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Meet Maria Ferrer Riggert of RUUT Salon

Today we’d like to introduce you to Maria Ferrer Riggert.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Maria. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I think the story of how my business partner, Nicole Brunz Hunt, and I got here is a beautiful one. For 9 years, Nicole and I worked side by side at an Aveda pioneer salon local to Atlanta. We met while working there at 19 years old, both having relocated here, 500+ miles away from our hometowns and families. We both shared incredibly strong work ethic and visions of building strong careers. Both coming from generations of influential small business owners and corporate leaders, we were raised in environments where hard work was a core value of daily life. From the moment we met, Nicole and I have never stopped striving for what is next – all the while, being one and others strongest supporters. During our years at that Aveda salon, we worked very closely with the salon owner, learning the ins and outs, and the good and bad, of salon and business ownership. Our roles continued to grow – from new stylists, to lead educators, to education directors, to runway stylists at Fashion Week – Nicole and I maintained complimenting, parallel career courses over the years, evolving as women, as professionals, and as friends. Then, we both became mothers. Having children completely changed our outlook on our lives and our careers. We realized it was time to show our kids and the world what we were really made of, what inspired us, what we wanted to really contribute to our industry and our community. That’s when we decided it was time to build RUUT.

RUUT isn’t just a salon. It’s an experience. It’s a strong sense of culture. It’s a place to build relationships. It’s a place of honor and support for both guests and team members. It’s a place where everyone is encouraged to find and reach his or her authentic goals. It’s a place where each person is welcomed warmly, supported and honored individually, and uplifted wholly. Nicole and I, each organically assuming complimentary roles, spent two years writing and refining our very detailed business plan, designing an intimate salon environment that honored the mission and everyone present, and budgeting every last detail for a successful start. We also wanted every detail of building and planning to be in the most dignified and honorable manner. Before we even began researching and writing a business plan, we met with our employer, thanked him for the opportunities he had provided to us over 9 years, and respectfully requested his support to move forward in our dream. Without hesitation, he gave us his blessing and supported us in stepping back from our larger roles at his salon to pursue our dreams, while still maintaining our roles as stylists there. This part of our story is one of the most profound, as it is the most uncommon of situations. This part of our story is what allowed us to maintain important relationships, begin our journey as salon owners with dignity and honor, and confirmed a true example of what leadership should be. We remained stylists, working full-time behind the chair, servicing clients and continuing to support the team we hand grown to love during our many years there. All the while, every morning, evening and “day off”, we spent strategically building our business plan for RUUT, negotiating leases, pursuing investment funds, and researching successful business strategies.

We planned every last detail of our first five years through projections and evolving benchmarks. We finally opened our doors on June 2nd, 2015 with a different reality than what we planned. We patiently spent the first year operating mostly with just the two of us. We were stylists, retail specialists, educators, inventory managers, front desk receptionists, janitors, and every role in between. Still, through the course of our first year operating, with less team members than planned, we received tremendous support from family, friends and the community and maintained success in all of our projections. As we approached our one year anniversary, things began to change for the better, because we started to acquire the team members we had dreamt of. Today, we have a team of 7 extremely talented and driven team members. Everyone has roles that they love and believe in. Everyone is grateful to be a part of this team. Everyone lives the RUUT mission every day. And from this, our guests receive an experience unlike any other. This is our dream, as it all should be.

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?
Anytime growth is pursued, it is never a smooth road. You can plan every last detail, but along with growth and pursuit, in general, comes humbling challenges.

The hurdles we have had to overcome, and will always focus to improve, are health, balance and finding the right team members. All of these things actually go hand in hand. Nicole and I have sacrificed our own health, balance, and commitments to our families for the success of our business for 4 years. In recent months, we’ve become enlightened in realizing that these habits and imbalances don’t actually make our business more successful, and in fact, they can potentially have the opposite effect. . How can we successfully run a company that promotes overall wellness of others when we are sacrificing our own wellness?

In the beginning, we didn’t have the team we envisioned. We hired based on availability of candidates, choosing the best candidate present, who may not have necessarily been the right person for our team and culture. Organically, these individuals moved on and we did, as well. We learned from these experiences, refined our hiring process, and now include a lot of elements that help to identify who is both “willing and able”. There are things you can train. Attitude and willingness are not things that can be trained. Being proactive, self-disciplined and motivated are not things you can train. Though it’s attractive when a candidate has experience, a humble willingness to learn and grow are far more valuable to us. We now have a hiring process that more effectively identifies who is right for our team and our culture. We want the environment of RUUT to be right for the candidate and for the candidate to be right for RUUT. This new process of hiring has worked so effectively that the last six people we’ve hired have felt like “growth” as opposed to “hiring”, and the ones we didn’t hire continue to maintain professional relationships with us.

Having the right people in the right roles has allowed Nicole and me to delegate more daily operational tasks and focus more on the bigger picture, moving forward. It has, also, allowed us to regain our health, personal goals and habits, which has in turn made us better leaders for our team. Nicole and I are now back in the climbing gym together (shout out to Stone Summit!) on a weekly basis, which is a vital part of our relationship with each other and with our families – something that we’ve sacrificed for nearly two years. This focus on regaining healthy habits doesn’t just stop with us. We are also encouraging our team to regain healthy habits they may have sacrificed, as well. We still have a lot of growing to do, but it is truly profound how much we’ve grown in less than two years of RUUT being open.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about RUUT Salon – AVEDA Exclusive – what should we know?
The RUUT Experience:
Our mission at RUUT is to provide an elite salon experience, specializing in the dynamic approach of precision hair color, cutting and design artistry. Using only the best naturally derived botanical hair color and hair care products, we are integrating the foundations and raising overall standards of style and wellness. We honor our guests and the world in which we live – from root to tip.

