Tag Archives: spa

All the Buzz: JMPankey Partners SpaHive Mastermind

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If you haven’t tried a JMPankey Partners SpaHive event, you should!  The SpaHive team brought with them expert speakers, engaging attendees, and personable sponsors at this intimate gathering, which took place on December 3, 2018, at the beautiful Lansdowne Resort & Spa in Leesburg, VA.  As a first time Spa Hiver, I didn’t know what to expect, but my expectations were far exceeded.

Let’s recap and discuss Confession of a Spa Bunny’s Top 5 Favorites about the SpaHive Mastermind & Pop-Up Boutique:

Favorite #1 – Death to the PowerPoint

Ever been to a training event, conference, or educational session, only to be underwhelmed by PowerPoint slide, after slide, after slide?  Well, there wasn’t any at SpaHive, not one single PowerPoint slide!  It becomes such a common thing, that I walked in the room and thought, “Where’s the projection screen?”.  As the morning kicked off, and the power speakers took their place at the podium, it was evident that screens and scripts were not needed, nor were they missed.

Powerhouse speaker and founder of Savor Beauty + Spa and creator of the Savor Life Planner, Angela Jia Kim talked about “The Surprising Secrets to Success” and how she went from “pubic hair queen to facial queen.” Yes, you read that right, had to be at SpaHive to hear the full story!  I will however, share Angela’s five secrets to success:

  1. If you find your passion and your why, you will never get tired.

  2. Your biggest challenge is usually saying yes to your next growth and evolution opportunity.

  3. Find a way to serve and become excellent at it.

  4. If you are in a challenging situation, you are a student of it and you need to learn that lesson.

  5. Self-care is so much more than massages and manicures – it’s an action for which your future self will thank you. True self-care will lead you to success.

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Angela Jia Kim – Savor Beauty + Spa

SpaHivers left informed and ready to start applying  the social media and marketing tips that Danielle Hale Scott of Hawkins International Public Relations gave during her “How to Power Up Your PR Strategy” discussion. Can you answer these three (3) questions about your business that Danielle challenged us with?

  1. What you do?
  2. How you do it?
  3. Why you do it?

Attendees learned the importance of creating a public image for your brand that is trustworthy, how podcast are a new and emerging market that allows people to tell their stories without editing them, and received handy guides on the best times for social media postings.

Favorite #2 – Movement & Meditation

What better way to keep your mind fresh and energy up by not sitting all day at an all day event!  There was movement throughout the day, whether through guided exercises, table swaps to mastermind, or strolling the pop-up boutique.

We changed our energy and started the JMPankey Partners SpaHive event off with EFT – Emotional Freedom Technique tapping and a series of high frequency movement exercises both in the morning and after lunch. Bob Baxter of The Wellness Factor and Helios Health Products, captivated our attention and energy as he reminded us: “We are beings of frequency, nothing more. We have the power to CTD- Change the Direction.”

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Bob Baxter – The Wellness Factor

It was interesting to see how the energy in the room changed as we were first instructed to walk around the room with no expression, no talking, only eye contact.  The next wave of walking we were to smile and offer a cordial greeting to people we past. Lastly. we walked around and pretended we just saw a best friend that we haven’t seen in 15 years.  By the time we finished, a once quiet and serious room changed to one filled with joy and laughter. Bob shared with us the High Five (Trust, Gentleness, Kindness, Courage, and Love) and the Low Five (Grief, Anger, Fear, Hate, and Doubt) of life’s experience and journey.

The SpaHive Mastermind event closed out the day on a high note with a centering guided meditation led by Dr. Ajay Tejasvi, President Shankara Naturals. He challenged us to ask ourselves “What is it that holds us back from giving your best?” We steadied our breathing, relaxed our minds, and brought balance to each of our energy centers. Participants reported feeling calm, relaxed, and peaceful at the conclusion of the meditation. Dr. Tejasvi reminded us that “When we make decisions from this state of mind, we seldom regret them later.” Let that one sit with you for a moment.

Favorite #3 – Self-Fueled Engagement

Spa industry professionals came to learn and share their expertise and experiences with each other.  SpaHive created an environment to openly receive and give.

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Mastermind Break-Out Sessions

The only thing we didn’t have enough of was time! Attendees were actively engaged and open to knowledge sharing, as real problems were discussed and viable solutions given during the tabletop conversations. Attendees were self-motivated to learn, make inquiries, and participate in the mastermind process. SpaHive host Julie Pankey kept us on track and on time with her tibetan singing bowl stop watch!

