As a little girl in 1940s moscow, I was drawn to the way my mother healed her clients' skin ailments using herbs from our garden and the nearby forest. As one of the city's foremost herbalists, my mother established a successful skincare career by creating and perfecting custom treatments and remedies for her devoted clientele. I followed my mother around, assisting her in mixing therapeutic combinations of aloe vera, blackberries, dill, lemon essence, parsley, and rosemary. Under her watchful eyes and rigorous training, I gradually learned the secret formulas for creating beautiful complexions. To this day my ability to treat people suffering from a variety of skin afflictions is what I love most about running Spa Radiance. It's inspiring to see my clients' transformations and know I've helped them.
Galina Rovner, Spa Radiance founder
How It StartedToday, Spa Radiance is a busy eight-room retreat located in San Francisco's chic Union Street neighborhood. However, we had very humble beginnings. When I immigrated to this country in the 1960s with little money and no English-speaking skills, I was struggling to raise a family, learn the language, and return to esthetician school.
Spa Radiance founder
Upon arriving in the United States I immediately noticed many Americans needlessly suffering from various skin problems, and I hoped to use my thorough knowledge of skincare to help them. I was determined to put myself through school to become a licensed esthetician in this country. By 1974 I had established a small one-woman operation in downtown San Francisco. With the assistance of my daughter and now spa co-owner Angelina Umansky, I rapidly rose in the city's ranks of skincare providers.
From the pillows to the floor tiles, the use of earth tones gives the spa a cozy and relaxed feel;
Gaining MomentumThanks to unprecedented growth, in 1997 the business moved into a restored Victorian in San Francisco's Pacific Heights district and officially became known as Spa Radiance, offering a complete menu of spa services. In 2002, we moved into our current facility. It is twice as large and includes eight plush specially designed treatment rooms.
We are delighted with Spa Radiance's new location and amenities. San Francisco magazine just added the spa to its "Best of the Bay Area" list. Our spa's focus, however, continues to be client education. I strongly believe in teaching our guests about the back-to-basics steps necessary for healthy, glowing complexions. I talk to them about the importance of a balanced diet, exercise, sound sleep, and of course, regular facials.
Spa Radiance is a chic haven tucked away in a charming Victorian, only steps from the fashionable boutiques on San Francisco's Union Street.
I always devoted my efforts to staying a few steps ahead of the competition in terms of advanced skincare. Several times a year Angelina and I travel around the globe seeking the most effective, safest, and longest lasting products to transform our spa guests' skin from dull and sluggish to glowing and gorgeous. We really enjoy finding innovative ways to help them feel better about themselves. Not only was Spa Radiance one of the first on the West Coast to introduce microdermabrasion, but we are also one of the few spas in the region offering the Instant Lift Facial, renowned as the "star wars" of nonsurgical face lifts. Similarly, Spa Radiance was one of the first to introduce Medi-Spa Peels, a threesome of effective and safe peels packed with pepsin and papain enzymes, pure grade vitamin A, and growth factor serum. Our clients love these peels because they immediately see dramatically renewed skintone and texture and notice lasting results.
Branching OutThe spa has become so successful that we recently had to bring in outside help so Angelina and I could focus on skincare. We owe a lot of gratitude to former client and self-proclaimed facial fanatic Randy Schreck, vice president of marketing. Previously a marketing executive with Charles Schwab, Randy has helped us tremendously by building the Spa Radiance brand. His passion for cutting-edge skincare coupled with his marketing savvy has led to a valuable Spa Radiance partnership with one of the country's leading dermatologists, Richard Glogau, M.D.
Makeup application is another popular service offered at Spa Radiance.
Additionally, Randy has been instrumental in assisting us with the recent launch of our much-anticipated skincare line, KOJA. Dissatisfied with what the market had to offer as far as a simple-but-effective home skincare regimen, we worked for more than a decade before introducing it. Koja means "skin" in Russian, and we chose the word to represent this revolutionary line that delivers instant and long-lasting results without harsh chemicals. All of the products combine not only the healing properties of bio-energized Japanese green tea but also a patented liposome technology for remarkable penetration. Additionally, the products contain bacillus ferment, a proteolytic biofermentation of milk enzymes, which, when combined with hydroxy acids, makes them up to 20 times more effective without the detrimental effects of photosensitivity and redness. Scented with notes reminiscent of our old Moscow garden, including sage, lavender, and lemon, the serums, peels, and sloughs are packed with potent combinations of vitamins A, E, F, and H.
What continues to fascinate me about the spa and skincare industries are the remarkably rapid advances being made in developing new products and treatments to address every skincare issue from hyperpigmentation and sagging to acne and aging. I truly enjoy being able to share these highly effective remedies with my clients to help them look and feel their best. Seeing the smiles on their faces when they first get a glimpse of their revitalized skin in the mirror is such a pleasure. —Galina Rovner
Galina Rovner is the founder and co-owner of Spa Radiance, a 3,000-square-foot day spa in San Francisco.