Our difference begins with the core foundation, which is our mission and culture. Each element of our salon atmosphere and experience was designed in great detail by asking one simple question – How will this honor our mission, our guests, and our team?
All of your senses are engaged and balanced during an experience at RUUT, leaving you in overall wellness. Signature AVEDA aromatherapies and complimentary 100% organic AVEDA Comforting Tea provide the initial warm welcome upon your arrival. Hot towels, massages and the cooling AVEDA Botanical Scalp Detoxifier relieve tension and uplift the body, mind and scalp. The thoughtfully composed playlist rings through the salon offering the final touches of both soothing and uplifting elements.

All of our service areas are custom designed and constructed of reclaimed barn wood, locally sourced from right here in Cumming, GA. We wanted our atmosphere to translate the mission of RUUT and AVEDA. Our haircutting and styling stations are in the shape of round tables to provide a more intimate, individualized experience. We have a designated color bar, tucked in a lower traffic area of the salon, to help provide a cozier experience for those guests who are with us for longer periods of time. We have found that the color bar has also provided guests an opportunity to socialize and build relationships with one another, while still feeling private and quaint. Along the color bar, we have reading material ranging from Aveda’s latest hair trends, to books on health and beauty, to books on wellness and habits. Our dimly lit shampoo lounge is equipped with massaging chairs. It is a guest favorite, as they receive more a spa ritual. During a shampoo service, your neck is wrapped and wresting on warm towels while your back and hips are being gently massaged by our luxurious massage chairs. During this service, each guest is treated to a complimentary Aveda Botanical Scalp Detoxifying Treatment and scalp massage. It’s a very spa-like element that leaves every guest in true wellness. This experience is delivered to every guest, regardless of age.

To carry out superior quality services and overall wellness for our team, our guests, and the world in which we live, we exclusively use AVEDA Hair Color and Hair Care Products.

The key to achieving healthy hair, must begin with a healthy foundation. This is why we offer the Aveda Botanical Scalp Balancing Treatment to every guest. In order to deliver the greatest results, we will commit to transforming and maintaining the condition of your hair, from root to tip.

We specialize in contemporary hair care services. We focus on the mastery of hair color, cutting and design artistry to better deliver exquisite contemporary and classic trends. We believe in the dynamic approach of hair design, developing styles that are tailored to each guest’s physique, lifestyle and desired results. We physically sit down with each guest, and privately consult in great length prior to beginning any hair service. We focus on how they feel about their current style, hair care products and general results at home. Beginning in April, we will actually take notes during the consultation and store the information in each guest’s digital profile in our scheduling software. We believe in the focus of transformation and growth. We prioritize the education for our team, to help nurture each individual’s strength and value, and to grow successfully to our full potential as a united team. Beyond our in salon education, we continue to seek knowledge from countless avenues. We send our stylists to a weeklong training at the Sassoon Academy in Santa Monica to receive knowledge in foundational accuracy and advanced cutting skills by the world’s leading educators. We grow immensely as individual stylists, and as a team, each time we attend and style hair at New York Fashion Week. New York Fashion Week has provided us with countless opportunities. Each season (February and September), we are backstage building relationships with the most amazing professionals in our industry and creating the latest inspiring hair trends together. We, also, send every one of our team members to advanced Aveda classes at the Aveda Institute Atlanta. We encourage each team member to design their own education path for the year, and we support them in achieving the goals they have set for themselves. We just started a new educational outlet for our team. Each month, one team member picks a “word of the month” and another team member picks a “person of the month” – any word they want and any inspirational person they want. For that month, those team members are responsible for educating they rest of the team on this word and this inspirational person, through videos, articles, phrases, books, etc. As each new team member comes on board, we have them complete a Myers Briggs personality assessment. We use these results to better support each other, communicate with one another, and to connect more effectively as a team.

We believe in a more progressive practice of business. Through advanced technology, we practice paperless business methods to lessen the size of our environmental footprint and to add convenience to the experience of all guests and RUUT Team Members.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Many!! Gratitude. Open mindedness. Humbleness. The ability to listen empathetically. Valuing relationships and valuing dignity in every move I make. Wearing many hats – service provider, salon owner, life-long learner, wife, mother, daughter, and friend. Wearing many hats allows me to empathize and relate to every person I am either trying to support or who is trying to support me.

Pricing:

  • Woman’s Haircut – $50+
  • Man’s Haircut – $45+
  • Dimensional Color (traditional foil or balayage) – $85+
  • Shampoo + Style – $35+
  • All Color & Haircut Services include a Complimentary Blow Dry Finishing Style

Contact Info:

  • Address: RUUT Salon
    3775 Windermere Pkwy
    Ste H
    Cumming, GA 30041
  • Website: www.RUUTsalon..com
  • Phone: 770-887-7888
  • Email: guestservices@ruutsalon.com
  • Instagram: @ruutsalon
  • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RUUTsalon
  • Twitter: @ruutsalon
  • Yelp: RUUT Aveda Salon
  • Other: Pinterest – RUUT Salon

1 Comment

  1. Ginger Louviere

    March 16, 2017 at 12:44 pm

    Once my student….now my teacher! Congratulations Maria. You are an amazing inspiration to both, new stylists and seasoned stylists and business owners.I am honored to have played a small part in helping you to achieve your dreams. Wishing you continued success for many years to come!

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