Celebrating 8 Years of Spa Success spent with some Walt Disney Institute Training

First allow me to say on behalf of my wife, and ESSpa Kozmetika CEO, Eva and all of team-members and other stakeholders – THANK YOU (times infinity) to every single one of our guests who have visited our spa (in person or virtually via our website) over the last 8 years. It is because of your generousity, friendship and trust that ESSpa Kozmetika has been able to grow and continues to innovate and lead while staying true to our traditions.

To celebrate 8 years of operating a (we think) successful business, Eva and I decided to spend the anniversary of our original opening date (02/02/02) with an intensive, all-day educational training seminar with a group of executives, cast-members and facilitators from the Disney Institute. These incredible people generously shared their processes, programs and protocols (plus a little magic) that the Walt Disney Company uses to create the best customer experience on planet earth.

What does this mean to you. It means that Eva and I and our entire team of spa professionals will not rest on our laurels or our international awards. We are not satisfied with being named the “Best in Pittsburgh” or even the “3rd Best Spa in America”. It means that Eva and I will go to unusual degrees to ensure that every time a guest walks through our doors (or calls us on the phone, or visits our website) WE will exceed their expectations.

So, as we say thank you for helping us achieve 8 years of growth and success, we also say to all who are listening – “wait til you see what we are going to do tomorrow.” To reinforce our feelings about this, I invite you to watch the short video below.

Sincerely hoping to exceed your expectations every day – Scott Kerschbaumer


Tour the spa remodeling project with Esspa owner Eva Kerschbaumer

Right, so every year we close ESSpa Kozmetika Organic Skincare for the first week to make a few improvements to our spa. To many, with only 5 days available in the middle of winter, you might think that the improvements would be minor little fixes. To those who know us, well lets just say we are a little bit crazy – because we basically blow up the entire place and build entirely new additions to our spa……..each and every year. And to really make us (and everyone who help us) go absolutely nuts, we do this all in 7 days or less (this year we started work on January 4th and reopened for business on January 11th) AND we really don’t write down any concrete plans (I do plan things out in my head but I hate writing things down – because I am king of the procrastinators and a little bit lazy). And besides, like I keep saying to my builders, as long as they keep finishing on time what the ideas in my head are, why do I need to waste time writing things down?

So take a moment and watch this lovely video as Eva takes you on a tour of the storm before the calm as we remodel ESSpa Kozmetika into Version 8.0.

Remodeling the remodel at ESSpa Kozmetika – Pittsburgh’s Top Day Spa

Two weeks ago we completely gutted and remodeled our pedicure area during our week-long New Year vacation. The finished result was a beautiful room complete with glass mosaic tiles; a vintage fireplace mantle; a 12 foot high, dry-stack stone chimney and deep, colorful, sari-like cushions. Everything was perfect………except one small thing. The dimensions of the “stadium seating” area were off just enough to make it next to impossible for the pedicure specialists to comfortably polish our spa guest’s feet. So what do we do. Other places might try to “band-aid” the problem by using recliners or extra pillows or such. But that is not good enough for ESSpa Kozmetika. So Sunday night, beginning at 5pm, our crew of dedicated construction professionals from Krain Construction will arrive en masse prepared to completely rebuild the pedicure seating area in such a way to make everyone (both guests and staff) able to enjoy our pedicures as much as possible. You might ask why the crew is showing up to start work at 5pm on a Sunday. The answer is that we are opened for regular business hours on Sundays from 11am until 5pm. And considering that we will reopen for our regular business hours at 10am Monday morning, Sunday night is going to be one long, stressful yet ultimately rewarding moment in time.

I will film it for you as I am sure that Eva, Chris “The Englishman” Bladen (our good friend and helpful handyman [and financial guru]) and the Krain crew will provide hours of exciting action and commentary for your entertainment.

So check back soon and see how this most recent project turns out – there are lots of moving pieces and everyone has a theory of what exactly we should do so it really should be an interesting night.


