Radiating Beauty

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A San Francisco day spa draws on its European roots to create a skincare legacy that continues to bloom.

Establishing a thriving skincare  destination in downtown San Francisco in 1976, esthetician Galina Rovner later joined with her daughter, Angelina Umansky, to expand the business, renaming it Spa Radiance and moving its location to the Marina District in 1997. It wasn’t long before it was attracting an A-list crowd, drawn by the skincare expertise of Rovner and Umansky. Today, the spa, which recently underwent a makeover, has expanded to include nine treatment rooms and 28 employees.

Jay Jeffers, founder of Jeffers Design Group, designed the spa’s first location 17 years ago and recently refreshed it for the third time. “This new spa is just as chic—think of a Parisian apartment with soulful French oak flooring and a fresh coat of chalky white paint,” he says. “When we  designed the first spa, Angelina said she wanted her clients to feel comfortable, as if they were visiting her home. We’ve never wavered from that vision, just given it a fresh look.” Keeping up with the times has certainly helped the spa stay relevant, even through challenging years. “In 2013, we saw a 5 percent increase in business,” says Umansky. “This all happened while undergoing the remodel for four months, hiring a new director, and seeing all the management team turnover. It was a huge success.” Here, Umansky shares how she keeps the spa on track.

How has the spa evolved over  the years to stay current?

A. The spa has evolved over the years by staying up to date on the latest trends in skincare. We travel to France every year to train with best-in-class estheticians. And, we always listen and respond, first and foremost, to our clients’ needs.

 

How do you attract new and repeat clients and encourage them to visit?

A. We tend to attract repeat clients, because we are so passionate about offering results-oriented skincare services. Clients often become walking, talking, glowing testimonies to the power of properly caring for their complexions. So, not only do clients return again and again, but they also tell their friends and family. Our best marketing is word of mouth.

 

How do you use digital marketing and social media to boost business?

A. We are on Facebook, and we promote special Yelp offers every month. We also do some SEO to boost our website’s page rank.

 

What did you want to accomplish with the recent renovation?

A. Every year, I travel to France to train with best-in-class estheticians in these beautiful, distinctively classic Parisian buildings that have been quietly coaxed into the 21st century. I loved that they maintained the original, intricate crown molding, but subtly painted over it, creating a seamless look. That’s the kind of soothing space I wanted to replicate for my clients. Fortunately, it was time to update the spa.

 

What have you learned from surviving the recession, and how do you plan to incorporate those lessons in the future?

A. The keys to running a successful spa include not only staying a step ahead of the rest but also sticking to the tried-and-true basics that I learned in Europe. We now offer technologically advanced treatments, such as DermaKinetics Facials, Ultherapy Ultrasound Technology, and NASA-developed LED light therapy. In the beginning of my career, for the first 20 years, all I cared about was what’s next and what’s new. But all the gadgetry can only take my clients’ skin so far. Now, I see the value of combining the latest technological breakthroughs with holistic therapies. It’s true what they say. What’s old is new again.