Kimber Wright and Melissa St. John were newbies to the spa industry when they joined the InSpa team in 2013. With the goal of getting a foot in the door at a reputable spa business, they both look back, now as InSpa location managers, and agree that they couldn’t have joined a better company from which to learn about the industry.
InSpa is a day spa with seven locations throughout the greater Seattle area, emphasizing a mission of simplicity, quality service, and value to everyone that passes through their doors. For Kimber and Melissa, InSpa’s motto, “Feel Great. Every Day,” goes beyond offering guests a stellar manicure or an invigorating Swedish massage. It symbolizes the empowerment the company provides to managers, staff, and customers to do what they love everyday.
Melissa, who joined the InSpa team as a manager after working in the hospitality industry for several years, was quick to explain how the company makes a practice of ensuring that their employees shine, whether that employee is a manager or a front desk associate.
“Our CEO and our owner really take pride in their employees,” she says. “They find out what specific interests each employee has through the supervisors and lets them start to use their skills in little side projects.”
She continues, “I think that speaks volumes that they prioritize giving their own employees a chance to be creative instead of going out and looking for an expert in marketing, event planning, or whatever it may be.”
Kimber, manager at InSpa’s Woodinville location, is a testament to the company’s investment in their own employees. Within the span of two years, she worked her way from a front desk associate to a location manager.
“Both of us are at the point where we know and love so much about the company, and we want to see it grow,” she describes about herself and Melissa, “We see opportunities to insert ourselves and be a part of the growth, which is really cool.”
Recently, Kimber saw an opportunity to do something new and fun for her location’s regular clients. She organized an event to show off a new product collection, which turned into a pajama party with raffle prizes, mini treatments, and food and drinks. According to Melissa, it turned out to be a huge success.
“And look who just became our new company party planner!” Melissa laughs.
Kimber saw this event as a demonstration of the trust between the company’s top-level management and location managers, “If you have an opportunity to try something and it works, they're like, 'Okay, well, this is your thing. What can you do with it?' It's just exciting because it keeps you super motivated to try new things and run with it.”
At InSpa, empowering employees doesn’t stop at the management level. Both Kimber and Melissa believe that being a manager goes much beyond giving clear instructions to staff members and resolving customer issues.
Most of all, they believe that being a strong leader means serving others, rather than having them serve you.
“We're always keeping ourselves busy making sure everyone else has what they need to be successful, whether that means sweeping the floor or restocking shelves,” Kimber explains. “If you’re hopping in wherever someone needs help, your staff notices and it goes a long way.”
For Melissa, being a strong leader and having excellent employee retention means educating employees on the business, even if it takes going out of your way to do so.
“When I've trained managers, I've told them that you never say 'Because I said so,'” she explains, “It should always be, 'This is why we can't do this,' or 'This is why I'm going to do it this way,' and really get them to understand how it affects the business.”
Whether it’s through explaining business decisions to their team or encouraging creativity amongst staff members, the empowerment felt by employees at all levels of InSpa clearly reflects their mission of “Feel Great. Every Day.” When Kimber and Melissa aren’t busy running their spa locations, they’re out recruiting and sharing this message.
“I have to say one of my favorite parts of this job,” Melissa says. “Everybody that's been here long enough can say something like, ‘I am here because the CEO, owner, and management really takes pride in the staff and always takes time to find out what's gonna make them love what they do.’”