Scott and Eva Kerschbaumer

Happy New Year + Out with the Old & In with the New @ ESSpa Kozmetika


Hello All. 2009 turned out to be our best year ever and as tradition would have it, ESSpa Kozmetika will be temporarily closing our doors from January 1st until January 10th to give our Staff some well-deserved time-off and allow us to continue to add to already unique and welcoming physical plant.

Here are some of the things that we will be working on during the break:

Adding a new treatment room.

Remodeling and repainting existing treatment rooms.

Upgrading all equipment in all treatment rooms.

Remodeling and upgrading the pedicure salon.

Upgrading our technology with the addition of new, high-speed computers, new phones and other new equipment to enhance guest relations and improve your ESSpa experience.

And there will surely be a few other additions that you will just have to keep an eye out for when we reopen next week.

Thank you again for a very successful 2009 and here is to an even more enchanting 2010.

Best Regards,

Eva and Scott Kerschbaumer

ESSpa Kozmetika Organic Skincare

17 Brilliant Avenue, Aspinwall, PA 15215, (412) 782-3888



On Saturday, December 4th – ESSpa Kozmetika Organic Skin Care & Spa welcomed Cynthia and her mom and her Aunt to our spa for 4 hours of relaxing, pampering and a healthy break after the excitment of meeting and practicing with the Super Bowl Champion Steelers at their facility on Pittsburgh’s South Side. Cyndie is an amazing, sweet and gracious young lady who has been fighting lukemia. The KidsWish Network received Cydie’s wish to meet the Pittsburgh Steelers and sent her and her family to visit Pittsburgh and spend the weekend with the team and enjoy a wonderful trip together. We are honored that KidWish selected ESSpa Kozmetika as the place to send Cyndie and her family after meeting the team to relax and enjoy the rest of her trip to Pittsburgh. It was a very special treat for us to meet someone of Cyndie’s caliber and we send to her and her family our most sincere wishes for a long and happy life and for a very Merry Christmas and even Happier New Year. Thank you KidsWish and God Bless you Cyndie.

Eva and Scott Kerschbaumer
ESSpa Kozmetika Organic Skincare

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Why get a treatment @ ESSpa Kozmetika?

So a friend of mine recently took a trip to New York and her friends decided to make a stop in one of the many salons that line the streets of Brooklyn. Her friends frequent these places because they are quick, always have an open seat and are very inexpensive. That raised the question, why come to ESSpa?

At a quick in-and-out salon, the focus is not really on your relaxation or your enjoyment or your health, but rather about performing the service as quickly as possible. At the end of the day, these places sole focus is on squeezing as many people through their chairs as possible – its all about volume and turnover. At ESSpa Kozmetika, we are first and foremost honest and I would be lying if I said we were not interested in making a profit. But that is about the only thing we have in common with 99% of the other establishments in the beauty industry.

Lets talk about our Unique Selling Point (or USP as my husband likes to call it). From the day we opened, I have always approached the treatments that we offer at ESSpa Kozmetika as part of a healthy lifestyle. 7 years ago, the idea that spa treatments should (or could) be part of a personal preventative health maintenance program was not nearly as hip or fashionable (or even clearly understood) as it is today – especially in Pittsburgh. Now, after walking the walk and leading by example and opening our doors, tables and treatments to everyone regardless of age, gender or position – the industry has begun to look at ESSpa Kozmetika as what the definition of a successful and sustainable dayspa should be.

Rest assured that we are dedicated to making your entire spa experience something that you will happily remember – regardless of whether you visit for a simple eyebrow wax or six hours of rejuvenating transformative treatments! Even though our focus is on your overall health, the atmosphere of our spa is the complete opposite of clinical or typical. Huge trump d’olie murals and actual storefronts with real cedar roof shakes, leaded glass windows and heirloom furniture from my husband’s family help to create a soothing, stress-free environment that bekons you to come in, sit down, linger and enjoy a cool glass of lemon water or choose from our selection of herbal teas or fresh fruit – both before and after your treatment. Our technicians work very hard to make your treatment as healthy and as relaxing as possible, whether it is a Swedish massage or a body waxing. At ESSpa, our team prides themselves at getting to personally know each of our guests – and it is our goal to make our treatments accesible to every member of your family. All of our treatments are individually customized to focus on your needs and desires on the day of your treatment because we understand that everyone’s skin and body has unique requirements that might change with age, environment and the seasons. We also work hard at staying “green” with all of our products for treatments and retail…something that you will not find anywhere else, an achievement recognized by our membership as a Founding Seed Spa of The Green Spa Network (one of only 12 such establishments in all of North America and the only member in the State of Pennsylvania.

