Spa Kingston founder, Reneé Maya, is more than just your ordinary small business owner — her drive and passion for changing people's lives are what drew her to opening up her successful San Diego skin care spa. After battling multiple skin issues that went unchanged with various dermatological interventions, she finally found relief after a life-changing experience with an aesthetician.
After seeing how much clear, glowing skin boosted her confidence and realizing how effective client-specific regimens are in treating chronic skin conditions, she realized she wanted to help others put their best face forward too. Her motivation as the creator of Spa Kingston was to create an environment and experience tailored to each of her guests’ needs and goals. She truly believes that with the right tools, everybody can be truly happy in their own skin.
This week, we sat down with Reneé to learn more about her journey with Booker and her highly-sought out skin care spa.
Q1: What prompted you to open Spa Kingston?
I experienced a variety of skin issues, including very bad acne, that left me feeling embarrassed and self-conscious. I tried countless skin care lines, dermatologists and medications but I could not find a method of controlling and preventing my acne. I finally began seeing an aesthetician that was able to create a customized regimen and treatment plan for me and I immediately began seeing results. It felt like a breath of fresh air; I started feeling confident in my skin again. I knew that I wanted to acquire the knowledge and tools to make people feel confident in their skin again and that I would be able to do that if I created a beautiful, tranquil spa with a results-driven acne clinic incorporated in.
Q2: What has been your biggest challenge as a small business owner?
Small business comes with countless challenges to overcome! I am constantly putting out fires! I would have to say one of my biggest challenges as a small business owner has been learning how to delegate because I cannot do everything. Another challenge I face is learning to scale up the business effectively without losing the attention to detail in all our signature touches and the quality/time we put into all of our services.
Q3: What has been the most unexpected experience about starting and owning Spa Kingston?
The most unexpected experience that Spa Kingston has brought me has been establishing really strong friendships and relationships with our vendors, our collaborators, our staff members and especially our clients! Getting to be apart of our clients' skin and body transformations has touched my heart and soul in ways that I will never forget! We also have teamed up with philanthropies such as Girl Rising and invited the big and little sisters from the mentorship program in for a day of bonding and pampering. Helping people take time for themselves and engage in self-care and self-love has been an unforgettable experience!
Q4: What advice would you give to other people looking to make the jump to entrepreneurship?
Stop making excuses, start somewhere and enjoy the process. I truly believe that if you do your research, write down your goals, set deadlines and utilize your resources, you can make anything happen! If you have a passion and an idea, get on it before someone else does.
Q5: Where do you get inspiration for how you run Spa Kingston?
I do my best to read as many books as possible, listen to podcasts, explore other spas and wellness centers around the world (when I can) and also listen to our guests and staff members. I think it is extremely important to get as much feedback as possible — but there is a push and pull between listening to your community and staff members while also keeping your blinders on to avoid negativity and self-doubt. Sometimes you have to trust your vision and direction but also be flexible and open to innovation.
Q6: We LOVE your Instagram page! Do you have any tips or tricks on how to use Instagram effectively?
Thank you so much! My team and I have noticed that our followers enjoy posts and stories that are more interactive and original. We utilize giveaways, polls, posts that encourage comments, user-generated content as well as our own original content as much as possible! In terms of consistency, I also recommend staying true to the look/essence of your brand so your posts and branding are noticeable and memorable!
Q7: How has Booker impacted your business?
Booker has significantly impacted how we run Spa Kingston and has been an asset to the company especially in terms of organization and scheduling. We really use all of Booker's tools to stay on top of everything including our booking system, inventory, spa memberships, sales, customer feedback, etc. They even give us marketing tips and are always available to jump on an online chat or a call when we run into any issues or have any questions.
Q8: How do you learn what your customers want? How do you get their feedback? Has there been any insight from customers that helped you meet their needs better?
There are many avenues that we use to understand what our customers want. We use Facebook, Instagram polls, Yelp, Mailchimp, Booker surveys and even simply open communication with our members and guests to get constant feedback. There has absolutely been insight from our customers that has helped us meet their needs and many others' needs better. Giving our customers the experience that they dream of is our main priority.
Q9: What role has technology played in the success of Spa Kingston?
We have been taking the initiative to be as sustainable and paperless as possible at Spa Kingston, which has required us to get very well-acquainted with technology and integrating into our business. On the administrative side, all of our consultation forms are on our company iPads and our technicians use them to access their private customer's profiles through Booker. Additionally, all of our receipts, our acne clients' information packets and all of our clients' customized regimens are sent via email. In terms of our machinery and tools, technology has also played a significant role especially when we invested in our LightStim LED Panel and our Oxygen Infusion machine; both have fast, visible anti-aging results!
Q10: What do you see for the future of Spa Kingston, and your industry in general?
We can't give all our secrets away... but we are looking to expand within the next few years to another location in Southern California to spread the skin care love — but we will absolutely keep our Banker's Hill location! The skin care and wellness industry is already booming — especially in California — but I still see more room for growth as technology develops and people continue to become more knowledgeable about the effects of the sun and desire a more youthful appearance. There is also a rapidly growing 'self-care' movement encouraging people to engage in activities to benefit their skin, body and mental health so I could predict a spike in spa bookings and product sales.
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