Favorite #4 – Expert Sharing

Great minds don’t think alike.  That’s the beauty of the SpaHive expert panel sharing advice from different perspectives.  There is not a one size fit all approach to business or leadership.

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SpaHive Power Panel

The HR expert power panel had an honest conversation about staffing in a community style discussion format.  Moderated by  Barry Eichner from Lipgloss + Aftershave, the panel consisted of Julie Pankey of JMPankey Partners, Kate Mearns from LIVunLtd, Stephanie Rest with WE Wellness & Education, and Efraim Saltzman of Zeel.

With the influx of job openings for service providers in the spa industry, the panel shared their expert tips and advice for interviewing, training, and onboarding. The SpaHive attendees also actively engaged in the conversation to share best practices within their own businesses. Here are a few takeaways from the experts:

On Interviewing:
“Set up the expectations during the interview process” – Kate Mearns

Favorite Interview Question:
“What do you do for fun?” – Efraim Saltzman

“Have you ever gone to a party by yourself?” – Barry Eichner

Onboarding:
“Show them the bathroom and give them a buddy” – Stephanie Rest

On Training:
“Have a detailed training checklist, as you cannot rely ever on common sense.” – Julie Pankey

 

Favorite #5 – Interactive Sponsors & Pop-Up Boutique

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An impressive line-up of sponsors composed the on-site pop-up boutique.  What a great mix of high quality brands from skincare, aromatherapy, luxury robes, candles, body butters, wellness products, and everything in between. These vendors showed up and showed out during the Pop-Up Boutique and also participated in the mastermind sessions to share their industry knowledge and expertise, bringing their own skill set and relatable stories to the conversation. The vendors were friendly, personable, and not pushy.  The focus was on educating about their products versus selling.  Everyone walked away with an impressive array of SpaHive spa swag.

I can’t possibly capture all the amazing things that happened at the Leesburg SpaHive event, but I tried to highlight the most memorable moments in the video below.  Learn more about upcoming JMPankey Partners events at www.spahive.com.

 

India K. Robinson, “Confessions of a Spa Bunny”

@confessspabunny

 

 

 

 

Wellspring Manor & Spa: A New Luxury Retreat Destination in Prince George’s County

There’s a new kid on the block in Prince George’s County Maryland, and with the name Wellspring Manor & Spa, I want to be their new friend.  Nestled in a quiet suburban neighborhood only 15 miles from downtown DC, hidden down a long private driveway, and sitting on 7+ acres of natural bliss, Wellspring Manor & Spa is the newest and only all-inclusive luxury retreat property in this affluent MD county.

PG County is the second-most populous county in Maryland (according to the U.S. Census) and one of the richest upper-middle class African-American majority counties in the United States. I was thrilled to be invited for an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the new black-owned property before their official grand opening this Fall.

I wouldn’t have even known it was there, as I passed the entrance the first time and circled back around the neighborhood cul-de-sac. Before reaching the end of the street, I eyed a mailbox at the end of a white fence and driveway, and noticed the correct address reflected on its side.  As I drove slowly down the wooded pathway, a large inviting manor with a bright red door greeted me around the bend.  A few more standalone structures sat on the property, which I would later learn were The Barn – a multipurpose event space and The Spa Sanctuary – a serene guest-only boutique spa for the “well-ness” to happen.

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Photo Courtesy:  Wellspring Manor & Spa, Manor Foyer

Though the property was still putting the final touches on the guest rooms and spa during my tour, I could see the vision that owners and hosts Lisa and Kevin Alexander have in store for their guests, taking shape within each uniquely appointed room.  This husband and wife team are avid business and community leaders in Prince George’s County.

This boutique property has 5 luxuriously appointed guest suites consisting of 1 King Suite, 3 Queen Suites, and 1 Double-Bedded Suite, which can ultimately sleep a total of 12 guests if booking the entire manor for an intimate group gathering.  Each suite has a different amenity or feature that sets it apart from the others.  For example, the Alexander Suite boasts a deep soaking tub and fireplace, while the Serenity Suite is technology free for the traveler who wants to unplug.

