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


Created to honor the industry’s finest in spa business practices and innovative products, the Best of the Best Awards are divided into two groups—Industry and Supplier.
     The Industry categories are business-driven and were judged by a neutral panel of industry experts. The Supplier categories are reader-driven, and all nominations were submitted by Skin Inc. magazine readers online via By utilizing both a neutral judging system and candid reader entries, the Best of the Best Awards is the most unbiased and prestigious honor given in the field today.
     The judges were very impressed by all the entries submitted for the awards this year and had a very difficult time choosing the winners in each category. The award recipients were recently honored at the Networking Box Lunch at Face & Body Spa & Healthy Aging Conference and Expo, held at Moscone South in San Francisco, on August 25–27, 2007. And without further ado, the winners are …

Si0711 Bob Radiance

Category: Best Marketing Campaign

Winner: Spa Radiance, San Francisco, California

In the awards’ most popular category, Spa Radiance stood out by using marketing to address three main challenges it needed to overcome: creating points of differentiation, generating community service coverage and boosting sales of its nail services. Firsthand details about the spa’s secrets to marketing success will appear in the February 2008 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

      Facials-in-a-Flash Peel Bar. The spa owners recognized their clients’ lifestyles were becoming faster paced and often didn’t allow for a 90-minute facial or relaxation day. To address this, they created the Facials-in-a-Flash Peel Bar so clients could pop in for a quick, customized 30-minute peel with no downtime. To market this, Spa Radiance:

* Invited media professionals to a preview party where key journalists experienced the treatment.
* Mailed a press release to local lifestyle media outlets.
* Arranged its retail area to display the different peels in order to attract questions and interest from existing clientele.

    Because of these initiatives, the Facials-in-a-Flash Peel Bar earned San Francisco’s local 7x7 Magazine’s Best of the Best Award.

      Radiant Renewal Spa-to-Go Partnership with UCSF Children’s Hospital. Born from the experience of spa employee Marissa Ryan, Spa Radiance formed a partnership with the University of California, San Francisco’s (UCSF) Children’s Hospital, turning a waiting room into a spa oasis complete with manicures, pedicures, massages and facials for terminally ill teens and their family members. To spread the word, Spa Radiance:

* Drafted an advisory notice for the local media.
* Informed clients through thank you letters that their patronage allowed the spa to give back to the community through this program.

 The results of these efforts were numerous and included a feature article in the local Benefit magazine, as well as the San Francisco Chronicle.

      PURE Eco-friendly Manicure Pedicure Bar. In order to stand out from the multiple nail salons in San Francisco, Spa Radiance introduced PURE, a manicure/pedicure bar with environmental soundness in mind. This further supported the spa’s goal of empowering and educating women about healthy beauty choices. To market this new offering, Spa Radiance:
* Refurnished the spa’s manicure/pedicure area to feature organic interiors, vegan nail polishes, sustainable moisturizers and scrubs, and natural juices and snacks.
* Drafted and distributed a press release before the opening.

 Nail service revenue increased 10% and the spa received several nods from “green” magazine issues—7x7 Magazine and San Francisco Magazine—for this eco-conscious endeavor.

Best Marketing Campaign: Honorable Mentions
N. Reagan Spa, Delray Beach, Florida
The Woodhouse Day Spa, Carmel, Indiana

Si0711 Bob Dakar

Category: Top Spa Mentor

Winner: Sonya Dakar, Sonya Dakar Skin Care, Beverly Hills, California

      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

Si0711 Bob Gadabout

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.

