so start gathering these for your swag bags! Other items that they gather include: samples, stylist station use only products, gift cards for the salon, free blowouts, branded koozies, etc. The ideas are endless! Then, Chelle announces that the first 25-50 guests at the Betty Brunch receive a free swag bag! This is a terrific way to get people in the door as soon as the event begins! People know that Urban Betty’s swag bags are pretty legit, so they are willing to stand in line for them!

For the brunch, Urban Betty buys donuts from Krispy Kreme because they provide a generous discount on their donuts if you’re using them for a charity event. Also, Urban Betty has a connection with a local coffee shop called High Brew Coffee, and they provide all the coffee at brunch. Of course, they set up with their swag and merchandise, so they also gain great exposure! Along with the coffee and donuts, Urban Betty supplies the mimosas! Chelle reminds our readers that “you’ve got to throw some alcohol at these folks!” How true is that!

Everyone who attends Betty Brunch is required to buy at least one ticket for $5, but of course many people buy more! The tickets are used for entries into the raffle, as well as the hair braiding and curl bar. This means that all of Chelle’s stylists are expected to volunteer at the event. For Chelle’s team, giving back is part of their culture, so she doesn’t have any problems with finding staff to volunteer their time.

The Betty Brunch is normally from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm, and Chelle has 100-200 guests every year! The event is a lot of fun and a great way to raise money for Austin Classical Guitar.

Project Princess: Project Princess is a non-profit in Austin that provides prom dresses to local teenagers who cannot afford to buy a dress on their own. Many women, like Chelle, can relate to not having enough money for a high-end prom dress, so Project Princess helps make these dreams come true! Urban Betty is involved with Project Princess by being a permanent drop-off location. So, anyone in the community can drop off prom dresses or shoes at Urban Betty at any time of the year. Every couple of months, Project Princess will swing by and pick up the dresses that they’ve collected. Even if you don’t have the resources to pull off an event like the Betty Brunch, this shows that there are so many other small and powerful ways to give back!

Your Turn!   

Are you fired up about the endless ways you can give back to your community? Remember, Chelle encourages you to start small, and the opportunities, relationships, and benefits will start to snowball! To hear more about other ways you can get involved or learn more about the logistics of the Betty Brunch, be sure to listen to our interview with Chelle on Episode 117 of Beyond The Technique’s podcast. Don’t forget to connect with us on social media, and join our sister company’s private Facebook page!

Emily Kelly