As August and with it our spa’s annual promotion in honor of female friendship draws to a close, we asked Dorit Baxter the following questions:
Why honor female friendship in August?
International Friendship Day is always the first Sunday in August, but the connection between this spa and female friendship goes way back to the early 80s.
What is the connection?
In the first year of the 80s, I opened a prototype for the urban day spa in midtown Manhattan, and that was a decade which was very challenging for women.
Weren’t the challenges in the 70s when women fought for equality of opportunity?
Yes, of course; but the 80s brought different kinds of challenges. Suddenly there were new career opportunities for women. Women were feeling they had to be like lions in the boardroom and kittens in the bedroom. They were planning long-term career strategies while listening to the ticking of their biological clocks. In the 70s, they had learned the power of female friendship in the Conscious Raising groups, now they were struggling to find the time to see their friends.
Is that when you began to see the spa as place to which friends could to together?
Yes, but I didn’t think in terms of the word Spa. I know it’s difficult to understand now, when there is a mini-day spa in every mall in America, but back then a spa meant a destination venue which only the rich could afford. What I began to see than was a connection between my boutique salon, which offered massages as well as skin, hair, and nail care, as place where my schedule-stressed clients could relax, by themselves, and also with friends. My salon on East 58th Street became just that.
How did that first venue evolve into what you have now?
By the end of the 80’s there was talk of a kinder and gentler America, so I opened a much larger space on West 57th Street, at the core of midtown instead of at its edge. I wanted it to be an “urban oasis” for my clients, a place where they could enjoy the scrubs and packs that were then only available at destination spas. I continued to maintain a pampering ambience where hardworking women could come to be pampered as well as beatified, where massages and varied spa treatments induced a feeling of wellness. I wanted my clients to feel comfortable in inviting their friends to share this experience in a place where they could take time for themselves and one another.
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