If we had to guess, we'd say you probably associate applications with two things: jobs and school. Getting your hair colored, on the other hand, probably wouldn't entail telling someone a little bit about your goals—hair goals, that is. But that's how one insanely popular Los Angeles salon is doing things, and the reason actually makes a ton of sense.
To call the Ramirez Tran salon "popular" doesn't quite do the place justice. Thanks to expertly executed, artfully crafted, and customized cuts and color that, together, embody a signature cool-girl vibe, the salon became a social media sensation and one of the most sought-after destinations for hair transformations in real life. You'd be hard pressed to find someone who hasn't seen an example of co-founders Johnny Ramirez and Anh Co Tran's work on social media over the last few months. Ramirez's trademark "lived-in," low-maintenance look essentially went viral, and after we learned that he requires an application process before seeing customers, we had to know more. So we talked to him all about what it means to apply for an appointment at Ramirez Tran.
Keep reading to learn more!
The Purpose of the Application
Ramirez says he implemented the application process when he opened the salon three years ago, so it, in fact, has not been a response to the salon's viral status; although it has helped ensure his time is well spent and customers leave happy in light of tremendous growth. It applies to all first-time clients and to any clients he hasn't done in a while or who have had their hair colored somewhere else in between. The purpose is truly to obtain as much relevant information as possible before the appointment so that Ramirez can ensure your hair goals are met.
"Working at other high-volume salons and seeing how often clients come in with certain requests and damaged hair made me realize that we can have a more productive consultation if I get a chance to ask questions beforehand," he explains. "If I get to see your current hair and what your desired look is, I can come to the appointment with suggestions on treatments to get your hair ready, and looks that might complement your specific skin and eye color."
What Does the Application Entail?
The application entails your name, number, email address, and current city; photo uploads of your current hair color and of the hair color desired; and questions about whether you intend to cover any grays, whether you are maintaining your hair color or making a change (and if you are making a change, information about what don’t you like about your current hair color), previous treatments (have you ever had a Brazilian keratin treatment, henna, or vegetable dye?), your plans after the appointment (is it your wedding, etc.?); and more.
Learning how much thought goes into the process makes you wish every hair colorist in the world took this much into consideration before treating your hair. Because if you've ever been disappointed in your hair color after spending time and money to reach the desired outcome, you know it can be nothing short of emotional. Ramirez says, "Very often you have clients coming in showing photos of Rosie Huntington-Whiteley or Gisele Bündchen and they want to replicate that exact look. The problem is that not every woman can achieve what they hope to. This is because a colorist has to take skin tones and eye color into consideration, not to mention the condition of your hair."
Additionally, the application process helps him identify how much time needs to be devoted to you as a client. "If the client is going to be color correction, those can take somewhere around seven hours or longer, so this helps me when it comes to booking and letting my client know that they will need to allow the majority of their day at the salon."
What If You Don't Live in L.A.?
The application is not about "approval" or "denial," either. "I don’t like to use the word denied," Ramirez says. "If I feel that a client's hair is fried or needs major color correction, I tell them to give their hair a mini break and recommend deep-conditioning treatments, haircuts, etc. I may also have them come in so I can do a test on a couple of strands to see if the hair will take to the color nicely."
The question about your city is relevant, especially with regard to traveling clients—not just because of what it means if you're flying in from an outside city to see Ramirez for hair color, but also because of the "vibe" and trends in your city. "I think the application process works, and it has been effective particularly for my clients outside of L.A.," says Ramirez. "I travel throughout the year to Miami, New York, Chicago, and San Francisco, and this allows me to gather as much information to make sure that I present my best work. The goal is to have happy clients leave my chair, and this is a process I have implemented to ensure my success in that."
What Clients Have to Say
In terms of how clients have reacted to the application process, Ramirez says ultimately they see the payoff, even if they're a little bothered at first. "Some people may find it a little annoying because it does require that you take 10 minutes to really think about it and answer honestly, but I don’t get too many complaints. Your hair color is an investment, and it just makes sense to maximize the best experience possible," he says. "I wish that this was something mandatory at many salons, but as soon as I was able to implement it when I opened my salon, I did."
Keep scrolling to see some more examples of Ramirez's work!
Would you apply for an appointment at Ramirez Tran? What would your "hair goals" be? Click here to see the application, and tell us your thoughts below!