Monthly Archives: April 2020

Predicting the future for our spa

I wish we had a crystal ball to tell us exactly what things would look like 3 months, 6 months, and a year from now for spas. All we have have to go by is ever-evolving information from trusted health authorities and advice provided to other other health professions. We’re closely monitoring countries that are further down the road in battling the COVID19 pandemic.

We’ve been doing the heartbreaking task of cancelling all appointments on our books through July (and will likely continue to do so further out.) Realistically, I’m not sure if we can open in any safe capacity by July. When we do open, the existing appointments on our books won’t match the new realities of our schedule. I promise, WE WILL REOPEN.

We aren’t sure of every safety measure we’ll need to implement, but these are a few ways the spa will be a bit different for awhile:

  • The biggest change: Two distinct teams that don’t overlap any shifts, providers, or receptionists. We see this in some essential offices like veterinary clinics. This ensures that if a team member is exposed to COVID19, we won’t need to 100% close our spa again. We can at least operate at half capacity, especially if widespread testing isn’t available.
  • We will offer longer hours to reduce the number of employees and guests in the spa at a time, increase the time between services, and stagger check-in and check-out times to keep you safer.
  • We won’t be able to book groups of more than two until the COVID19 threat is under control.
  • You can still shop online to save a trip into the spa!
  • We will require masks for providers and guests, which could pose a challenge for some services (facials, lip waxing) if can’t work around a mask.
  • We may have to do enhanced health screenings and lean into low-contact check-in/check-out (online intakes, cards on file, etc…) options.
  • We’re researching alternatives to table warmers. While they’re under multiple layers of linens, they can’t be cleaned in the way we’d like when facing a pandemic. We will not use them until the risk of COVID19 has passed or until we find a safe solution.

It isn’t all doom and gloom!

Check out this video I filmed with my dear friend, Tricia Rivas, owner of Trixie’s Salon and founder of the Dreamcatcher’s Foundation. When this is all over, you’ll see some positive changes in the spa and salon professions.

Spa professionals like massage therapists and especially estheticians have been named some of the professions with the highest risk of contracting COVID19 at work. I would rather wait to open until we have a better idea of safety modifications than put my employees, their families and guests at risk to make money. This might mean we don’t open the day we’re given the legal “go ahead.” I PROMISE we will be back and you can rest assured that when we return, it will be with a very comprehensive plan for safety.

Top skin issues and solutions during the pandemic

Stress, poor diet, lack of motivation for personal care (let’s face it, the Zoom videos are grainy!) are causing lots of skin issues. Providers on the front lines wearing N95 masks all day are faced with raw, irritatied skin. Don’t wait for spas to reopen, it will be awhile before we can safely perform facials. Fortunately, you can do a TON with a great home care regimen. Camille Arbegast, a Licensed Esthetician, shared a few solutions if you’re experiencing skin challenges right now.

Camille Arbegast, Managing Esthetician at East Village Spa
Camille Arbegast, Managing Esthetician at East Village Spa

Solutions for stress-related skin freak-outs

Camille suggests Rhonda Allison’s Mandelic Arginine Serum for a gentle, daily exfoliation to curb breakouts from stress and also help calm rosacea flare-ups.

With weather (slowly) warming up, it might be time to switch to a lighter moisturizer. Camille recommends the Mandelic Au Lait, which is medium weight and has ingredients that also help calm breakouts and reduce redness.

Outdoor must-haves

Socially-distant outdoor activities like gardening, long walks, or supervising kids in the yard, are stress-busting musts for many of us. Rhonda Allison has two great sunscreen options. 1. eZinc is best for those with concerns about breakouts or redness. It is light weight and doesn’t have that sunscreen smell or feel. 2. Daytime Defense is ideal for those wanting to get pro-youth antioxidants.

Beta Green Tea Cleanser is great for AM and PM and one of our most popular clenasers. It has a small amount of salycilic acid to deeply cleanse sweat and dirt without drying skin. For best results with any Rhonda Allison cleanser, start with dry skin (or just put a few drops of water on your fingers) and massage in your cleanser that way first, before adding water. You’ll get a better cleanse and your product will last longer!

The Arnica Therapy is a staple of the Rhonda Allison line and is a natural antibacterial cream. It is great for cuts, burns, wounds, or bug bites.

Medical-grade PPE relief

Our front line medical providers and support staff are heroes. Many of have seen photos of the raw skin caused by wearing N95 masks all day. Camille suggests a 3 step approach to ease pain from the irritation caused by these masks. 1. Rhonda Allison Creamy Milk Cleanser, a gentle and soothing cleanser. 2. Rhonda Allison Arnica Therapy, a barrier for skin before the mask goes on. 3. Rhonda Allison Drops of Essence, a soothing gel for after cleaning at the end of the day to help ease discomfort.

We took her suggestions and created a specially priced Face Mask Relief kit that you can purchase for a front line healthcare worker who is struggling with pain from their mask.

Rhonda Allison Skincare for face mask irritation.

Poor diet, dehydrated skin

Listen, we won’t tell you what to eat in times of stress and I pity the person who gets between me and my “secret” chocolate stash right now. We WILL gently suggest that you increase your water intake. All of those Zoom Cocktail hours and extra coffees are going to take their toll on your skin. Tired of water? Try adding some calorie free, sugar free, caffeine free Pure Inventions extracts to your water. For a delicious “mocktail” mix your favorite drops with sparking water and drop in a few frozen blueberries and a lemon wedge.