Our team has definitely proven themselves over the past few years. Even within the last 12 months, ESSpa Kozmetika has been named “The 3rd Best Spa in America,” as well as Pittsburgh Magazine’s “Best Organic Spa” and “Best Skincare.” In honor of this, we have recently introduced 7 new treatments that I would like to share with you:

7. Hands and Feet are often the most overworked and overlooked when it comes to our personal care. So first up is our MojiToes Pedicure. This exceptional treatment utilizes a steaming bath of muddled mint, sugar, fresh limes and aged, Caribbean rum in addition to all of the other organic scrubs, masks, paraffin and other lotions and potions to create the perfect pedicure. When researching nail services you need to be very careful. For instance, our base manicure and pedicure both include a heated, aromatherapy-infused paraffin treatment as well as a relaxing massage. Double your pleasure and have a Mojito Manicure as well for a total of $120 (for both). If you don’t have time for the full Duo, call (412) 782-3888 and ask about our Express Petite Nail Treatments.

6. Continuing on a theme, our Fresh Steaming Greens Wrapless Body Wrap is just what the doctor ordered to recharge tired, sun damaged skin. The great thing about this “wrap” is that we don’t wrap you at all. After a thorough full body dry brushing, you are covered in a rich sea-based mud mixed with fresh-brewed, organic green tea and fresh-picked mint. Then we cover you with our exclusive Steamy Wonder Tent (your head remains uncovered so you only your body gets the heat benefits) that provides soothing, aromatic heated steam to open pores and allow greater penetration of all the essential nutrients, vitamins and antioxidants. This is simply an incredible treatment that you cannot get anywhere else. Add a Citrus Exfoliating Body Polish (total for both only $180) for the ultimate body rejuvenation.
5. One of our more effective “high-tech meets tradition” Facial services is the MicroSonic Stimulating Skin Scrub. This enhanced treatment can be scheduled as a stand-alone “express” treatment (perfect for a quick pick-me-up) or added on to one of our “traditional” facial treatments for the most dramatic results. The technology behind this therapy utilizes an ultrasonic oscillation greater than 24,000 pulses per minute to quickly and painlessly  “vaporize” the dead cells of the epidermis, clearing the way for deeper penetration and greater absorption of enhanced serums and nutrient-laden toniques, masques and tinctures.

4. Few things are as quick to deliver positive health benefits as a Therapeutic Massage Treatment at ESSpa Kozmetika but almost all of our hour long therapies are available for under $100 (and you actually get to stay on the table for a full 60 minutes, unlike many spas where an “hour” massage is really only 50 minutes). We have a massage for any budget. And now, we are proud to introduce the incredibly soothing (and very difficult to find) Therapeutic Bamboo Massage. This relaxing and relieving therapy uses polished, organically harvested bamboo to relieve pain, clear away stress and soothe stiff joints. Ask around about the training other therapists have received in Bamboo Massage – as our specialist Dori comes to us from Canyon Ranch with specific certification in this unusal modality.

3. Anyone is more than welcome to visit us and enjoy a complimentary skincare consultation with no further obligation or purchase necessary and then relax in our very private, very quiet relaxation sanctuary. Hey THAT is a FREE Treatment. All you have to do is call (412) 782-3888 to schedule (limited appointments available).
2. Perhaps the most interesting treatment (and one of the most ancient) is our new Black and Gold Facial. This “treatment of queens” is itself an upgrade to our ultimate facial treatment by incorporating a 100% pure 24 karat gold mask (each guest gets a new, never-used gold mask that you may take home with you) to help soothe tired skin, balance tone and texture, lock in moisture and important nutrients while acting as an antiseptic barrier to shield your skin from pollution and other environmental stressors.

