The idea started over drinks.
Nathalie lamented to Ilana about her issues in finding a good massage therapist who specializes in TMJ work. Plus, she hated having to find a new therapist when her favorite left the day spa. Ilana faced her own frustrations in the spa industry alongside her business partner, Christina Stratton. They managed spas that were primarily dependent on hotel guest rather than the local community. That meant treatment rooms sat empty most of the day, despite having amazing amenities and services. Meanwhile, at a day spa Ilana owned in Chicago, Spa Space, was fully booked. Why? Clients value skilled therapists and become loyal customers when they find one.
The opportunity to vastly improve the spa experience for customers, owners, and our teams was evident.
The spa industry was notorious for being behind on adopting new technologies and Ilana knew it was ripe for disruption. She wanted to be the one to do it. With the help of her business partner, Christina Stratton, Ilana and Nathalie started developing Spa Space. Ilana manages business strategy, while Christina oversees branding. Nathalie took on communications and became the customer advocate, ensuring that guests were our first priority. But weeks before they even started testing, the world changed.
COVID-19 arrived. And it was ruthless to the spa industry.
The Coronavirus had shut down ISM before she or anyone else could. Ilana and Christina had the heartbreaking task of closing all of their spa locations. Hundreds of therapists and staff were laid off or furloughed. She knew that if any of the spas ever re-opened, they would never be the same as the day they closed.
The catalyst in the crisis.
With the world shut down, the whole team went all-in on Spa Space. The pandemic prompted a pivot. Spa Space now needed to offer ALL spa services, not just massage. Instead of launching in just one or two cities, it would be the backbone of ISM’s operation nation-wide.
As we prepared to open our doors again, our team took the opportunity to transform operations and provide a safe, new way to the spa. We emerged with a Commitment to Safety. Along with the Standards of Service, it is a promise we make to all our guests and our therapists.
Finally, we are excited to bring you Spa Space. It is a tool that will match guests’ needs with specialized therapists at resort locations. It will allow more spas to open with fewer challenges, and still provide high-quality service. Spa Space is a platform for therapists to get back to work, where they want and when they want.