With years of experience in the business, these spa consultants have seen it all. Here are some of their favorite anecdotes—the good, the bad, and the ugly.
“When opening one of the larger spas (no names here) we told the owners that we needed a soft opening. During the rooms set-ups—not even arriving at the soft-opening date yet—“Access Hollywood” announces their arrival and comes through the doors with cameras rolling, a few members of the “Sopranos” cast in tow. We opened packages of uniforms, got three rooms set up, moved the boxes into the remaining rooms, and stood at the door, welcomed the cast, performed treatments, and then all together gave a huge sigh of relief when all was done.”—Jane Segerberg, founder and president, Segerberg Spa Consulting.
“My worst experience was a project in Texas. Unfortunately, the ’angel’ investor decided to become more involved, took over, and fired the ladies I was working with. He ended up being so unbalanced that I had to quit and even ask my lawyer to enforce that he stop contacting me. To this day, he still tries to connect with me on LinkedIn.”—Rianna Riego, chief brand and wellness officer, Civana
“When I went to meet a spa owner on the Cape for the very first time, she said, 'Let’s meet for a sandwich,’ so I planned to have lunch and showed up at her location in Plymouth. The front desk called her, and she was actually waiting at one of their other properties in Sandwich! It turned out she wanted to meet me in Sandwich, not have a sandwich. That was maybe 10 years ago, and thankfully, she didn’t hold it against me, because to this day, we still work together.”—Julie Pankey, managing partner, JMPankey Partners
“Back in the day of slideshows, I’d flown to the island of Mauritius for an interview. I was pitching to a mainly French audience, and I had my slides all sideways and upside down, and the translator didn’t show up. In the end, it was hilarious. So, what was initially a disaster wound up being okay. I’ve shown up with coffee on my suit and gotten to an interview so late there were only six minutes left for my time. That was the only one we didn’t get, but it wasn’t meant to be. That’s how it goes. You don’t get them all.” —Cary Collier, founder and principal, Blu Spas and Collier Concepts
“Early on when I started the business, I was hired by a former boss and friend who took advantage of me and ended up not paying. It was a valuable lesson and has never happened since—I always get deposits and signed contracts before starting work, regardless of the relationship.”—Amy McDonald, owner and CEO, Under a Tree