1. And last but certainly not least is our brand new Pore Refining Blueberry Facial Peel. Where other spas might commonly use a harsh glycolic or chemical acid to peel away layers of your skin (leaving your face red, sore, flaky and irritated), this natural treatment uses organic, boidynamically grown and harvested blueberrys, raspberrys and blackberries to thoroughly slough away the outer statrum corneum (epidermis) leaving you with a smooth, glowing, dewey, “fountain of youth” countenance. Ask to add this peel to any of our facial treatments and enjoy the most incredible of results without any kind of invasive surgery, injections or “down-time”. But be forwarned, this peel does have a bit of a kick to it when used at its most undiluted concentration.

I invite you to try each and every one of these amazing treatments (or stick to your favorites)!

Spa You Soon,
Eva Sztupka-Kerschbaumer
ESSpa Kozmetika Organic Skincare
17 Brilliant Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15215
(412) 782-3888

The Best Staff in the Day Spa and Salon Industry

What makes ESSpa Kozmetika Organic Skincare so successful and keeps our guests both happy AND coming back again and again? It is a combination of many things but at the end of the day IT comes down to one very important thing above all others. IT is our TEAM. Comprised of professionals from all over the reiong, country and the world, our staff is absolutely the BEST in the business. Our team of highly-trained therapists exceed the highest expectations and would be welcome additions at any spa in the world (in fact, many of our therapists have come to us from some of the most well-known spa resorts in the world). Therapists come to us because Eva takes the time to teach them her unique and ultra-effective Hungarian methods and because we have created a fun, friendly atmosphere where the best in the world can thrive without stress and a corporate mentality. I invite you to watch this short video that includes only a few of our great employees. AND to them, Eva and I say “THANK YOU!”

Customer Appreciation Party at ESSpa Kozmetika

For those who don’t know, we have a Happy Hour Party every month at ESSpa Kozmetika to celebrate our most valuable resource – YOU (our customers). Last month we had over 60 friends and guests join us to celebrate…..life (I mean really, do you need a reason to go out with friends and have some fun). So, with some new technology that has now become available, I have put together this little montage from last month’s party to help encourage you to join us this coming Friday, September 18th – it should be quite a shindig. The party starts at 7pm. And I hope to see you there.

Spa You Soon,

Eva Kerschbaumer

ESSpa Kozmetika Organic Skincare

17 Brillilant Avenue

Pittsburgh, PA 15215



Mobile / Home Spa vs ‘Real’ Spa. The Benefits and The Bad

I just read an article touting the growing success of Mobile Spas throughout the country. The reasons for their surging popularity is the increase in the stress of customers and their desire to relax int he cozy confines of their private homes. Within the article was a note suggesting that regular spas (those with a storefront, rooms, equipment and employees) should run as fast as possible to include mobile spa services in their offerings. And the statement was made that mobile spas are “the most in-demand in busy markets across the United States, Canada, Australia, and Europe.” As a spa owner who has seen her single-location business geometrically grow since opening in 2002, I would be remiss if I did not say that this is (at least for me and ESSpa Kozmetika Organic Skincare) absolutely wrong.

When I first opened, we did offer mobile spa services to our guests and clients. We offered the ability to go to people’s homes, their businesses, wherever – and the response was………..well, lets just say that crickets on a cold winter night are more responsive. Yes, we had a call here and there asking about our mobile services and our pricing but rarely, I think we only had two actual mobile bookings, had any inquiries go past the “tire-kicking” stage.

The reason for this is severalfold.

