Image Is Everything, Or So The Saying Goes. In Order to distinguish her business from the competition, spa owner Sekayna Mahon came up with the idea of using visuals of fun yet sophisticated spa divas to represent her spa, Honeydew (Charleston, SC). "When I came up with the concept for the spa, I decided that I wanted it to be fun and whimsical—a real treat for overstressed people," says Mahon. "As I began to get into the spa theme and develop the menu, I wanted to stand out from the crowd, which seemed to have nothing more than stock images of people being rubbed." Inspiration hit when Mahon was watching a cartoon while babysitting. "It just clicked to have a lovely illustrated image depict the spa," says Mahon. "Hence, our spa girls were born."
To find the right illustrator, Mahon looked at numerous illustrations and tried tracing them back to the original artists. "A lot of times the artist will sign the image somewhere, and I got quite a few leads that way," says Mahon. "I eventually came across an artist whose work I really liked, found her signature, and tracked her down." The illustrations—the spa has one for spring and another for fall—cost $800 each for a yearly license and are used in all of the spa's marketing materials, including brochures, business cards, coupons, postcards, posters, and on its website. Mahon plans to create characters for each season next year. "We stand out from our competitors immediately, and people remember who we are just by remembering our spa girls," she says.