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Serenity Suite

Common areas such as the Living Room, Dining Room, and Baldwin Room (library named after the American novelist and playwright James Baldwin), provide an opportunity for guests to socialize, or find a quiet space to themselves.  The lowest level of the property has a jazz club vibe to it and houses the Coltrane Room, for live jazz performances, and the Wine Cellar.  During the summer months, the in-ground pool and outdoor patio areas are sure to be a guest favorite. The destination also houses a wide collection of art, featuring local and national artists.

Screenshot_2018-11-05 Wellspring Manor and Spa on Instagram “Curious where this beautiful #workofart can be found Visit us [...]
Photo Courtesy:  Instagram @wellspringlux
All-inclusive amenities, to further aid in your luxury retreat, include plush monogrammed robes and slippers, afternoon beverage and snack service, nightly turn-down,  made-to-order breakfast, and complimentary airport transfers (from DCA & BWI).

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Dining Room

 

I wanted to learn more about the inspiration behind Wellspring Manor & Spa, so I had a Q&A chat with the hostess, Lisa Alexander:

“Wellspring:  It’s a word that evokes wellness, restoration, and relaxation.”

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Lisa Alexander, Wellspring Manor & Spa Owner/Hostess

Q1:  What was your inspiration behind opening a luxury retreat destination?

A1:  My question back to you would be “why not?”, as opposed to why.  I like doing things that haven’t been done before, and PG County is a great destination, it is currently without a luxury retreat destination and is a great place to visit.

Q2:  Who is your target traveler?

A2:  Affluent travelers of color. The industry does not currently reflect that clientele, in the music, food, and overall experience does not currently reflect an appeal to that demographic in the luxury retreat destination market.

Q3: What will make Wellspring different from traditional retreat destinations?

A3:  It will be a cultural destination that showcases art, music, literature, and creates a diverse cultural environment.

Q4: What does Wellspring mean to you?   What’s the meaning behind the name?

A5: It’s a word that evokes wellness, restoration, and relaxation.  Spring reflects water, there is a creek on the property, and water has a healing property to it.  Wellspring is a place where people can relax, rejuvenate, and creates a space for promoting health and wellness amongst guests with organic, vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free cuisine options, in addition to a wellness spa.

Q5: What types of treatments and products can guests expect from the spa?

A5: We are currently in discussion with local and national product line vendors.  Looking to feature high quality packaging and products, and to keep the menu options simple.  We will also plan special spa themed events.

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The Spa Sanctuary

Wellspring has hosted a few special events, such as an evening of Jazz, Art, and Wine, and a Jamaica Independence Celebration and Art Exhibit, but doors officially opened to its first round of guests on Friday, November 2, 2018.

The Wellspring Experience opening weekend itinerary included a welcome reception with cuisine by Executive Chef Danielle Harris, rejuvenation day at the Spa Sanctuary, live jazz performance in the Coltrane Room, and a sumptuous Sunday brunch.

Check out my short video compilation that highlights the relaxing and jazzy vibe at Wellspring Manor & Spa:

Ready to book your own Wellspring Experience retreat? Learn more about the property at: www.wellspringmanor.com.

Cherry Blossom Event with Shea Yeleen at MGM National Harbor

Video highlights from the DMV beauty & wellness influencer event at the Spa & Salon at MGM National Harbor, as we celebrate the Cherry Blossom season and learn more about the sustainable side of beauty/wellness industry with Shea Yeleen founder, Rahama Wright.

An evening of delectable delights, networking, and mini-hand treatments with the Shea Yeleen Cherry Blossom Body Polish & Butter, an exclusive at the MGM Spa & Salon.  The 2-level 27,000 square foot luxury spa setting features 11 treatment rooms, 1 Couple’s Room, 1 Vichy Shower room, and 3 Skin care rooms.  The spa also houses a Beauty Studio, Co-ed Reflection Lounge, Barber Lounge, and Spa Boutique.

Head on over to my Instagram page @confessspabunny for details on how to win your very own Shea Yeleen Cherry Blossom Gift Set.  Winner announced on April 10, 2018 on the @sheayeleen Insta-Story.

BONUS BENEFIT:  As an additional bonus, The Spa & Salon at MGM National Harbor is extending spa discounts to all my clientele and followers!  When booking a treatment or service, use my special code MGMSPACB1 to receive 15% off all retail products and services.  Don’t miss out, take the time to take a “time-out”.  Offer valid until December 31, 2018. #promotionforfollowers

 

ISPA and Beauty Changes Lives Partner for the “Get Your Dream Job” Campaign

This year during the International SPA Association (ISPA) Conference in Las Vegas, ISPA Chairman Todd Shaw, announced a new partnership with the Beauty Changes Lives Foundation and launched the “Get Your Dream Job” Campaign during the opening General Session.

