Q & A with Amanda Schmiege, spa director at The Red Door–Union Square (NYC)

Amanda SchmiegeMeet Amanda Schmiege, spa director at The Red Door–Union Square (NYC)

How many years have you been involved in the spa industry?

I have been working in the spa industry for 20 years. 

What was the path that led you there? 

I began in the spa industry as a receptionist in a day spa and salon in my hometown and fell in love with the energy of the environment. I proceeded to go to the University of Michigan, working my way through college at another spa and salon and going to every industry conference I could. After graduation, I moved to Chicago and continued to work in the industry and have never left.

What is your proudest accomplishment?

My proudest accomplishment is seeing my spas come to life, whether it is opening them from the ground up or turning them around when they needed some direction. The moment when the team feels good about their work, their service, and their paychecks is the moment I feel proud that I got them there.

Where do you think the industry is heading?

I believe the industry is continuing to make significant strides in becoming more accessible to a broader market with trends for a multitude of spa-goers, whether it is for fast services, or wellness-focused treatments for lifestyle guests who need refreshing.  

What is the strangest client request you’ve fielded?

The strangest client requests generally come from guests after their own at-home beauty blunders. A guest once gave herself a horribly orange self-tan and asked if we could customize a tanning-removal service for her.

What is the most bizarre treatment you’ve experienced?

The Turkish Hammam treatment is the most unique service I have experienced. Performed on a heated marble stone, it is an aggressive exfoliation bathing treatment that leaves your skin softer than you could imagine.

What’s your go-to spa treatment?

My go-to spa treatment is the perfect massage after a warm steam. I love spa settings with decadent steam rooms, and I enjoy trying to decompress for a few minutes before beginning my service. I have had my share of poor massages, and when I experience technicians who have a special touch and pleasant professional demeanor, it is perfection. 

What’s your favorite skincare ingredient?

My favorite ingredient I look for in skincare is currently hyaluronic acid, as it is the most moisturizing and effective.

Tell us two things about yourself we don’t know.

I have grown to dislike spa music. It does not make me relax. Give me a massage with some classic Frank Sinatra or Ella Fitzgerald playing, and I would be so excited.

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

My first job as a receptionist in a day spa and salon was the most influential in guiding my passion for the industry. I also feel that working behind the desk is the single-most educational opportunity you can have in any spa. To master the art of the spa books and be able to quickly assess opportunities on them has helped me manage teams and build revenues.

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

I don’t think I could work in any other industry.

What’s the best advice you’ve received?

One of my mentors, Mario Tricoci, used to always say, “If you love what you do, you will be passionate, and if you’re passionate, you will be successful.” So I say, put your heart in it and keep moving forward.—Compiled by Jessica Morrobel