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Community Service: Get Involved

By: Erin Zaleski
Posted: June 11, 2008, from the October 2006 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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Many spa owners have incorporated community service and fundraising into their business philosophies, often with impressive results. Bonnie Hagen, co-owner of Enhance Face & Body Spa in Hartsdale, New York, was moved to feature menu items targeted to cancer patients after watching her own mother battle lymphoma for six years. “Mom described the difficult experience of going through cancer treatment,” Hagen says. “My sister and business partner, Sherrie Eskow, and I conducted research that found that there weren’t many spa treatments available to cancer patients.”

In addition to hosting an annual fundraising spa party to benefit nonprofit organizations, such as the American Cancer Society and the Advanced Research Foundation, Enhance Face & Body Spa also offers services tailored specially to cancer patients and caregivers at a reduced price. Hagen notes that the response has been wonderful. Today, this clientele regularly is referred to the facility.

With so many charities from which to choose, the options can seem a bit dizzying at first. However, as promoters of health and well-being—particularly among women—many spas opt to get behind organizations that target female health issues, such as breast cancer and domestic violence. Another important cause for the skin care industry is melanoma, where working with organizations such as the Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF) can be another way to show support. Sometimes the best approach is to take a look at the surrounding area and determine where your help may be needed most or, similar to Hagen, to seek a cause that is close to your heart.

Whether you choose to support cancer research, a woman’s shelter or a local school, getting involved should become a core component of your business model. “Setting yourself apart is not just about advertising and providing great services,” explains Laurie Helmick, owner of Luxe Salon in Denver. “It is based on awareness. Philanthropy is a part of what we do to be visible.”

Starting small

Each year, Helmick hosts an anniversary party to raise money for charities such as SafeHouse Denver—a nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing family violence. Last year, after weeks of planning and preparation, Luxe Salon hosted what she calls “a world-class event,” complete with live entertainment, food from one of Denver’s hottest restaurants and door prizes. The spa also held a silent auction for the first time, during which attendees placed bids for in-demand items, such as tickets to a Denver Nuggets basketball game, weekend getaways and jewelry. Helmick’s goal was to raise $4,000 for SafeHouse Denver, and she wasn’t disappointed. “We raised $8,000!” she exclaims, a total she attributes to the success of the silent auction. “We had approximately 150 people attend.”