This nationwide call to action brings together both the professional spa and salon industries to build awareness on the extraordinary job opportunities, and career growth this sector has to offer.  With nearly 33,000 open positions for service providers, as reported in the 2017 ISPA U.S. Spa Industry Study, the job demand for licensed beauty and wellness professionals is at an all time high.

Have you ever dreamed of pursuing a career in the spa, beauty, and wellness industry? Do you have a need for more qualified talent at your spa/salon? I sat down with Lynelle Lynch, President of the Beauty Changes Lives Foundation and Bellus Academy, during the 2017 ISPA Conference to learn more about this new initiative.  Check out the video interview below to learn more.

 

As a part of the campaign, education grants and scholarships are available for prospective students to help them attend an American Association of Cosmetology School  (AACS) and become equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to serve clients in the beauty and spa industry.  In addition, participating spas, salons, and clubs will receive a myriad of marketing and online resources to assist with promoting the campaign.

For more information on the “Get Your Dream Job” campaign, please visit: http://www.getyourdreamjob.com/

 

Story by: India K. Robinson, “Confessions of a Spa Bunny” coverage from 2017 ISPA Conference, October 16, 2017 at the Mandalay Bay Conference Center in Las Vegas.

Contact:

India K. Robinson
“Confessions of a Spa Bunny”
spabunny@hisincorporated.com

The Spa at the Ivy Hotel

It was a brisk November day, and I was grateful to have quick and easy access to the front door by pulling up to the hotel’s valet area.  My car keys were retrieved and I was escorted inside the building which looked more like a large residence than a hotel.  I took a seat at one of the chairs within the hall, as there was no traditional hotel lobby area from what I could see.   Only a room with a small sign indicating it was the “reservation” area, and tucked in a corner to my left, an elevator was visible before me.    The elevator car took flight to the 2nd floor, and with a return shortly thereafter, I was greeted by Leslie Doroba, Spa Manager at the The Spa at the Ivy Hotel.

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Leslie Doroba, Spa Manager at The Spa at The Ivy Hotel

After a ride on the elevator, I was transported to the real jewel that was hidden from first sight.  Leslie took me on a tour of the repurposed mansion, which was built as a private residence in 1889, but converted to The Ivy Hotel in 2015. The project was jointly developed by Martin Azola, CEO, Azola Cos., and Eddie Brown, founder and CEO of Brown Capital Management, the second oldest African American owned investment management firm in the United States.

Each uniquely designed sitting room felt like every detail mattered.  A mix of old-world charm, with hints of sophisticated modern upgrades. Though the common spaces were mainly unoccupied during my visit, I could almost envision the lively conversations that take place at the billiards table or self-serve bar;  or perhaps the secret whispers and side-eye chuckles that the quaint living room areas seem to invoke. I imagine the solo traveler tucked away in the firelit library with a good book and a cup a tea.  Though you can tell no expense was spared to create a luxe environment, the feeling was warm and inviting, as opposed to stuffy and standoffish.  I wanted to take a seat and stay for a while, and though I didn’t get a chance to that day, I hope to in the near future.

Though you can tell no expense was spared to create a luxe environment, the feeling was warm and inviting, as opposed to stuffy and standoffish.

I took one last look at the historic photos of residents past, discovered the empty antique birdcage set high atop a signature furniture piece, and touched the wallpaper that felt like custom made flooring material before we took to the curved stairs for a quick peep inside of Suite Seven.

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Suite Seven – Photo Credit:  The Ivy Hotel

Oh My…. Suite Seven!  What Leslie described as her favorite suite at the exclusive Relais & Chateaux member boutique hotel, which consists of only Eighteen guests rooms and suites, identified by number accordingly.  Suite Seven housed a separate living room with fireplace, wall mounted flat screen tv, breakfast nook, and a bathroom fit for a Spa Bunny with deep soaking tub, Natura Bisse bath products, heated limestone floors,and a shower the size of a walk-in closet. The wheels of my mind turned as I thought how perfect a future “time-out” retreat would be in this very space, perhaps a slumber party, with complimentary spirits from the inclusive in-room mini bar as me and my besties lounge on the chaise lounges and four-poster bed in spa robes while having crucial conversations about life and love.

