ISPA: highlights from the exhibit floor

ISPA day 2 is nearing the end, and I feel energized, inspired, and so glad to have seen so many of my spa friends. Wise Voices, the general sessions, and the professional development sessions have been amazing. And the show floor has impressed me… Here are some of my favorite booths. If you have not yet had the chance to walk the exhibit floor front to back and back to front, here are brands and people you will not want to miss.

COOLA Suncare (booth 613)

When my brother-in-law could not find a sunscreen that did not irritate his skin, I turned to COOLA upon the recommendation of a friend. And the brand lived up to its promise: “healthy sunscreen people want to wear.” I chatted with Michelle and learned more about the brand – and had my burning question answered: this is not organic sunscreen. Why? Because that is impossible, it is an oxymoron. The active ingredients (both in the physical and chemical blocks) are not organic. But the inactive ingredients are 70% certified organic. We had a great conversation on ingredients, marketing, and labeling, and agreed that “the best sunscreen is one that is worn.”

Dog Fashion Spa (booth 251)

If you know me, you know I am not a dog person. So seeing this booth was just so intriguing to me I had to stop by. Elena was wonderful, she explained the brand to me – which answers the needs of “how do you cater to a dog parent?” Apparently, 60% of our spagoers are dog parents. They take care of themselves, and of their pets. So expanding beyond the pet market made sense for this luxury pet brand – selling products and accessories for pets that have the best parents!

Hydrafacial (booth 1005)

I had a birthday during ISPA and so was looking for anything that would make me look fresher, younger, more glowing. Come in Greg and Mechele from Hydrafacial, with the best gift – a 20-minute treatment to accomplish all of the above. Mechele, one of the Hydrafacial therapists who has been with the brand for 12 years (and you won’t believe her age!) is technically perfect and a wealth of information on the device. It’s a facial with extra “oomph.” My skin confirms it. Stop by and get your treatment.

Magaschoni (booth 106)

I know this brand from my favorite clothing boutique in DC, Betsy Fisher, and did not realize it was so present in the spa world (this is their second ISPA). Known for its quality cashmere clothing, which comes in a rainbow of colors, Magaschoni is represented in the leading spas of the world, including Ritz-Carlton and Four Seasons. If nothing else, stop by to feel the merchandise… so soft and luxurious.

SalonBiz (booth 154)

I am biased as I think this company (you might know it as SpaBiz) has the best-looking CEO in the history of CEOs. But seriously, stop by and drop your business card to have a chance to win an Apple watch. While there, speak with Bradley about hotel integration, the mobile checkout system (for iPad), and learn more about the SalonBiz app, which therapists have embraced wholeheartedly. You might even meet your loved one at that booth…

Universal Companies (booth 1010)

There are many reasons to stop by this booth. The Universal catalogue is, and has been for 30 years, the “Spa Bible.” And Universal is always re-inventing themselves and growing. Case in point: their September acquisition of A La Mode Partners. In a sign that the Universe goes full circle, Tracie Wertz, who used to work for Universal Companies, left to launch her own retail company (A La Mode Partners), is now back with Universal. She will be expanding and managing the retail division at Universal. Stop by the booth to speak with her about the experience of selling her company – and to discover two new brands: Vita Jewel (water bottles with gemstones to purify and alkalize water) and Sparkle (ingestible collagen).

Enjoy the rest of ISPA, and explore the exhibit floor. And when you’re done with that, head over to the Relaxation area for more amazing brands including SpaRitual.

BeautyView: Marti Morenings, Founder and Chairman, Universal Companies

I don’t get star-struck in the typical way. Seeing or meeting Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, or even Angelina Jolie won’t faze me. However, having a burger next to President Obama makes me grin from ear to ear (some of you might remember that picture). And meeting successful entrepreneurs gives me butterflies in my stomach. Of the successful entrepreneurs I have had the good fortune of getting to know, Marti Morenings, Founder and Chairman of Universal Companies, is one of my favorites. She started Universal Companies with her father, grew the company, sold it, and then bought it back from the purchasers to grow it even further. She lives wellness through and through; she is a woman entrepreneur; she is a single mom; as a serial entrepreneur, she is now involved in the alternative energy sector; and she wears Jicky by Guerlain (Guerlain’s first fragrance, and the only perfume I have ever worn)! What is there not to love?

AP: What city were you born in? MM: I was born in Belem’, Brazil.

AP: What city to do you live in? MM: I now live in Bristol, VA.

AP: What is your middle name?  MM: I don’t have one.

AP: What is your astrological sign? MM: Leo.

