A breath of fresh air,” is how Katherine Pappas, owner of Egea Spa, describes her facility, its team and its focus. Located in the city of Evanston, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago and home of Northwestern University, Pappas and her husband Christian opened Egea eight years ago in an effort to realize their dream of entrepreneurship and find more flexible occupations due to a growing family. “It’s not a big place; it’s very minimal, hip and urban, not stodgy or even romantic. It has clean lines—we believe less is more,” she explains.
“In business school, both my husband and I wanted to do something on our own, and with Egea, we have; he handles the operations and finances, and I do the marketing,” says Pappas, who obtained both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business from Northwestern. However, her attachment to her town isn’t just sentimental; she is part of the Woman’s Club of Evanston and makes sure that Egea supports many community causes, such as its recent sponsorship of a local bike race.. “We donate to nearly every cause, and most of our clients live and work in Evanston or live here and work in Chicago, so it hits home for them,” she says.
However, like all communities, Evanston hasn’t been untouched by the current economic climate, resulting in the need for creative ways to appeal to clients ... ways that don’t involve discounting. “It’s all about staying power. One thing that concerns us is that there is discounting online, and the only thing that it’s doing is eroding the average selling price; it impacts the whole market. You are training clients to wait until a service is put on sale,” she warns. “We offer gift-with-purchase incentives and host different events, and also do direct marketing and offer series sales. We do something a little different than discount pricing.” Along with these efforts, Egea also has loyalty, birthday and referral programs to entice clients with added value.