      87%. The business provides this class to encourage the continuous character development of its team members. Gadabout believes services are only 13% of what influences a client’s experience, and the other 87% is the interaction between employees and clients. During these classes, employees learn to develop their communication and listening skills. A Spa Snapshot on Gadabout Man will run in the January 2008 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

Most Employee-friendly Spa: Honorable Mentions
Tamara Spa and Wellness, Farmington, Michigan
Sarty Mountain, Wenatchee, Washington

Si0711 Bob Sarty

Category: Best Retail Philosophy

Winner: Sarty Mountain, Inc., Wentachee, Washington

      This multifaceted company focuses on the benefits of technology in regard to retail. Using its e-commerce site,, the company is better able to serve clients nationally and internationally, particularly those who live in rural areas. Only seven months old, the site also is used in the company’s Elements and Refuel spas as a reference point for telephone gift certificate purchasers. Not only does this provide easy access for customers, but it also allows spa professionals to provide full attention and care to clients. An article detailing Sarty Mountain’s retail philosophy will appear in the March 2008 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

Best Retail Philosophy: Honorable Mention
Skin Appeal Day Spa, Stafford, Virginia

Be Medispa1

Category: Best Balance Between Medical and Esthetics in a Medical Spa

Winner: Be Medispa, Lexington, Kentucky

      As “a spa with a medical degree,” Be Medispa offers preventive aging programs that combine the health synergies of bio-identical hormone replacement, detailed nutrition counseling, individualized nutritional supplementation, exercise guidance, lifestyle modifications and stress management skills. A column detailing the architecture of this balance by Be Medispa will appear in the Spa, MD, section of Skin Inc. magazine’s January 2008 issue.

      The doctor makes the difference. The company believes that, in order for a spa to be deemed “medical,” there should be convincing evidence that the service promises are based on science and delivered with medical expertise. Paul Hester, MD, is present and active in the delivery of the facility’s services, which builds and nurtures patient confidence.

      Beautiful health now. The business focuses on the enhancement of health and image with a goal of moving patients in the direction of positive change. This includes both the medical and esthetic sides of the business and culminates in the Diamond Cosmetic program, which offers preferred pricing for esthetic procedures targeting skin health or image enhancement. This balance helps ease client apprehensions about indulging in medical spa services and instills enthusiasm for the chance to live better through medical science.

      No medical spa is an island. The facility realizes the benefits of having relationships with other talented providers, and, by forming and maintaining alliances with other medical professionals and businesses within the community, Be Medispa has become a medical image and human performance resource for its entire community.

Best Balance Between Medical and Esthetics in a Medical Spa: Honorable Mentions
Ageless Remedies SouthPark, Charlotte, North Carolina
Esthetic Corum, Tokyo
Lea Advanced SkinCare Spa, Los Angeles

Aviva Labs Logo For Skin Inc 300dpi

Best Body Line: Aviva Labs

“It lasts a long time and does not turn orange. It looks real and feels good.”
Skin Inc. magazine reader, Reading, Massachusetts

Honorable mention:
* gloProfessional/Lycon Wax
* Betty Beauty

Bioelements Logo1

Best Facial Line: Bioelements

“After doing a Flaxx-C Anti-Aging Facial and using the mask, my clients’ skin looks absolutely radiant! Clients feel the tightening effects of the mask immediately and see a great improvement in facial tone, plus a clear healthy glow when we are done.”
Skin Inc. magazine reader, Racine, Wisconsin

Honorable mention:
* Pevonia Botanica
* Repêchage
* SkinCeuticals, LLC

Biotherapeutic Logo
Best Industry Equipment: Bio-Therapeutic, Inc.

“The Bio-Ultimate Platinum is my go-to piece of equipment for so many of the professional services I offer. Easy to use and very effective. Clients love the results.”
Skin Inc. magazine reader, Portland, Oregon

Honorable mention:
* Edge Systems Corporation
* Flip4, Inc.
Iredale Logo

Best Makeup Line: jane iredale—The Skincare Makeup

“This product is amazing! Color matching is awesome, and adherence to the skin makes the product so long-lasting that I recommend it to all my clients.”
Skin Inc. magazine reader, Torrington, Wyoming

Honorable mention:
* Emani, Inc.
* gloProfessional/Gl?Minerals

Si0711 Christensen Victory
Best Spa Line: Victory Candles

“The Massage Oil Candle is a fantastic, unique 3-in-1 candle. It has ingredients that are good for your skin and goes on without being waxy. It gives light like a candle, provides a wonderful aroma and is great for massage. Very cool!”
Skin Inc. magazine reader, Dublin, Ohio

Honorable mention:
* Pevonia Botanica
* Scandle, Inc.

More in Industry News