AP: What is your favorite thing about the beauty industry? MM: My favorite thing is the spa and wellness component, and the idea that we can have an impact on the beauty that comes from within.

AP: Least favorite thing? MM: My least favorite thing is when beauty becomes all about the external image and less about what’s inside.

AP: What is your most prized possession? MM: My health.

AP: What is something about you most people don’t know? MM: I have two very energetic Jack Russell Terriers – Spud and Mia.

AP: Do you wear a watch? If yes, what model? MM: Yes, a Cartier wristwatch.

AP: Diamonds or pearls? MM: Diamonds.

AP: If you could have dinner with the person of your choice, who would it be? MM: I would have loved to have met Steve Jobs and shared a meal with him. I’m reading his bio now, and I think it would have been fascinating to have known him – he was the consummate entrepreneur.

AP: What is your secret to work/life balance? MM: Make time for yourself – it is the best thing you can do for your children, your family and your career, not to mention your health. I am hooked on doing yoga every morning, and I try to do it at sunrise and outside on my back deck if the weather is good. It is an incredible way to start the day!

AP: What are your three top tips for travel? MM: 1. Pack light by picking one color scheme and including items that can be dressed up or down.  2. Drink lots of water. 3. Pack almonds or other protein foods to snack on.

AP: What is your favorite book? MM: Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.

AP: What is your cocktail of choice? MM: Scotch and soda.

AP: What is your #1 beauty secret? MM: Moisturizer and getting enough sleep.

AP: What fragrance do you wear? MM: Jicky by Gurlain.

AP: Botox or not? MM: Not.

AP: Hair color: natural or not? MM: Not.

AP: 3 songs on your ipod right now. MM: Looking for Answers – Susan Tedeschi, Melt My Heart to Stone – Adele,  Songbird – Eva Cassidy.

AP: Quote to live by. MM: “To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and to endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” Ralph Waldo Emerson.

AP: Who is your mentor? MM: My mom – she was the ultimate multi-tasker!

AP: Words of advice for young women starting their careers today. MM: Don’t listen when someone tells you that you can’t do it. Think in terms of partnerships with employees, vendors and colleagues, and look for ways to make them more successful. It always comes back to you tenfold.

Tomorrow is my birthday

Tomorrow, October 19th, 2010, is my 33rd birthday. Which means that tonight feels particularly wonderful, like an early Friday evening, before the week-end has officially begun, but with the expectations of great things ahead.

Tomorrow will be a great day, filled with some of my favorite things, including work (of course!), a BFF, my current favorite playlist, gorgeous shoes, and champagne (of course).

While I was initially supposed to spend tomorrow in DC with my someone special, I am instead spending tomorrow in Abingdon, VA surrounded by special people. Tomorrow and Wednesday marks the true beginning of Alchimie’s partnership with Universal Companies, the leading US spa distributor. While we signed our contract on the 21st of last month, tomorrow is when the real work begins. I will be spending two days at the HQ training the entire Universal Companies team. I have been working on the training content for weeks; I have been working on this relationship for years; I cannot imagine a better birthday present than to spend the day with them, a true step to taking my business to the next level.

With me, sharing this experience and this momentous birthday (on Wednesday, can I still say I am in my early thirties, or am I know in my mid-thirties?) is one of my favorite people in the universe, my business partner and BFF Catherine Littlefield. She has been by my side since 2004, she has seen Alchimie Forever grow, and has always believed in it as much as I have. She knows what this means to me, to our brand. And she loves birthdays. I can’t wait to celebrate my 33rd with her.

I have always been of the mind that my birthday is special, no matter where I am, no matter if I am working, not working, with family, without family. Tomorrow, in addition to being with the Universal Companies team and Catherine, three specific things will make October 19th, 2010, special to me.

First, I will wake up and immediately turn on my current favorite playlist, tunes by Goldfrapp. I will play them loudly, at 5:30 am, in my hotel room (sorry, neighbor!), and prance around to the sound of them, before even having coffee. I might even sing along a little. How can a day that starts with this music not be a great day?

Second, I will wear my birthday present from my someone special, the most gorgeous sexy shoes I have ever owned. Thank you my BFF Kassie from Simply Soles for carrying this pair of Bruno Maglis. I know I should save them for evening celebrations, but tomorrow, I will wear them all day long! How can a day in those shoes not be a great day?

Third, at dinner, I will have champagne. Of course. Veuve Cliquot if I can find it in this remote area of VA. If not, any sparkling wine will do. And whatever it ends up being, the bubbles will taste absolutely magical. How can a day that ends with champagne (or bubbly) not be a great day?

I can hardly wait for October 19, 2010.