  1. Most people do have more stress today than in past years (the economy, politics, uncertainty, etc.) and we are now in a period of growing austerity. More and more people are growing closer to home, they want more privacy as they close their front door and try to tune out all of the “pollution” going on outside. This being the case, many people are hesitant to let outsiders into their private spaces. When you let someone into your home, especially someone to do a very personal, hands-on treatment such as a spa treatment – you have to be willing to give up all pretense of privacy in order to fully enjoy and reap the benefits of that treatment. Most people are not willing to do this when the only true benefit to the customer is the time and hassle saved by not having to travel to a dedicated spa. And it should be said that there is a “hassle” involved with mobile spa services as the therapist (in order to provide a “spa-quality” treatment) must bring a treatment table, a steamer, a towel warmer, lotions and creams, multi-function devices, wax warmers, extra towels, pedicure bowls, dozens of nail colors to choose from, hot stones, and the lsit goes on.
  2. Guests come to ESSpa Kozmetika Organic Skincare not just because we deliver the most effective skincare available anywhere at any price – they come to us because we have taken the time to design and build a physical location that is truly a place where our guests can “escape” for however long they wish, from whatever troubles or stress they have. While they are visiting us, they can let their guard down, they can relax completely and they can enjoy the treatments we offer to the fullest extent possible. There is no possibility of interruption from phones, kids, pets, neighbors, husbands, wives or simply the interruption caused by the mobile spa need to “set up” and create a “contrived” spa setting in a customer’s private space. And at ESSpa Kozmetika, when the service is finished, the client can choose to stay, sit in the sauna, take a shower, read a book, have something to eat or drink……..and then leave. When a mobile spa comes to a client’s home, when the treatment is over, the client then has to “clean up” their own home after the service is over (or they have to watch the mobile spa therapist clean up afterwards). Either way, the aftermath of a mobile spa treatment provides considerably greater opportunity to create stress and tension (unless of course, the mobile spa client goes right to bed – and worries about cleaning up later).
  3. I touched on it before, but a mobile spa simply cannot provide the same level of effective results that can be achieved by visiting a well-established, top-rated “real” spa. At ESSpa Kozmetika, all of my therapists have an incredible array of products, equipment and other resources which they can utilize to provide the best treatment at a moment’s notice. Ask yourself how many times the needs of a client changed during the course of a treatment and how the actual treatment differed from what was actually scheduled byt he client when she made the appointment. The best therapists must be ready to adapt to the needs of their guest in order to provide truly beneficial results and this is only really possible to accomplish in a well-equipped spa setting – NOT at someone home or office OR at a spa party at the neighbors.
  4. There might be tax advantages to offering mobile spa services. But as almost all home-based business expenses are a red-flag for the IRS, so too might be the variety of expenses considered part of a mobile spa business. To be forwarned is to be forarmed.
  5. Has anyone even thought about the insurance ramifications of offering spa treatments in someone’s private home or office. And I am not speaking just about accidents, most independant spa insurance liability programs would cover those claims. I am speaking more about the potential liability from an accusation – from the disappearance of a cherished knick-knack to something conceivably far more serious and personal. In a private, one-on-one setting, these instances would boil down to a she-said vs. she-said argument EXCEPT that one of the parties would be a homeowner and the other would be a visitor (or independent contractor?). As you can see, this is a gray area that in my opinion, is best left alone.

There is also another reason that I don’t think mobile spas are the answer and they DO NOT offer “unlimited income” as the writer of the article I read stated. A mobile spa operator has to drive from place to place to see their customers. They have to spend time setting up in each different location for each different customer. Every minute that they are spending driving to another customer’s location or spending setting up or cleaning up is time that I as a spa owner with a well-equipped spa am spending treating more and more guests. Additionally, every minute that a guest spends in my spa – whether they are in the waiting room, being treated, in the sauna or the locker room – provides me with the opportunity for them to ask me another question, provides them with more time to upgrade their service, to book an additional service, to ask about a new product and to buy a retail item to take with them. Guests in my spa are “captured clients” that become raving fans that decide to spend their money in my spa instead of going somewhere else because I provide my guests with a “total” experience. Mobile spas cannot do that. I was unable to adequately offer mobile spa services and I have all the means to do so – so I chose, for the benefit of my guests, to not offer them at all.

In closing allow me to say that I think there is a place for mobile spa serivces, but I would not call them mobile spas – just as I refuse to call the local hair salon with a bed in the back a “spa”. Call them what they are, private therapists. Massage therapists have been making “house-calls” forever and but other professionals truly cannot be expected to do the same. This is because a massage therapist doesn’t require all of the equipment and products as needed by a esthetician or nail technician to perform a superior and effective treatment. And that is what I recommend – dedicate yourself to providing the absolute best possible treatment you can, to every client, every time. If you do that, then your income truly will be unlimited.

A former model and watch-maker, Eva Kerschbaumer came to America from Hungary in 1996. She designed, built and opened ESSpa Kozmetika Organic Skincare in 2002 with a staff of 3, 3 rooms and 700 sq.ft. Today she has a team of 35, 14 rooms, 5,000 sq.ft. and spends over 100 hours per week delivering facials and other skincare treatments to every type of guest from age 3 to 83. Eva has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Healing Lifestyles & Spa, DAYSPA Magazine and numerous other publications and is recognized as one of the leading authorities in the industry on the benefits of spa treatments for children and families. ESSpa Kozmetika Organic Skincare was named “The 3rd Best Spa in America” by the Indsutry Source (Dec.’08), won Skin Inc Magazine’s “Best of the Best” International Spa Award (Oct.’08) and is the only member of The Green Spa Network in the State of Pennsylvania. Eva is happy to provide tips and coaching to spa owners and practioners and invites your comments at mobilespa@esspa.com. Or call (412) 782-3888 or visit www.esspa.net.

Start Young to Stay Young – The Benefits of Spa Treatments for your Child

Kids and young adults are constantly bombarded with images of how society thinks they should look, act and feel. I just read an article about the rush to “create” and design spa services for younger guests amongst some of the best-known brands in the hospitality industry. Names like Four Seasons, InterContinental, Grand Hyatt, The Homestead, Trump International, Ritz-Carlton and others are scrambling to offer “spa treatments for kids”.

What amazes me is that one does not need to “create” a new treatment at all. What I have always done since opening ESSpa Kozmetika Organic Skincare 7 years ago is simple and so much more effective – offer the same treatments (obviously adjusted to the needs of a child’s skin at the time of treatment) in the same setting (same rooms, same music, etc.) to our younger, child guests (both girls and boys) as our older, adult guests. I do this because 1) I am a mom first, an esthetician second and a spa owner third; 2) I am younger than most spa owners and; 3) Growing up in Hungary, it was perfectly normal for my mom to take my brother and me to the spa on a weekly basis from the age of 5 – we were taught that going to the spa was part of our normal personal grooming and hygine.

I hope someday, the focus will stop being on the glitz and glam (i.e. “spa parties”) and instead try to educate our young guests (and their parents) about all of the benefits that consistent spa treatments can deliver. An additional benefit is that by bringing a young person to an adult spa, it helps parents teach their child proper etiquette and behavior. I know more people (and the big brands) will continue to spend money on spa parties and luxury physical plants because that is what their marketing executives demand (and it is easier to market little princess pedicure parties than acne facials to 12 year-old boys). And while somewhat frustrating, I am okay with that, because it will allow me to continue to capture all of those guests looking for a skincare alternative to seeing a dermotologist for prescription drugs like accutane or tetracyclene. And perhaps the best thing about offering younger guest the same kind of treatments as their parents is the complete lack of stress that comes with a spa treatment at ESSpa Kozmetika. Kids don’t have to worry about partying or “doing something active” during their time with us. Yes, a treatment at my spa will be “fun”, but it will also be completely healthy, relaxing, rejuvenating, refreshing and thoroughly educational.

Hungarian native and licensed Esthetician, Eva Sztupka-Kerschbaumer is proud to offer the same array of organic skincare treatments to all of her guests, be they women, men, tots, tweens or teens. Eva is recognized as one of the foremost industry authorities on spa treatments for children and has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Healing Lifestyles & Spa, DAYSPA Magazine, and a host of other publications. in 2008, her spa was named “The 3rd Best Spa in America” by The Industry Source Magazine and Pittsburgh Magazine named her spa “Pittsburgh’s Best Green Spa” in 2009. ESSpa Kozmetika Organic Skincare is the only Accredited Member of The Green Spa Network in the State of Pennsylvania. Click Here for more information about her spa treatments for children. Eva can reached for comment at forum@esspa.com

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