Q & A with Emily Richey, spa director at The Spa at Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado (NM)

Emily RicheyWhat was the path that led you into the spa industry?

When I first started with Four Seasons, I was a manager in training. After a couple of years at the front desk, I was advised that I would be a good fit for the spa. I quickly realized that this was where I was meant to be. 

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

Managing a large group of people with completely different backgrounds—therapists, hairstylists, attendants, and front desk staff—always proves to be a challenge. It's also very rewarding when we can all come together as a team and achieve our goals. That is huge to me. I also love being creative in introducing new treatments and, of course, my favorite is the products. I am the ultimate guinea pig and will try anything that might work well for the spa. I'm also pretty discerning so a product must be really great for me to fall in love.

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

It seems like everyone knows someone who knows someone and so forth. It's such a close-knit group. 

What qualities do you look for in your spa staff?

I want people to love what they do, and if they've never worked in the spa industry before, I want them to be open-minded and enthusiastic about learning. 

Where do you think the industry is heading?

I feel like it's getting more and more medical. It seems like there is a medical spa popping up on every corner.

What is the most bizarre treatment you’ve experienced?

Nothing too bizarre, but I did get a hair treatment in Egypt where they put the conditioner on my hair for what seemed like hours. Then, the hairstylist proceeded to wrap my hair in individual foil dreadlocks and used a straightener over the foil. I was scared to death my hair was going to fry off.

What’s your go-to spa treatment?

I love hot stone massages.

What’s your favorite skincare ingredient?

Anything that says I am going to stay young forever is my favorite ingredient.  

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

Not only do I run our spa and fitness center, but I’m also the buyer for our boutique on property. I love shopping, and now that I buy for more than our spa, I’m finding it a great learning experience that I want to expand upon. 

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

Either a personal shopper or an orthodontist, as both are great career paths. 

How would you sum up your personal philosophy?

I am all about loving what I do. If I don't love something that I am doing on a personal or professional note, why waste my time and anyone else's to continue doing something that does not make me happy? I want to be happy and successful in life, and to maintain that, I've got to keep the passion and keep on keepin’ on.

What are your three greatest priorities in life?

Family, friends, and health. 

What’s the best advice you’ve received?

Go with your gut (as my mother says), because most of the time it’s right.