SPA DIRECTOR SPOTLIGHT
Melissa Boris began her career in the hospitality industry more than 20 years ago, utilizing her educational background in both massage therapy and business to thrive in spa management.
Over the past decade, her experience has included leadership positions with La Prairie at The Ritz-Carlton Central Park, The Setai Club & Spa Wall Street and First Service Residential. Working at SoJo Spa Club during its creation and watching the team put each piece of this gorgeous puzzle together has been an inspiration and a dream come true for Boris.
Edgewater, New Jersey’s recently opened relaxation resort brings rejuvenation to a whole new light. SoJo Spa Club clients escape the stress of daily life with luxurious treatments, tranquil baths, revitalizing saunas and pools to help them relax, unwind and refresh the mind, body and soul. The unique eight-story, 240,000 square foot facility offers stunning views of the breathtaking New York City skyline and features exquisite sights of Manhattan and the Hudson River.
SoJo Spa Club’s most sought after treatment is their Ultimate Lifestyle Facial. The treatment begins with a hydrating milk cleanse directly followed by a consultation. The consultation ensures that each client fully understands their skin’s challenges and how they can be rectified. Guests are given a mirror to observe as the esthetician explains what different colors of their skin mean, the ultimate color to achieve and the necessary steps that need to be taken. Melissa Boris, Spa Director of SoJo Spa Club states, “We find that providing this visual education to our clients really resonates and encourages both loyal customers and product sales, universal goals for every spa owner!”
Following the consultation, the esthetician performs a quick two-minute cleanse and exfoliation using a deep cleansing brush, hydrating cleansing milk and refining skin polish. A third cleanse is then implemented using a nourishing cleansing balm that is removed with a steamed towel. The esthetician then applies a mask made of pumpkin, mulberry, bearberry and licorice to instantly brighten the skin, stimulate cell renewal, even out skin tone and soften the skin. Seaweed extracts are also used to nourish the skin and absorb sebum.
While the mask is penetrating into the skin, the esthetician performs a 15-minute scalp massage using scalp mud. The facial mask is then removed with a steam towel and the esthetician continues by clearing the client’s lymphatic nodes using acupressure to release toxins and reduce puffiness. A deep-smoothing muscle lifting and firming facial massage using lupin seed is then executed to different muscle groups of the face and neck to boost skin tonicity and firmness. Following the facial massage, a final mask made of argan oil and larch is applied to the face to stimulate skin, plump collagen to help smooth lines and boost cell regeneration. While the mask is applied, a relaxing 15-minute argan oil foot or shoulder massage is performed by the esthetician. The peel-off mask is then removed and the treatment concludes with the application of a lifting and firming eye serum, facial serum and moisturizer. (90 minutes/$275)
SoJo Spa Club has various ongoing promotions and incentives to assure their guests return seasonally, monthly and even daily. Sophisticated spa technology alerts employees to reach out to their guests when they have not returned after some time.
The spa also uses social media platforms Instagram, Facebook and Twitter several times a week to share the latest happenings in the spa, engage with current clients, attract new clients and highlight the club’s current promotions and specials. Boris mentions, “People really don’t have much time, but they do always make time to scroll through their social media channels. If you can capture their attention in a few seconds with an inviting photo, that will certainly help your brand recognition and fuel (a) client’s desire to visit.”
SoJo Spa Club also digitally advertises to daily commuters on the New York Waterway Ferry. The spa has yet to determine how often they will renew these advertisements.
SoJo sets up a plan of success for each of its team members that begins with a proper orientation. “One thing I’ve learned is that you have to give your team your time no matter how busy you are. You must properly prepare them to succeed,” Boris states.
SoJo Spa Club’s very thorough orientation consists of educating their new employees on the culture of the spa, standards for the staff and a complete tour of the eight-floor club. Each department head then visits the spa area and speaks about their department and how they all work together to enhance each guest’s experience. Once orientation is complete, each employee completes a full training to their specific area of work, which includes guest interaction standards, service standards, treatment knowledge and protocols. At the completion of the training there is a scavenger hunt and quiz for each new employee in which they ultimately receive a collection of the spa’s retail products to try at home.
A new spa therapist is also required to practice each treatment a minimum of three times before they are qualified to “test out” with the Spa Director. The practical test consists of greeting the Spa Director in the lounge, properly escorting them to the treatment room, providing an explanation of the treatment, performing the specific treatment, providing active retail suggestions and escorting the guest back to the lounge with proper home care recommendations. Once the therapist executes this process up to the standard of the Spa Director they are able to offer the treatment on their schedules.
SoJo also brings in “secret shoppers,” or product brand representatives, several times a month to assess the standards of excellence within the club. This is a three-day process, which includes full reporting on the staff, suggestions and recommendations.
To keep their employees incentivized, SoJo Spa Club consistently gives out three full-sized products each month to one employee who has exceeded expectations. Their Shining Star Program is based on employee votes and is conducted anonymously via email to the Spa Director. Each employee must write whom he or she is nominating and at least one solid example of how that employee displayed excellence in the past month.
SPECIAL EVENTS & PROMOTIONS
The spa hosted their first event this past March, which was formulated to promote both spa memberships sales and facials. The event was open to the public and guests were offered 25-minute express facials, one-hour use of SoJo Spa Club, light bites, refreshing beverages, giveaway prizes, retail purchase promotions and gift bags.
REVENUE & PRETAIL
“We are located right across the river from New York City, so finding products that cannot be purchased around the corner is extremely important to us,” Boris states, “We are a unique, spectacular facility and we are committed to portraying that through every facet of the club, including retail.” Boris and several of her staff members attend spa conferences and buyers’ events on a consistent basis to assure they are staying current with the latest product trends.
To incentivize clients to purchase retail products, the spa offers complimentary gifts with the purchase of retail products. For example, for Valentine’s Day, the spa gave away sample-sized products, chocolates and an array of beverage options included in the holiday promotion packages.
SoJo Spa Club
660 River Road
Edgewater, New Jersey 07020
sojospaclub.com (201) 313-7200
SPA Owner: E Rae Jo
SPA DIRECTOR: Melissa Boris
General Manager: Atif Youssef
Amenities: 13 treatment rooms
Six-chair foot massage room
Rooftop infinity pool
170-foot-long massage path
Family pool with waterslide
Splash pad and spray zone
Red clay sauna
White clay sauna
Himalayan salt sauna
Ice therapy room
Casual dining area (capacity of 230 seats)
Full-service restaurantn (capacity of 80 seats)
Retail Lines: ESPA products