Spa Talk with Michael Pollak of Heyday

Meet Michael Pollak, cofounder and chief brand officer of Heyday

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

Since we began planning Heyday. 

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

I started my career in design but quickly migrated from the design side to the business and strategy side, working in hospitality design and concept development for boutique and corporate clients. I also received my Masters from the Cornell Hotel School and definitely got a serious dose of the hospitality industry's warmth and complexity. 

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

How low the bar can sometimes be for the employee experience. Commission structures that incite drama, a lack of benefits for people who give their bodies and energy as a career, and a lack of building relationships with clients when they're outside the doors. 

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

The most challenging part is that at the end of the day, it's a people business. Consistency and growth are always active focuses. It's also the most rewarding part of it. To hear from a team member that this is the best place they've worked makes all the effort worthwhile. 

What is your proudest accomplishment?

With Heyday, creating jobs and a workplace people can come to where they feel support, growth, vitality. 

What qualities do you look for in your spa staff?

Communication. Ninja technical skills are a must, but the ability to communicate, manage expectations, and teach and share with clients is by far the Heyday difference. 

Where do you think the industry is heading?

Specialization. We love a great resort spa but the services that live within those can't be made accessible under that business model.

What is the strangest client request you’ve fielded?

Luckily, we haven't fielded too many. Maybe bringing a dog in the treatment room. We let it happen once. The little guy was too cute and quiet. 

What new spa treatment would you like to try?

Facial acupuncture. 

What’s your go-to spa treatment?

A Heyday facial with microdermabrasion. And a massage but I get those far too infrequently. 

What’s your favorite skincare ingredient?

Pure hyaluronic acid.

Tell us two things about you that we don’t know?

I have been an indoor cycling instructor since my days at Cornell. Yet for all of my days around people, I love escaping to upstate New York in the middle of nowhere. 

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

Developing products and services for corporate clients. Many of the times I wasn't the end customer, but that forced me to put myself in the customer's shoes and invent and build with imagination and without biases. 

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

Quietly organizing closets all day. Or a figure skating commentator. 

How would you sum up your personal philosophy?

Make it organized and make it beautiful. 

What’s the best advice you’ve received?

Find a partner in business who covers off on the skills you don't excel at, but ensure you have the same values across everything.