A journey outside the comfort zone at a psychedelic-assisted therapy retreat.
Tucked into the quiet community of Oakville, Ontario is a spa where guests munch on sweet treats and sit in perfectly pink robes while waiting for a pedicure or, perhaps, a chocolate face mask. They talk about pop culture, their social circle and who’s dating who. While much of this is typical in spas across the country, there’s one big difference: the guests are young girls and this spa is just for them.
The A-Ha Moment
Pretty in Pink Spa Studio was developed as a spa specifically for young girls, tweens and teens. Owner and founder, Sonia Imerti, is a mother of two who says she was inspired to create an age-appropriate spa environment after she unknowingly brought her young daughter, Sofia, to a spa with a strict “no children” policy. “She said, ‘Mommy, if you ever take me again can you make sure it’s where I’m allowed,’” says Imerti. “That was an a-ha moment. I thought, you’re right; there should be a place where you can go to do this because girls love this too, especially with their moms.”
Imerti spent the next three years researching kid spas in North America and noticed a substantial gap in the Canadian market. In 2011, she was finally ready and opened Pretty in Pink in the upper-class community of Oakville located approximately 30 minutes from Toronto.
It’s a Feeling
With a name like Pretty in Pink, first time spa-goers might expect a candy-coated wonderland splashed in fuchsia and rose. Instead, Imerti’s created a stylish spa atmosphere perfect for both mom and daughter. In the main space, the walls are painted in demure colours with a bold stripe to accent the elegance. Pops of colour appear everywhere from the light fixtures to the foot baths.
“My place is not pink,” says Imerti. “It’s just how pink makes you feel.” The spa setting is chic, encouraging and positive. Her wall of inspiration, located in the pedicure area, showcases quotes she’s collected over the years like “No one is perfect, that is why pencils have erasers” and “Little girls with dreams become women with vision.”
“We’re creating an environment that’s inspiring and builds self esteem,” she says.
Pretty in Pink offers a range of natural spa services and themed packages in a chemical-free environment. The packages range from “Besties Day” to “Teen Dream” to “Mom and Daughter Day at the Spa,” and Imerti says the last package is the most popular. The mom and daughter day starts with relaxing side-by-side facials as well as light shoulder massages. The facials are followed by a “Signature Pink Manicure” for mom and a “Mini Manicure” for daughter. Champagne flutes filled with pink lemonade, pink robes, and a photo keepsake are just some of the little details that make the day extra special. Pretty in Pink will often modify the packages depending on the guest’s needs says Imerti.
“Some moms will have Shellac nails and ask for pedicures instead or they’ll ask to bring two daughters and we can do that. We just want you to come and have that great bonding time with your daughter.”
Making Moms Stress Less
Birthday party packages are also available and come with themes such as “Lovely in Lavender” and “Gorgeous in Green.” Each weekend, Pretty in Pink hosts three to four spa parties which require a minimum of six girls, but have been as big as 15. Even during the larger parties, the spa environment stays as it should: serene and relaxing.
“We’re playing their choice of music and we have videos going on in the background, but we really keep that spa environment,” says Imerti.
Although the spa has two party rooms, Imerti never hosts two birthdays simultaneously. “It’s kind of like two brides sharing the same hall. We want each girl to know it’s all about her,” she says. The birthday packages have been very successful since the spa’s opening. Everything from the invitations to signature cupcakes are provided by the spa, and it’s this attention to detail that brings girls back year after year.
“We have girls who have celebrated their birthday for the third year in a row. One year they might get ‘Pretty in Pink’ and the next they’ll get ‘Gorgeous in Green.’”
For mom, it’s the simplicity of the experience that makes her return to Pretty in Pink. The spa’s dedication to detail lets her sit back and enjoy the moments she’ll miss sooner than she knows and Imerti considers that the biggest compliment of all.
“The number one piece of feedback we get for parties is, ‘Thank you so much, that was the most stress-free experience!” Imerti’s received such a positive response to Pretty in Pink that she recently decided to expand the brand through franchising. Imerti’s first franchise location will launch in Ontario and if it’s successful she plans to continue expanding across Canada and into the U.S.
“This is all new to me. It’s a dream I didn’t even think I had the potential to dream,” she says. Imerti says she’s not looking for mass immediate expansion and is instead taking her time to find the perfect franchisee for partnership.
“I’m looking for the right person, the right fit,” she says. “At the end of the day it’s my reputation and my brand. I take that very, very seriously.”