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Meet Maria Ferrer Riggert and Nicole Brunz Hunt of RUUT Salon

Today we’d like to introduce you to Maria Ferrer Riggert and Nicole Brunz Hunt.

Maria and Nicole, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
We are Maria Ferrer Riggert and Nicole Brunz Hunt, owners and founders of RUUT Salon. We met in 2005 while working as Junior Hair Stylists for a local Aveda pioneer salon here in Atlanta. We both relocated here from out of state, at age 19, seeking to grow our dreams and careers. We shared an enthusiasm for the beauty industry, for our craft and for business. Those things really united us over the years, forming an incredible professional bond and simultaneously fostering an invaluable friendship.

For a decade, we worked alongside one another, growing our careers on very parallel paths and always looking for what lay ahead. In 2013, we reached a place in our lives that seemed to define what the next chapter for us needed to be. There we were, new mothers, overwhelmed with urges of empowerment and inspiration to truly honor our goals and dreams. We decided it was time to build something together — something permanent, something honorable, a business, a culture, an environment people love. So, we went for it! We opened the doors of RUUT Salon together in June of 2015. Though we planned to open with a small team of people by our sides, it didn’t actually pan out that way.

We were the only two hair stylists and we had one additional team member solely dedicated to working our front desk as Salon Experience Specialist. It remained that way for the first few months. Somehow, even though we were constantly working and playing catch up, this didn’t ever make us feel defeated or even fearful. We actually have very fond memories of those first few months and that entire first year. We wouldn’t change a thing.  We learned more in that first year than we could’ve ever anticipated. Today, we have a team of seven individuals and together we have achieved so much and formed incredible relationships within our community.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
We are extremely grateful that so many elements and milestones of this journey have been so smooth. Pursuing business ownership and opening RUUT Salon proved to truly be “our path of least resistance.” We believe we pulled the trigger at the right time and we knew this path was for us. We have also experienced an incredible amount of kindness and support from those around us. Having others rallying and believing in our success has been such an honor, as well as encouraging and ultimately vital in our pursuits.

We certainly didn’t expect that this venture would be without its challenges. We have experienced very normal hurdles. Growth doesn’t come without challenges and glory is found in overcoming challenges. Our most time-consuming challenge has been developing the right team for our culture. We have been successful in finding wonderful team members along the way. We have retained some of them and have lost others to relocation.

The time it takes to replace each team member who leaves takes away from other areas of productivity for our entire team. We are still continuing to grow our team and our brand — this investment of time and energy that it takes to build the right team is to be expected. We have a very specific vision and we are dedicated to slowly finding the right individuals who will continue to bring that vision to life.

Please tell us about RUUT Salon.
We are a small, boutique Aveda Exclusive salon with a modern yet intimate feel. We really aim to have our environment honor our guests, as well as our team, and to be a place that is enjoyable for everyone. As a team, we all share in the common goal of wanting to build relationships, solve challenges and provide the best results for each guest.

In our service, we focus on the mastery of hair color, cutting and design artistry to better deliver exquisite contemporary and classic trends to our guests. Our team takes hair design and haircare to an entirely different level. Three of our four hairstylists are continuously involved in New York Fashion Week (NYFW), which takes place in February and September each year. We continue to grow in our craft and in our relationships with each season that we attend. It also allows us to bring a unique artistic perspective to the salon team and guests that are not offered in many other salons. Having involvement and participation in NYFW allows our team to offer a broadened scale of hair trends and design that hugely translates to our work within the salon.

Beyond hairstyle customization, we believe in providing added value to each experience. We offer complimentary experiences with every visit, for every guest. Upon arrival, each guest is welcomed to enjoy our complimentary signature beverage, 100% Certified Organic AVEDA Comforting Tea. This herbal refreshment is a true gift for your body and senses, served soothingly warm all year, and delightfully iced during warmer months. We believe in honoring every guest with a complimentary Scalp Balancing Treatment + Massage with every shampoo experience. As our guests recline with warm towels and a blanket in one of our massaging shampoo chairs, we balance the scalp with a tension relieving and impurity cleansing massage using our AVEDA Botanical Scalp Treatment and Cooling Balancing Oil.

The key to achieving healthy hair must begin with a healthy foundation. We are committed to transforming and maintaining the condition of our guests’ hair and style, from root to tip. Though we specialize in hair care services, we are an Aveda Exclusive Salon offering Aveda’s variety of beauty and wellness-related products. Our naturally derived spread of products includes makeup, skin care, body care and hair care. This helps us satisfy an extent of needs for our guests with the correct regimen to maintain their desired results at home.

What are your plans for the future? What are you looking forward to or planning for – any big changes?
At the moment, it feels like this question could be answered endlessly. Being that we are only approaching our third anniversary in June, we are continuing to follow our initial goals, set new goals, and evaluate the big picture. Short term, we intend to prioritize time towards more frequent session styling, which is to creatively design hair for photoshoot work. This outlet for our team is integral for keeping artistic inspiration alive. In the past, we’ve excessively coordinated or “over planned” session styling, which makes it more time-consuming to execute. We have realized that creating together, as a team, is the more imperative need. We need to remove the stigma of “having the perfect plan” and focus more on ceasing moments.

Long term, our focus will be to continue building our involvement in New York Fashion Week (NYFW). Many opportunities have been exposed within these NYFW experiences and we are continuing to discover even more. We have built relationships with incredibly talented artists within the network, both nationally and internationally. We are eager to continue growing within those developing opportunities. With all of the growth and opportunity, we’ve experienced together as a team, learning where and how to grow from here is exciting. It feels like anything is possible based on the talent and drive of the individuals we have on our team.

Pricing:

  • Man’s Haircut $50+
  • Woman’s Haircut $55+
  • Child’s Haircut $40+
  • Base Color $65+
  • Grey Blending $65+
  • Foil Dimension $90+
  • Balayage Dimension $110+
  • Shampoo + Blow Dry $40+
  • Toner / Gloss Color $20+
  • Aveda Botanical Hair Conditioning Treatment $25+
  • Iron Styling (Curls, Waves, or Straight) $20+

Contact Info:


Image Credit:
John Perez

Getting in touch: VoyageATL is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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