Spa Talk With Clinton Cox of OH! Spa at The Preserve

Meet Clinton Cox, spa director at OH! Spa at The Preserve (Richmond, RI), who has 14 years of experience in the spa industry.

Photo credit: Clinton Cox

What was the path that led you into the spa industry?  

I always knew I wanted to work a job where I could impact how people feel—this is what led me to the spa industry. Having a passion for hospitality and serving guests; along with the satisfaction I receive when creating memorable experiences that help guests feel refreshed, revitalized, and confident is the big draw for me.

What are the most challenging and rewarding parts of being in the spa industry?  

With COVID-19 having such a large impact on the spa industry in the last 2 years with revenues in the industry dropping 35 percent and a 20 percent loss of total number of U.S. spa employees not returning to the industry, makes recruitment of the best therapists, estheticians, and spa receptionists the biggest challenge currently. As for the most rewarding part of being in the spa industry, I love that the industry is a tight-knit family. We share the same goals, motivation, and challenges, which leads us to always staying in touch and assisting each other in sharing ideas, concepts, and strategies. There are even spa shows like ISPA and Live Love Spa where spa directors and other spa team members can share tips and ideas that will make our spa better along with strengthening the industry.

What is your proudest accomplishment?  

Opening the Bliss Spa in the W hotel in Hoboken, NJ, as the operations manager was a proud accomplishment, as it was a great success from the first day of opening along with the property being my first-time participating in opening a spa in a newly opened hotel. The spa is still very successful today and to see it continue to be successful make me very proud.

What has surprised you most about working in the spa industry?  

What surprised me most about working in the spa industry is that a spa is no longer just a luxury getaway enjoyed by the rich and famous. More and more people realize the importance of a reset for your body and mind that today’s modern spa treatments provide. A spa visit can offer you an enjoyable way to release accumulated stress from your body and reap the benefits that relaxation can provide as a part of your healthy lifestyle. It can help many people in combating depression, boosting confidence, and overall aiding in stress reduction.

Where do you think the industry is heading? 

The introduction of low-touch services is in future of the spa industry. Low-touch services provide an option that many people find to be both convenient and well-priced. Wellness-oriented options such as LED treatments, infrared sauna, halotherapy; and recovery services including cryotherapy, percussive therapy, and IV therapy will continue to grow and become more popular as the industry evolves.

What’s your favorite skincare ingredient?  

Vitamin C is my favorite ingredient for many reasons. For one, it has many health benefits for your skin including promoting collagen production and protecting against sun damage. Vitamin C is touted as one of the best ingredients on the market for aging support and the key to maintaining a smooth, even, and glowing complexion. It also helps with providing hydration, brightening your skin, reducing redness, and reducing hyperpigmentation. 

What positions have you worked in that you feel have been most influential to your career?  

Every spa management position I’ve taken has all been very influential and made an impact on the spa director I am today. Working in New York City—in Soho, the heart of the fashion district—I’ve learned so much running the spa operations for a large day spa. Also, opening a new spa in a new W Hotel in Hoboken, NJ, was influential as well as managing a large spa in Foxwoods Casino—the biggest casino on the east coast. All three stops had a different demographic and clientele, and I took what I’ve learned at each stop, and I applied the best of each prior opportunity into the luxurious OH! Spa at the Preserve club and Residences.

If you could work in any other profession in the world, what would you be?  

If I worked in another profession, it would be the medical industry. In a hospital, everything you do supports families and patients when they are at their most vulnerable. It really is a very special type of work. Hospital workers can also take pride in the fact that hospitals are the backbones of communities, and what you do directly supports the community. I’d love to be a part of that.

How would you sum up your personal philosophy?  

No matter how many less than desirable results you get, you keep moving toward your goal and taking action to get closer to it. You know that every failure is just a result you can learn from, and you view setbacks with a growth mindset to seek out the lesson. You don’t accept failure because every result that falls short of your hopes, teaches you more than you might expect. 

How do you like to spend your time away from work?  

I like to spend my time away from work helping to coach my daughter’s soccer team, dining at some of New York City’s best restaurants, and indulging in self-care at other spas and salons.

What are your three greatest priorities in life?  

My three greatest priorities would be family, health, and my career.

What’s the best advice you’ve received? 

Every person you meet is a potential door to a new opportunity personally or professionally. Build good bridges and be kind and empathetic because you never know how they’ll weave into the larger picture of your life.