Blueberry Lemon mocktail at East Village Spa

We can’t wait to be able to give you professional facials and Hydrafacials again, but don’t neglect your skin while you wait for your esthetician to be able to safely provide services to you. Take control of your skin and start or continue good habits at home now!

Blog contributors: Camille Arbegast is the managing esthetician at East Village Spa, where she’s worked since 2012. Cassie Sampson, BA, LMT is the owner of East Village Spa.

East Village Spa Covid-19 FAQs

We’ve had quite a few questions about our COVID-19 closure and we’ll do our best to keep the answers updated here. Thank you for your support so far!

How long are you closed?

While Iowa is currently allowing spas to open, we’ve chosen to stay closed in accordance with CDC and medical provider recommendations. While we miss our guests and providing services, we know the best thing we can do for their health is to remain closed until we see a 2 week decline in cases in Polk County, when there is adequate testing and tracing, and when we can reliably source the items we need to provide services (this is a challenge for a business our size). Follow us on Facebook or Instagram for the most current updates.

We know that most other spas, nail salons, and massage therapists will be seeing guests before us, as they are legally allowed to do. Every business has different financial circumstances and every guest has different health needs. We absolutely understand if you choose to go elsewhere until we feel confident that risk is reduced enough for us to provide treatments. We’ll welcome you back with (metaphorical, because social distancing!) open arms.

How can I book an appointment?

We have to temporarily disable online booking because we have to ensure only one guest is checking in or out at a time. Once we re-open booking, we will do so by call or text to (515) 309-2904. I don’t anticipate we will have our new schedule and temporary service menu hammered out until at least June 1, so we aren’t able to pre-book appointments just yet. Once we are able to relax some social distancing guidelines, we’ll reopen online booking.

Will I be able to book my same schedule as before?

Due to social distancing guidelines, we are making changes to our shifts and hours. It is my goal to bring back every employee that wants to return. This is no small feat with limited hours in the day and our capacity reduced to less than half. We will be adding Sunday hours to increase availability.

We will have to split our team into two non-intersecting groups. If you’re accustomed to seeing the same massage therapist and esthetician when you come for a massage and facial visit, if they are not on the same team, you’ll get to enjoy another one of our amazing providers. Being diligent about isolating teams means that we won’t have to close entirely if an employee or guest is diagnosed with or exposed to COVID19.

Will you still honor my gift card?

YES! Our gift cards have a 5 year expiration. On the gift card, we have a suggestion that you please use them within a year (we don’t want you to lose them and we want you relaxing sooner, rather than later.) For the few gift cards that are outstanding that expire during our closure, we’ll extend the date by the number of months we were closed.

What about my holiday vouchers?

Every year, from late November though December we have a gift card sale where we offer an extra $20 weekday service voucher with every $100 gift card purchased IN the spa. If you have some of these 2020 vouchers, we’ll extend them for use throughout 2021, so hang onto them! You’ll still need to present them in person since we don’t track them.

Do I have to wear a mask?

Yes. Masks protect others and all of our employees will be wearing masks properly to protect you. We will temporarily require guests to wear masks to protect employees (and therefore future guests). If preferred, we are happy to provide a disposable mask to you prior to entering the spa. While masks aren’t a perfect solution, their use by all employees and patrons of a business significantly reduce the risk of an outbreak that will harm the community and close our spa. Repeated business closures are expensive and the cost of outbreaks could force permanent business closueres. We can’t risk our health or careers.

Cassie Sampson, BA, LMT, Spa Owner

Will your menu be the same?

At first, we’ll only be able to offer services that permit a face mask, so unfortunately we can’t offer facials or lip, chin, or nose waxing when we first open. We have most of our regular massages and modifications available for massage therapy, including side-lying massage techniques, for those who feel claustrophobic wearing masks face-down. We have been practicing with immediate household members and find that masks are not as uncomfortable as you might think! Your provider will be more comfortable working with you if you wear a mask, which will make the service much, much better.

We’re developing a few new treatment protocols for things like anti-aging hand facials, foot peels, back facials and more to offer a wider array of cool new services while we are temporarily suspending facials.

Can I book a party at the spa?

Unfortunately social distancing guidelines will not permit the ability to host spa parties. We have created two separate nail rooms so we can still do two pedicures or two manicures at a time, but they will need to be done separately. We’re pleased with how great the two nail rooms look and are excited to help make getting a nail service relaxing and Zen in a private space.

For the same reason, we had to temporarily suspend couple’s massages so we don’t have 4 people in a small room for an extended period of time. Again, these changes are temporary until social distancing guidelines are relaxed.

Can I get products from the spa while you’re closed?

We have a new web store courtesy of lots of hard work from Kelly. Almost every product we carry is available online! Even after we re-open, we will strongly encourage guests to order online for pick-up or shipping because we will need to limit walk-ins to the spa, which will include retail browsing.

Is it safe to buy a gift card right now?

Absolutely, and they’re valid for 5 years. I promise, we will reopen. As a business that has been around for quite awhile now, we’ve been able to develop an emergency savings fund. Instead of investing in fancy spa amenities (locker rooms, saunas, etc…) we’ve invested in our team and our future. The funds from gift cards help us to pay our ongoing expenses like rent and employee health insurance. We will be required to significantly reduce the number of guests we see for awhile, but we promise, you will be able to use your gift card with some advanced planning.

East Village Spa and our team thank you all for your support and well-wishes! We have appreciated providing your wellness services since 2008 and are so eager to continue again as soon as we can!