What more could be in store at this hidden gem located in the historic Mount Vernon neighborhood of Baltimore, MD?  Well, the spa of course!   Located behind a secure door showcasing letters adorned with golden ivy vines spelling SPA, I inhaled the calming scent and entered the bright and airy petite retreat.  Day guests are escorted from valet directly to the spa, while hotel guests are picked up from their hotel room or suite prior to scheduled treatments.  Two well decorated treatments rooms can both accommodate doubles for simultaneous service with a loved one. The lounge area overlooks the hotel’s courtyard, and the Foot Sanctuary & Beauty Bar offers another space for customized pampering.

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I was treated to a mini service with massage therapist Ricquel, who started the session by allowing me to pick a custom scent from the Zents Aroma Journey options.  I opted for a blend of Ore (euphoric) and Oolong (energizing).   During a regular spa visit, I normally don’t book anything less than 75 minutes when it comes to massages, so I was honestly surprised at how relaxed and at peace I felt during the 30 minutes I spent in the treatment room.   Though short, it was more satisfying than anticipated, which simply confirms the skill level and natural rhythm of the therapist was impressive. In the words of the Terminator, “I’ll be back”.

Everything about The Spa at The Ivy Hotel was in line with what I expect from a luxury boutique spa experience.

In addition to a newly launched spa membership program, noteworthy treatments on the spa menu includes a 2-hour Ultimate Zen body ritual (includes an exfoliation, wrap, hot oil scalp treatment, and massage) or the Perfect Petite Retreat (includes a custom 90min massage and 60 min facial). Spa boutique products range from the pure and organic ingredients with Zents, results-driven facial care of Natura Bisse, all-natural homeopathic oral sprays from Sprayology, and Knesko Skin Nanogold repair masks.  Everything about The Spa at The Ivy Hotel was in line with what I expect from a luxury boutique spa experience.

Take a sneak peek inside The Spa at The Ivy Hotel with this short video compilation from my visit below:

At The Ivy Hotel, good things truly come in small packages.   I close my eyes, and dream of restful nights in Suite Seven, enjoying the simple things and life’s little luxuries, as the days go by.

 

 

Nature & Nurture: 2017 ISPA East Coast Media Event

New York City – Gotham Hall was transformed as attendees at the 2017 International Spa Association‘s East Coast Media Event stepped into a natural rhythm of treatments, innovative technology, and spa retreats that brought you back to nature and nourished you from the inside-out.   The story begins as I invite you to feel the beat, admire the scene, and get a glimpse at some of the creative spaces and sponsors that invited media was able to experience and interact with during this year’s event.

Confessions of a Spa Bunny was there, and this video highlights the start of my “confessions”…

To be continued…..

Video and photography collaboration presented by: The H.I.S Agency, LLC & EyeConic Photography

Confessions from Argentta Spa Grand Opening Party at The Watergate Hotel

I confess, it wasn’t my first time at Argentta Spa, it was my fourth to be exact, with previous visits during my November birthday, over New Year’s, while hosting a Confessions of a Spa Bunny “Spa Scandalous” Time-out event, and now, for their official “grand opening” party.  Compared to the other relatively quiet visits (you know, what you normally expect at a spa), this visit was not for solitude, but more for celebration.  Celebrating the iconic Watergate Hotel‘s past, while diving into its revamped future, or for starters into the beautiful historic pool.

When the dress to impress, invitation-only crowd descended to level B3 and exited the elevators, the vibrant scene which awaited was not to be expected.  I could try to describe it, with creative words to help you visualize being there, though you probably wouldn’t believe me if I told you there were models that looked like mannequins, body painted in silver (Argentta is derived from the word Argento, the Italian word for Silver, if you didn’t know), a magician doing card tricks, signature drinks at an open “juice” bar, poolside DJ and hookah, synchronized swimmers, personalized caricature drawings, hand treatments, and more!  Sounds pretty amazing right?

It was… so I thought putting together this short video, giving you an insider’s look, would be even better.

When you visit Argentta Spa, and you should, try the Argentta Seven Elements Ritual, which drapes and soothes your body in the natural awesomeness that is red flower.  Arrive at least 90 min prior to your treatment so that you have enough time to enjoy the hydrotherapy areas, sauna, and steam room.  Ask for champagne, and see if they have those oh so delectable macaroons, while you lounge post-treatment in the relaxation area wrapped in a luxe La Bottega robe.

