Situated In Downtown Charleston, SC, Honeydew spa brings to fruition the lifelong dream of owner Sekayna Mahon. Exhibiting a head for business at an early age, Mahon won a competition at age 15 for Perfecta, her concept for a high-end cosmetic company geared toward women of color, an idea that was later expanded with Honeydew's opening earlier this year. However, it took years for her dream to become a reality. While attending Yale University, Mahon spent a year in Japan where she indulged her interest in the beauty industry by learning about traditional Japanese rituals and remedies. Not sure how best to incorporate her interest into a full-fledged career, she attended Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. She drifted further from her plans to join the beauty industry when she accepted a position as an investment banker at JP Morgan in New York City.
Working in the high-pressure world of finance, Mahon began frequenting spas to combat her troubled skin, which was exacerbated by her demanding job. "Stress was an understatement," says Mahon. Unfortunately, disappointment followed as she encountered numerous unsuccessful treatments and estheticians who failed to impress. Deciding to take matters into her own hands, Mahon enrolled in the skincare program at Christine Valmy International School in New York City and became an esthetician in 2001.
ABOVE LEFT : Carrying lines not readily found in the area, Honeydew features prominent retail displays that call attention to the exclusive products. ABOVE RIGHT: The spa has adjoining treatment rooms, which are ideal for couples and others wanting to spa together.
Leaving behind a career in investment banking, Mahon had hopes of opening a spa in New York City. However, while spending the summer in Charleston, she happened upon an ideal space, behind Saks Fifth Avenue, on busy Market Street and was finally able to make her dream a reality with the opening of Honeydew. "There was a choice among a few names, but none captured the whimsy, sophistication, and slightly exotic flare of the standard I wanted to set like Honeydew," says Mahon. "Once I heard it, I knew it was perfect for a place dedicated to providing luxurious and fun treatments." Determined to make the menu exciting, Mahon created cleverly named treatments such as Absolutely Addictive Hot Java Scrub ($70, 45 minutes; $95, 60 minutes) and Piece of Paradise Coconut Frangipani Sugar Body Heaven ($105, 60 minutes). She also expanded on the idea of catering to women of color. Inspired by her grandmother's egg-white facials and homegrown island-inspired treatments, she broadened her concept to bring these family recipes to an even larger market.
Featuring a soothing color palette, the treatment rooms are simple yet tasteful.
Designed by Jack Cornell, formerly of Spa Elegance (Imperial, PA), Honeydew features four manicure stations, a custom-built four-station pedicure banquette, two massage rooms, two multipurpose facial and waxing rooms, and two couples rooms. Wanting to create an environment that was warm and welcoming, Mahon was also intent on offering original products not readily available to those in the area. "We're the only spa in the state of South Carolina to carry Payot and Kenzo Ki, both French-based lines."
The spas hallway is cheerful with its coral color scheme.
With seven employees on staff, Honeydew caters to a number of tourists visiting the Charleston area. In fact, the spa's clientele is 70 percent tourists and 30 percent locals. According to Mahon, those percentages are shifting with an increase of local clientele. As for the future, Mahon is focused on expanding the spa's website and introducing a Dewberry catalog and subscription service called Club Dew, in which product orders are shipped automatically. Says Mahon, "[Charleston] is a great city with great people who deserve the best, and Honeydew is dedicated to meeting and exceeding that standard."