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Skin Inc. magazine’s Second Annual Best of the Best Awards

By: Cathy Christensen
Posted: October 23, 2007, from the November 2007 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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      A skin care professional for 30 years, Sonya Dakar definitely has made a name for herself in the spa industry. The products and treatments that are a result of her expertise are highly sought after, and Dakar has become a skin care guru for many budding professionals, including Shawn McClure, an aspiring esthetician who nominated Dakar for this award. McClure sought her help for chronic cystic acne, which Dakar was able to clear up in one treatment.
      According to McClure, “Her most striking characteristic is that she has an unflagging passion for the skin. Skin is not her job, her hobby or favorite pastime—it’s her life.” This drive is seen not only in the success of her products, but also in her ability to inspire a profession, one student at a time. “Dakar gives me hope that this industry is not a complacent field that will have a minor impact on the individuals who stumble across it. Rather, it is a dynamic entity that is constantly growing and evolving in an effort to always deliver the best results,” writes McClure. Dakar will be profiled in the Face to Face column of the January 2008 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

Top Spa Mentor: Honorable Mentions
Tina Pilz, Skin Appeal Day Spa, Stafford, Virginia
Valda Sarty, Sarty Mountain, Inc., Wenatchee, Washington


Category: Most Employee-friendly Spa

Winner: Gadabout SalonSpas, Tucson, Arizona

      The company’s collection of eight salon spas in Tucson, Arizona, identifies the areas that are important in order to maintain high morale among team members. Along with offering full health benefits and paid vacation, Gadabout honors individual achievement on a regular basis in order to demonstrate the importance of its employees. The company’s male spa, Gadabout Man, will be the focus of the Spa Snapshot in the January 2008 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

      Incentives and bonuses. Through corporate-wide promotions and contests, the spa gives away all expense paid trips, iPods, gift certificates and more. Gadabout also covers the costs for team members to receive ongoing education and attend trade shows. Employees receive flowers on their anniversaries and when they reach goals, and a yearly fashion show is held to highlight every technician’s talent in all departments. The company also provides opportunities and assistance for employees’ family members, and life-enhancing programs, such as Weight Watchers and English-language classes, are offered as well. Team members’ children are invited to participate in the Image Up program that involves a free haircut and health, beauty and fitness tips, as well as self-esteem building initiatives, and financial and goal-setting advice.

      Gaddy Awards. The annual company-wide awards program honors technicians for monetary goal achievements and outstanding character. Gadabout spends approximately $20,000 on this ceremony in order to provide custom-made awards, food and beverages to its employees in a high-end venue.