Director of the Guerlain Spa in Toronto talks about the challenges and opportunities inherent in providing an exceptional spa experience
Darlene McCarthy & Lee-Anne Fleming
Darlene McCarthy and Lee-Anne Fleming regularly finish each other’s sentences. The Newfoundlanders have known each other since high school and worked together in the industry for more than 30 years. They teach aesthetics at the local community college and started Ossetra Wondrous Earth in 2005. When the college dispensary would run out of supplies the two women were often left waiting for shipments so they developed their own products. People started coming back for more. The women looked around at all of the natural wonder their province has to offer such as iceberg water, seaweed, berries and caviar, and developed a simple, good-for-you line of natural skincare with active ingredients.
My best advice for working with a friend is… we both have our strong points and our weak points. We work very well together that way. We listen to each other and we take each other’s opinions, thoughts, and likes and dislikes and really think about them. When you are in tune with each other that way, you’re not a one-man band. We want to be an orchestra.
… for developing a product line is… never give up. You have to have a passion for it and really believe in what you’re doing. Some days are diamonds and some days are stones and you have to take it all in stride.
… for going green… be very conscious about what you are doing in the spa as in what you are using—anything from your linens, your paperwork, even the uniforms that the estheticians wear to your output such as samples or garbage. Make sure that if you are going to be a green spa you are true to what you are saying.
The most important thing is… make sure whoever you go into business with, you check references and maintain good paperwork. Good paperwork makes for good business relationships. That doesn’t have to do with us. We’ve known each other since high school. If we didn’t like each other we’d be long gone!
by Theresa Rogers