 

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India K. Robinson, President & CEO
“Confessions of a Spa Bunny”, The H.I.S Agency, LLC
spabunny@hisincorporated.com

 Creator and Founder of “Confessions of a Spa Bunny”, India is an active member of the International Spa Association, Wellness Warrior, and the Washington Spa Alliance.  She is also a contributing author for Insider’s Guide to Spas.  

7th Annual Washington Spa Alliance – Timeless Growth

It was the first day of Spring in Washington, DC. While some anxiously visit the city to await the full blooms of the Cherry Blossoms, others came to connect, engage, and deliver for another reason.  This year, regional, national, and international spa industry professionals gathered at the newly renovated Watergate Hotel for a meeting of the minds at the 7th Annual Washington Spa Alliance Symposium (WSPA).

Like a recently hatched caterpillar hungry for food, symposium attendees fed and nourished their minds during the presentations from speakers and panelist, allowing them to peel off their layers and grow, with expanded knowledge at their core.

Stories of transformation and growth were told throughout the symposium. A few to highlight:

“Reflections of a Wellness Pioneer”, an inspiring video from Deborah Szekely, transported us back to the creation of Rancho La Puerta, when outdoor tents were made from World War I airplane wings, warm-up suits weren’t yet the norm for exercise, wellness was an experiment, and a sacred mountain “convinced people of their ability to change their life”.

“How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?” – Deborah Szekely

Ophelia Yeung, Senior Fellow Researcher at The Global Wellness Institute, started her presentation on the Spa & Global Wellness Economy with a definition of the word wellness.  Wellness, she indicated, is an English word without an equivalent translation in other languages.  Yet, despite the void of a one-for-one translation, statistics show the Global Wellness Economy growth at $3.7 trillion in 2015, with categories ranging from Workplace Wellness ($43b), Spa Industry ($99b), Wellness Tourism ($563b), and Beauty & Anti-Aging ($999b) to name a few.

The Global Wellness Institute defines “Wellness” as the active pursuit of activities, choices, and lifestyles that lead to a state of holistic health.

Co-founder of WSPA and Symposium Chair Emeritus, Mary F. Bemis, gave a brief history lesson on the Seven Timeless Truths of Spa, and then introduced Mia Kyricos, President/CEO, Kyricos & Associates, LLC.  Mia presented a “7 Timeless Truths” game plan by showing multiple trends (i.e., reading the tea leaves) for each timeless truth and offering a prediction for the future.  Some predictions made: “Spas will become true champions & prescribers of nature” with rooftop gardens in urban settings, and spa services delivered outside of your typical four walls.  “Spacernauts” will soon make their debut to include, spas with hourly fitness classes, cafes/juice bars, full-service spa boutiques, and hotel spas with existing local eateries.

Seven Timeless Truths of Spa: Community. Nature. Food. Fitness. Water. Quiet. Sleep.

Julia Sutton, Chief Operating Officer of Exhale Enterprises, served on the panel which discussed “Pushing the Boundary of Wellness”, her company is working on live streaming of fitness/wellness classes, while incorporating wearable technology, so that “you don’t cheat at home”.

Samer Hamadeh, CEO of Zeel, presented on “Technology: Disrupting the Status Quo”.  Technology advancements with Zeel provides solutions for both customers and therapists. Customer Experience: On demand, in-home convenience, therapists verified, vetted, and insured.   Provider Experience: Customers ID-checked for safety, more customers who book more often, better payout and flexible hours.  A few statistics showed 22% of massages are happening after 9pm and 55% of customers want a massage within 4 hours of requesting.  In some cases, a therapist can reach a customer in as little as 30min of a request.  Zeel’s “massage- on-demand” has expanded beyond just the at-home customer, but also serves as a resource to brick-n-mortar spas to fill temporary staffing needs.

Rona Berg, Editor-in-Chief, Organic Spa Media Ltd., provided a consumer perspective on how to “Connect, Engage, and Deliver Sustainable Wellness” through the interconnectedness of things – mind, body, spirit, health, and nature. One slide noted alarming data that shows by 2050, there will be more plastic in our oceans than fish, according to a World Economic Forum report.  Ways to help: Consume less, buy fair-trade organic, use cold water for laundry, eat grass-fed beef.  One statistic showed eating organic for one week has shown a 6% decrease in pesticides in our body.  The importance of bringing self-care rituals into your daily life was highlighted, and another definition of wellness was presented:

Well-Ness (noun): the state of being in good health, especially as an actively pursued goal.

