Major US city opens first trans-owned business of its kind

Melanie Ampon’s business is ready to handle treatments on the face and body

Melanie Ampon (she/her), who you may know as Nya Cruz on Amazon Prime’s Transcendent, is starting a new business. Near Nob Hill, in a small building on California Street, you’ll find Hearten Electrolysis – the very first trans-owned business of its kind.

Ampon is leading the wave of change out of this unassuming building. She is part of a movement of transgender business owners in San Francisco who strive to build economic prosperity in their community for generations to come.

Cultivating community

In an interview with Transgender District, Ampon tells us why she brings her practice to fruition – to create a safe space for all genders. She acknowledges that it can be difficult for trans people to find laser hair removal clinics where their needs are met. Ampon highlights that permanent hair removal is not just a cosmetic treatment, it’s gender-affirming care. To illustrate, she explains that doctors often require electrolysis as part of bottom surgery preparation.

Then Ampon touches on the heart of her practice, “At times, electrolysis treatments can be a very vulnerable experience … I know exactly what my community has gone through” Ampon has firsthand knowledge of the transitioning process, and that will put her business a cut above the rest. Ensuring the mission of her practice, anyone who walks through her front door will feel welcome to express their authentic selves in her hands.

Ampon is also driven by her passion for creating community bonds. She describes how she was called to pursue electrolysis to better serve her community. She states that helping trans folx “feel comfortable” is just as important as providing visible results.

Transforming the city

Melanie Ampon in her work uniform

Ampon is visibly proud when she shares, “I am going to be the very first openly trans electrolysis practice in San Francisco.” Her business is a sign of visible and continuing change. The fight for transgender rights has been long and hard, but Ampon’s business is a proud demonstration of trans excellence.

Despite this positive move forward, Ampon does not want to see the momentum stop. By sharing her story, she hopes that more trans people will find their calling and broaden their horizons. Further, she wants to inspire other trans folx to start a career in electrolysis.

In final words, Ampon states that trans folx “need to show everybody that we can thrive and we can be whatever we want to be in life. As long as we have big dreams, we can achieve them.”

Ampon believes that trans entrepreneurs need to build wealth within their community to ensure the success of generations to come.

About the Transgender District

Transgender District members looking chic and fab

Founded in 2017 by three Black trans women, The Transgender District makes up of six blocks in San Francisco’s Tenderloin. Better late than never, it’s the first transgender district in the US. The area has a long and rich history of trans residency. The organization aims to create an urban space within SF that celebrates and educates the world about transgender realities.

The Transgender District has provided Ampon and other business owners with the resources they need to be successful in business. Imagine the impact of this kind of support repeated nationwide. In a 2017 study, researchers found that only .02% of businesses in the United States identified as trans-owned. With that number in mind, it’s essential to continue to uplift trans businesses.

RELATED: How three Black trans women made San Francisco’s Tenderloin cool again