NJ Day Spa owner, Valentina Chistova, talks about the struggles the spa industry is facing during the country’s recession and how she has helped her own day spa battle through these tough times.

PRLog (Press Release) – May 05, 2009 – The recession has forced many Americans to second think their “non-essential” spending budget.  Included in that category are spa services.  In a time when spa is thought of as a luxury and not a necessity (even though there are many proven health benefits to visiting the spa regularly), many spas are feeling the effects of an economy gone sour.  

Americans are foregoing their regular trips to the spa for services like massages and facials.  Services that not only help you feel better, but also help you look better. And, when you look great, you feel great. Undoubtedly, many Americans are having an especially difficult time struggling through the economy.  Many of their treasured healing rituals have been cut from their budget.

Aquamedica Salon and Day Spa in New Jersey has been working hard to help spa goers enjoy the same great services at recession-proof prices.  The ocean-front spa in Long Branch launched an ‘Aquamedica Cares’ program at the start of the economy’s downfall.
The spa has been on a mission ever since to provide affordable prices to clients during the country’s economic setback.  “We know people are unemployed and trying to save money.  But that doesn’t mean that they should deprive themselves of the things they love most.  Coming to the spa is truly a healthy experience on so many levels.  Most importantly, it helps people relieve stress and tension in a way that is safe and natural,” said Valentina Chistova, owner and skin care director of Aquamedica.  

Aquamedica has been offering as much as 50 percent off of all salon and spa services by sending out various Email alerts to their client database and posting their specials on their website, http://www.aquamedicaspa.com, and various blog sites.  

We recently sat down with spa guru Valentina Chistova to hear her thoughts on the economy, her business, and why the ‘Aquamedica Cares’ program has worked so well for her.  The following is an excerpt from our interview with her.

TCR: You have been giving so much for so little, what is your reason behind this? Why in an environment like yours did you choose to discount your services so much?

VALENTINA: We are all in the same boat with the economy situation, and we can all help each other. We are well known in the area with a large clientele, and we would like our guests to continue to enjoy the services that we offer.  It is good for the clients and it is good for us. Discounting the services so clients can still afford to come keeps our employees busy so that they can pay their bills and maintain their position here.  The clients of course get the benefit of receiving their favorite spa services at special ‘recession proof’ prices.  We can help them feel better, proving more than ever that spa is not only luxurious, but offers many health benefits as well.

TCR: What do you mean for health? Normally consumers don’t consider the spa someplace to go for ‘health benefits’.  With an establishment like yours, people get the feeling that this is a very pampering environment.

VALENTINA:  It is about luxury here. But at the same time, it’s extremely beneficial to one’s health.  If you are stressed and aching because you have been at the computer all day looking for a job, a full body massage will relieve tension and symptoms associated with tension.  Headaches, back aches, poor circulation, problematic skin….there are so many physical manifestations of stress.  We can help reduce or eliminate that entirely.  When you talk about luxury, people assume they can’t afford it.  This is why we are trying to make it affordable so people can take advantage of the health aspects of spa services, especially now.  If you make it affordable people can come and people can benefit from that.  

TCR: I assume your employees are on a commission pay structure? How do they feel about the discounted services since it means they will be making less money?

VALENTINA: Yes, in this industry, commission is standard. I had a meeting with my employees, and we had an open conversation about what can be done for us, for our company, for our clients, so we can all still keep our jobs and service our clients as well.  We came to an understanding together that we can unite our forces, to be on the same level, looking as a team that we all need to survive. We all agreed.  Cutting prices was best for everyone.  

I have to thank my staff. It is all possible because we care, that’s we called the program ‘Aquamedica Cares’.  We are proud that more people have been introduced to our spa services now than ever before.

TCR: Are you worried that people will see you as ‘cheap’ or ‘discounted’ place all the time?

VALENTINA: No not at all, when times will be better, it will be better not only for us but for everybody. But we will always have promotions.  Check our calendar and sign for our newsletter so every week you can know what is going on at Aquamedica.

TCR: What is the reaction from your clients for the discounts?

VALENTINA: Our demographic became much wider because people are coming from all over now to take advantage of the specials. Most interesting is that we have repeat business from them.  More and more visitors are coming to our website, which tells me the program is very popular. People are thankful that they can continue to enjoy our services.  More group/corporate parties are booking now because of the price point.  A big spa party for a business costs less then giving each person a big bonus. And employees appreciate the spa gift.

TCR: What is the most popular service that people are looking for?

VALENTINA: Massage is number 1 because of the health benefits.  We increased our business in the nail department tremendously.  Also services like microdermabrasion have become more popular now that the price is reduced.  People who were once thinking about it are jumping on the chance and bringing their friends, and bringing groups.  With our prices, they make an event out of it.  

TCR: You said you were having large groups of people like corporate come for events, how do you accommodate them?

VALENTINA: Because our facility is 5,000 square feet and has many different departments, we can section off large parties so that everyone is being occupied at all times.  We have a great dream room where we can set up food and refreshments.  So people who are in treatments are in private rooms, and others are in dream room, then they switch. They can have exclusive use of our facility, sometimes we close to the public. We have a huge history of events that we manage very well; everybody works like a team player.  

TCR: who runs your facility?

VALENTINA: My son Anatoliy and I run the business, and we take a very active role in the day-to-day operations.   Anatoliy’s specialty is coordinating and executing the large group events.  He has a great business background, very detailed and very organized.  He makes sure our clients get what they want. We make it our priority to be with the clients all of the time and to know them by name. We don’t run our business from our office; we are always here, available for anyone.

About Valentina Chistova
Valentina Chistova is a world-renowned aesthetician and beauty expert whose experience encompasses all facets of skin care and body treatments. Internationally trained, educated and certified, Valentina has devoted more than twenty years to her profession.
Valentina is a member of the National Cosmetology Association and a CIDESCO candidate (Comite International Desthetique et de Cosmetologie Desthetique), which is the highest degree of beauty therapy certification available in the United States and worldwide.

For more information about Aquamedica Salon and Day Spa, please visit http://www.aquamedicaspa.com