Each year, after the information shared has rested in chrysalis, these WSPA caterpillars grow into beautiful butterflies, fluttering back to their respective domains to make their mark by connecting, engaging, and delivering, until the life cycle starts all over again.

 

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India K. Robinson, President & CEO
“Confessions of a Spa Bunny”, The H.I.S Agency, LLC
spabunny@hisincorporated.com

 Creator and Founder of “Confessions of a Spa Bunny”, India is an active member of the International Spa Association, Wellness Warrior, and the Washington Spa Alliance.  She is also a contributing author for Insider’s Guide to Spas.

The Washington Spa Alliance Kicks Off 2017 at MGM National Harbor

They didn’t gather for the casino, upscale lounges, or signature restaurants.  No, this intimate gathering was all about spa, as the Washington Spa Alliance (WSPA) held its first member event of 2017 this past Wednesday at the new MGM National Harbor hotel.  Tucked within the fitness center, and past a hall of sheer white drapes, the yoga studio served host to this gathering of the wellness minded.  As the mix of spa professionals and resource partners convened, they gleamed with excitement in their conversations about new endeavors, partnerships, and the year ahead.

The new WSPA Board of Directors was announced by Chair, Penny Kriel, as well as the date and venue for the 7th Annual WSPA Symposium, which will move from being held previous years at the National Press Club to the newly renovated Watergate Hotel in Washington, DC on March 20, 2017.  The Watergate’s Argentta Spa launch party, led by Spa Director Stephanie Rest, will also coincide with the March WSPA Symposium.

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In between the hugs, hors d’oeuvres, and happy people, attendees had an opportunity to tour the MGM Spa & Salon.  Greeted by a waterfall backdrop, this modern 2-level oasis comes complete with a co-ed lounge housing sleek chaise lounges draped with blankets, a spacious couple’s suite with in-room soaking tub, full salon with hair, nail and make-up stations, and a dedicated man-cave of sorts, complete with barber chairs, a library of literature, and flat-screen tv for the gentlemen to indulge in grooming services tailored to them.

Though there was no official afterparty, many of the night’s attendees ended up at MGM’s restaurant Marcus to continue the positive vibes and end the night over dinner and cocktails.

The DC-MD-VA (DMV) luxury spa scene is on the rise, and with recent spa openings across the area, a new enthusiastic WSPA board, and Confessions of a Spa Bunny ready to cover it all, 2017 is sure to be an exciting year!

Confessions from Noel Asmar – Noel Asmar Group

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It may seem unrelated, but when I think of holiday cheer, I reflect back to September and my experience at the International Spa Association  (ISPA) Conference in Las Vegas.  Though it was not the holidays, it certainly felt like one. A big family reunion, lots of hugs, tons of great gifts (some that were even secretly dropped in your room, so you always arrived to a surprise), music and dancing, learning from your elders, friendly competitions, and meeting new people who you instantly connect with.

One such group of people, were the lovely individuals from The Noel Asmar Group, of which I had the pleasure of spending some quality time with at the lunchtime fashion show, exhibit booth, auction, and farewell party. I felt welcomed into their tight knit family, as if I was meeting distant cousins or long-time pen pals for the first time.

I actually reached out to Noel Asmar directly prior to the event, once I heard there was a fashion show planned that would highlight the brand’s spa and hospitality uniforms, as well as debut her new spring/summer 2017 fashion collection, and requested an exclusive interview.   To my excitement, she agreed.  Check out the “confessions” that were revealed as a result.

 “Confessions from Noel Asmar”

You indicated that your motto “Made for the Way You Move” is the vision for everything you do, from your uniform line, to the portable pedicure bowls, the equine apparel, and now even with the the new lifestyle fashion collection.  Outside of your business ventures, how does this motto play a role in your personal/daily life?

 I have always been passionate about creating garments that would not prohibit movement. Designed to enhance the motion and never restrict the natural movement and shape of the human body, each style is designed to enrich the wearer’s experience. This freedom and free flowing inspiration is truly a way of life for myself. I am always looking for a solution and will not be held back by the notions of “it can’t be done.” I am constantly on the go, with 4 successful global brands, industry initiatives and as a wife and mother of three I am always on the move. I emulate a lifestyle and design philosophy that needs to be made for the way you move in order to just keep up!

