When hair stylist Eric Ringo opened his salon in June 2000, he didn’t look too far into the future.
Fresh off a near decade-long stint working as a hired stylist in a now-defunct Palo Alto salon, Ringo was simply inspired by the idea of opening a business and growing it into something he could call his own.
“When I started, I didn’t see past five years,” said the veteran stylist, who is celebrating his 15th anniversary this month as the owner and operator of Hair at Eric Ringo’s. “Now at 15 years, I don’t see past another 10 years.”
Ringo, a Sunnyvale native, noted that not much has changed in the way he approaches his work over the past 15 years. The bulk of his steady clients, he noted, still come to his salon at 349 Plaza South by way of referrals from friends or relatives.
“I love Los Altos,” he said. “I like the people, I like the beauty of the town. I just find the nicest people here.”
While he’s had assistants in the past, Ringo said he prefers to run the small salon on his own like he’s done for most of his 15 years in Los Altos because it keeps things simple and allows him to spend more one-on-one time getting to know his clients.
“I wear a couple of hats around here, but I think they’re pretty cool hats,” he said with a grin. “This job does satisfy so many different things for me. It’s also a social position. I just love talking with my clients.”
Ringo said every client who walks through his doors still represents a unique artistic challenge – be it conservative or “funky monkey” tastes in hairstyles. One of the most satisfying aspects of the job, he added, is the ability to boost someone’s self-esteem simply by giving them a new hairstyle.
“It’s a very personal thing,” he said. “One of the cheapest cosmetic surgeries you can do is to cut your hair.”
Ringo attributed his 15 years of success to one key characteristic – attitude. Regardless of the circumstances, he said, projecting a positive outlook keeps clients coming back.
“We attract what we are. … The key to this is to love what you do. Always try to find that enthusiasm and love,” he said.
He noted that one thing has changed over his 15 years, if only slightly – his outlook on the future of his business. No longer thinking in terms of five-year blocks, Ringo said he’s hoping to call Los Altos home for at least another decade.
“I see at least 10 more years,” he said. “Maybe, if I’m lucky, it’ll be 15 (years) – or until I decide that I hate doing this. But I just don’t see that happening.”
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Hair at Eric Ringo's celebrates 15 years in Los Altos - Photos by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier