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



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.

PennDot, Prices & Promotions….Oh My! @ ESSpa Kozmetika

With today’s post, I would like to touch on several issues that seem to cause some consternation every now and then. Hopefully, my comments will help foster some goodwill and understanding surrounding these very important topics and how they relate to ESSpa Kozmetika Organic Skincare.

PennDot. Like Haley’s Comet (except more frequent and a lot closer), the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation cannot help itself but to cause motorists in and around Greater Pittsburgh as much grief, stress and anxiety as possible when it comes to efficiently navigating area roads during the summer months (or as we like to affectionately call it “road construction hell”). As anyone who has traveled the Pennsylvania Turnpike knows, the WPA did not disband after FDR’s New Deal – it was rechristened PennDot and relegated to the constant work on our state’s highways. Usually this does not directly affect ESSpa Kozmetika as the WPA…oh sorry, PennDot most often is content to endlessly work on I-79, I-76 or other road that are far enough away from our little borough of Aspinwall. This year that came to a screeching halt as PennDot has turned its sights fully on Route 28. Yes Irene, the complete closing and reconstruction of a bridge that it seems like they just closed and reconstructed not too long ago is at hand and it is causing incredible delays, detours and distractions for anyone trying to efficiently drive to ESSpa Kozmetika from Downtown Pittsburgh. According to PennDot, they suggest that everyone (something like 40-50,000 cars per day) drive down a ramp, go across a bridge onto a single lane road (Butler Street) festooned with traffic lights (and the Zoo) and onto another bridge as the fastest detour around the construction zone.

I am here to tell you that there is a much easier and quicker way to get from Downtown (and the South Hills) to Aspinwall and ESSpa Kozmetika. HERE IT IS. Take Bigelow Boulevard (this is accessed via the same ramp / interchange for I-279 North right near Mellon Arena above the USX Tower) east towards Oakland (passing the Bloomfield Bridge) until you come to Baum Boulevard. Turn left onto Baum Boulevard and travel on Baum until you get to Negley Avenue. Turn left onto Negley and continue as it turns into North Negley Avenue. After 20 blocks, bear right as Negley turns into Mellon Terrace and then bear left onto One Wild Place (there will be a big Apartment Building on your right). Follow One Wild Place around the LEFT-hand hairpin turn and go past the Pittsburgh Zoo and down the hill. At the bottom of the hill turn right and stay right onto the Highland Park Bridge. On the bridge stay in the right-hand lane and take the Aspinwall Exit at the end of the bridge. The ramp will take you onto Freeport Road. Go straight to the 3rd traffic light and turn left onto Brilliant Avenue. ESSpa Kozmetika is located at 17 Brilliant (big red brick building on your left). From Downtown, this detour should take about 15-25 minutes (even at the busiest rush-hour).

Prices, prices, prices. One of the hardest things to discuss and figure out in any business is how to price accordingly. This is even more difficult during a time of economic upheaval such as we are currently in. And additionally more difficult in a business that is commonly considered to be a “disposable income” type of service. Allow me to say that in a perfect world, I would spend all of my waking hours giving my guests the longest, best service they could find anywhere at any price for little or no charge (ask around, it is my nature and it is what makes me happy). Unfortunately, I have a husband, a son and 30 some employees who rely on me for a livelihood so I have to find a balance and charge a fair-price. Many of my most loyal guests have noticed a recent price-increase in a few of our services and they have commented to me how much more they are than services at other salons. I must first say that most of these comments are because I did not price my services correctly in the past and allowed people to compare our ESSpa Kozmetika “apples” to other salons “oranges”. This is to say, the prices are not out of whack because people are not comparing the same services. Guests need to understand that our “standard” Hungarian Spa Manicures and Pedicures INCLUDES all of the EXTRAS that other salons charge additional fees for. Our standard nail services INCLUDE a paraffin foot dip. Our standard nail services INCLUDE an invigorating massage. Our standard nail serivces INCLUDE a thorough callus and cuticle removal. And our standard nail services take about 15-20 minutes longer than those at other salons. As for our other “spa” services, there really is no way to compare our ESSpa Facial Treatments to other spas as what we deliver is light-years more involved and effective and longer than anything offered at most other spas (anywhere, not just in Pittsburgh). We use more expensive products, we include more steps, we include more features (like a hand and foot massage) and you are on the table longer. And our massages are the same. When you schedule a 1 Hour Massage at ESSpa Kozmetika you must understand that your will be on the table for 60 minutes (not 50 or 55 minutes like almost every other spa int he world). And your Massage will include hot towels, warm blankets and proper attention to your feet, hands, head, neck, shoulders, arms, back, whatever requires the attention of one of our Nationally Certified and Licensed Therapists. In closing, when it comes to prices, I understand that every dollar counts but please note that I refuse to comprimise on providing my guests with the absolute best possible treatments and products and therapists and the only way to continue doing this is to charge a reasonable and fair price.

Ah promotions. No in the country spa offers more than ESSpa Kozmetika . No spa in the country gets as creative as ESSpa Kozmetika. No spa in the country tries to make spa treatments as accessible to as many people by offering insane offers as ESSpa Kozmetika. Yet sometimes, people still find reason to complain. While I understand that there is a common human desire to always want and look for something for free, I hope that everyone understands that at the end of the day, ESSpa Kozmetika is a business, with bills, and loans, and employees and rent and everything else that comes with operating a successful business. That being said, I really hope that everyone understands that in order for us to continue to offer such wonderful and ridiculously low-cost promotions (like today’s Facial for $39) I have to place some kind of restrictions on their redemption. I just want everyone to know that whatever restrictions there are – any conditions of use are solely placed on the promotions themselves AND NOT on our regularly purchased ESSpa Kozmetika Gift Cards. If you have any questions about this policy, please feel free to contact me immediately at promotions@esspa.com.

I hope that this post answers several questions that people might have about some of the more important issues of the day. In closing, I would like to encourage everyone to stay-tuned as I am going to making some huge announcements in the next few months. And as always, everyone is invited to share your thoughts and comments with me about these or any other topics that you wish to discuss…..because without you, ESSpa Kozmetika would not be the wonderful place that it is and will continue to be.

Eva Kerschbaumer
ESSpa Kozmetika Organic Skincare
Named Pittsburgh’s “Best Green Spa” in 2009
Named the “3rd Best Spa in America” in 2008
17 Brilliant Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15215
(412) 782-3888

ESSpa is Improving Even More!

Hi Everyone! It’s Eva here.

ESSpa Kozmetika has been going through some changes lately to better the entire business and environment of ESSpa Kozmetika Organic Skincare and Day Spa. For starters, on your next visit to ESSpa, you will notice a lot more books available for your convenience. While you wait for your spa treatment, you can curl up in your plush spa robe and read a great book instead of those hyped up gossip magazines. There is a wide array of books available. They range from travel, fashion, self help books, biographies, and those fun and quite addictive useless information books.

Books are a nice way to compliment the space of any relaxation area. The reason for this change is because most gossip magazines advertise products that our skincare professionals just don’t believe in. Just because some products might be in a high end magazine doesn’t mean that they can help your skin. Believe it or not, most don’t even have high end ingredients in the products.

In Europe, especially in Hungary, spa treatments are an everyday occurrence for the health of your body, mind, and skin. A European facial once a month can do wonders for your skin. Using those miracle creams filled with synthetic ingredients are not the answer to great skin, they will just give you more problems in the long run. That is why when you step into ESSpa, we have created a more serene and organic environment for you and your skin. The only two magazines that are approved are Vogue and W Magazines. (Just because we have a thing for designers)

Another change that has happened within the ESSpa business is the discontinuing of artificial nail services. This will create a more green and organic atmosphere for all guests. It will improve air quality and promote the healthy, natural look of manicures and pedicures. We appreciate all ESSpa guests for being so understanding during these positive changes. It will better the business and atmosphere so that ESSpa can truly live up to being a relaxing and organic day spa.

ESSpa Kozmetika Organic Skincare and Day Spa is open everyday for your convenience. If you have any questions regarding our menu of products or services please do not hesitate to contact us at 412-782-3888 or check out our website at www.esspa.net.

ESSpa Kozmetika Organic Skincare & Day Spa exists within an organically restored WWI-era auto dealership located just 8 miles north of Downtown Pittsburgh in Aspinwall Borough. Eva and her team of Hungarian-trained professionals use only the finest and handmade products in facials, massages, body and nail treatments that are each designed to go beyond mere relaxation and deliver better-looking, healthy skin. It is Eva’s belief that a trip to a spa should never be considered a luxury and that regular visits to ESSpa Kozmetika Organic Skincare treatments are true preventative medicine that should be routine for the entire family – even children.

For more information contact:
Scott Kerschbaumer
17 Brilliant Ave
Pittsburgh, Pa 15215

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