What is changing/has changed in the world of spa uniform fashion, and how does the Noel Asmar Group want to influence the spa uniform trends moving forward?

When I launched SpaUniforms.com in 2002 there was no such thing as “spa uniform fashion” – so we have certainly experienced a lot of change in this industry in the last fourteen years!  In that time we have seen almost every major hotel property incorporate a spa into their offering and with this evolution came the necessity to offer integrated fashions for various departments within a spa, salon, hotel and overall property. We are proud to have expanded our offering and now service over 4000 properties around the world. We continue to push the boundaries on a traditional uniform to design functional silhouettes that people are proud to wear!

“Designed to enhance the motion and never restrict the natural movement and shape of the human body…”

You indicated how “the uniform is far more powerful than anyone thinks”. What power lies in a uniform, and how does that translate into better business for spas who embrace that power?

After experiencing the power of a uniform while I was working overseas, I understood the value that a garment can truly have. I saw hotel staff in ill-fitting, worn out, hand-me-down uniforms at a property where I worked. These men and women had selflessly devoted their entire careers to the care and well-being of others, and while they took pride in their positions, they had never received any appreciation or recognition of their efforts. I was creating my own personal collection of custom women’s garments at the time and felt that I needed to do something for the staff. I will never forget their reactions after receiving a clean, new uniform made just for them. They were now a part of something much bigger. They always did their best at their job, but now their dedication and passion resonated from them.  A uniform had the power to transform them and this reflected well on the business. Never underestimate the incredible influence of a uniform.

What’s the most unique thing that sets the Noel Asmar Group apart from other brands?
I believe that our brand comes from an authentic place. We are constantly inspired by our clients and take their feedback into consideration with each new design. We pride ourselves on offering excellent customer service because our team is passionate about the product and truly cares about the client. We are constantly evolving, and Noel Asmar Uniforms has adapted and grown with the industry in ways other brands have not.  We are proud to offer one of the widest selections of styles for the spa and hotel industries. Our dedication to offer trend setting and in stock styles is a unique benefit of working with our team.

“Never underestimate the incredible influence of a uniform.”
What inspired you to design a fashion “lifestyle” collection for retail?

For many years our existing equestrian and uniform clients have requested contemporary lifestyle fashions that embrace our existing dedication to quality, premium fabrics and expert design that they have come to trust from all Noel Asmar brands. The Noel Asmar Collection was created with our existing clientele in mind, and we have been very well received by the contemporary fashion industry when we went to market this year. From the passionate equestrian fashionista to the jet-setting resort client, the Noel Asmar Collection offers premium fashions for the modern woman living life on the go. This fall we released a small capsule collection with a rich equestrian lifestyle influence and textured palette. The full brand launch will take place with the free flowing and exotic Spring 2017 collection. Inspired by the elegance and breeze of the resort lifestyle, we are looking forward to seeing the line offered in premium fashion boutiques and at luxury resorts around the world next year.

Behind every successful company, there is a support system that keeps things “moving” seamlessly. I had the pleasure of meeting some members of your team, and their energy, smiles, and motivation was infectious. If I was sitting in on one of your staff meetings, what might I hear you telling your team if you were offering words of motivation, teamwork, and encouragement?  

If you were to attend one of our staff meetings you would certainly be laughing! Our team is truly an authentic and fun loving group of individuals. We hire for cultural fit and take pride in the creative and passionate community we have built. I believe that when you are passionate about your people, your people are passionate about you. I give them the power to follow their interests and find purpose within the company and in their own life and that karmic energy brings the brand to life.

 “I believe that when you are passionate about your people, your people are passionate about you.”
Check out my video highlights from the Noel Asmar Group Fashion Show and Exhibit during #ISPA2016.  The show highlighted the brand’s motto of “Made for the Way You Move” with contemporary dancers visually expressing how much you can physically “move” in the attire.    I can attest to the comfort of the uniform line, as I wore my own Noel Asmar ensemble (Coco tunic and Ibiza pant) the day of the fashion show, which just happened to be in the signature pink/black spa bunny colors.

Learn more about The Noel Asmar Group brand at : www.NoelAsmar.com | www.AsmarEquestrian.com | www.NoelAsmarUniforms.com  | www.PedicureBowls.com