In the beauty industry, Lois Christie and her company are often associated with hair. But this year, after winning Repêchage’s Spa de Beaute of the Year award—which recognizes overall excellence in the spa—it’s all about skin care for her, her staff and clients.

q. How did you get your start in the industry?

a. I opened my first salon in 1970. It was called Trés Chic, and it was geared toward hair color. Eventually, we became Christie’s World of Hair Color, then Christie & Co. Salon and Spa. We opened the spa in 2001 doing facials and massage. We eventually took over the store next door and expanded because of client demand. In 2006, we added a medical doctor to do Botox and Restalyne. You have to constantly adjust how you do business and your business strategy with the changing times. What made us successful in 2005, won’t keep us successful into 2010.

q. What’s your favorite business secret?

a. I think the problem with a lot of spas is that services are done behind a closed door. Clients buy what they see. So, we’re taking treatments out of the room and making them more visible by offering 30 Minute Signature Treatments on the floor—a mini mask, hair conditioner and hand treatment. It’s a great introduction to the services, and the client often buys the full facial the next time. The first month we started doing this, our facial business increased by 20 percent. Clients are visiting less—so if they’re stretching appointments, you’re losing business. While they’re there, you have to offer them services quickly and efficiently.

q. What do you see coming next for you and your business?

a. We’re going to be extending our hours. I don’t believe in short days—someone should be able to get a facial at 8 p.m. too. We’re already open seven days a week; now we’ll probably stay open until 11 p.m. two nights a week. It’s a new economy and you have to accommodate client needs. We’re also going to offer no-appointment Express Services on our menu. These will be services with young talent who aren’t booked, and people can just walk in and get a hair cut, color, facial any of the services at a lower price point.

q. What has winning the Repêchage Spa de Beaute of the Year award meant for you and your business?

a. I think it’s been a morale booster for the staff. Everyone appreciates being acknowledged for doing a good job, and everyone is proud working for a salon and spa at the leading edge that is doing things right. It just sets us apart from other salons and spas.

Lois Christie
Christie & Co. Salon and Spa
Bayside, New York

vocation: President, CEO and Co-director of Christie & Co.
years in industry: 30
skin care products: Repêchage
favorite products: Opti-Firm Serum, Hydra Refine One-Minute Mask
favorite spa service: Facial or hot stone massage
advice for new owners: “Have a strong business plan—I have one, three and five-year plans. You need to set goals, otherwise you’re getting on a ship and not knowing where it’s going. 
inspired by: “Fashion; I love to follow trends and see how they affect our business. Whatever people under 18 are doing now, that’s what 30-somethings are going to be doing in the next couple of years.”
I unwind by: “Playing tennis and going out on my boat. When I come back from my beach house, I feel energized. You have to find a way to balance your job with your family.”