The business of beauty
Written by: Charlotte Fielding
Ina Bajaj is the founder of Spring Spa and the award-winning East Day Spa, with locations across New Zealand and Bali. Spring is a contemporary luxury beauty and wellness spa that offers an innovative blend of east meets west, where modern technologies meet traditional techniques in a sleek, peaceful environment. Charlotte Fielding talks to Ina about wellness and running an international business.
Why did you start Spring Spa?
In 2002 I opened East Day Spa in Wellington, and then another in Auckland in 2005. In 2011 I was sitting in Queenstown Mall and saw all these people who had checked out of hotels and were wandering around, waiting for their flights. The concept of the social spas came to me then. We opened our first Spring as a foot spa in Queenstown. We’ve got nine locations at the moment.
What are you most proud of in your business?
I’m proud of taking what was a tiny business of four to a company that employs over 400 people now.
Tell me about the services you offer.
We specialise in Eastern rituals, whether it be massage or body scrubs. When we first opened, it was like bringing the East to the West. It’s been a lovely journey because we’ve had such a combination of different cultures work with us.
When it comes to beauty treatments, we do veer back to the West. There’s a resurgence of natural treatments at the moment, but if you want results you need the right products. We are the distributors of Codage and the famed Augustinus Bader. We use cutting edge Western treatments in our beauty treatments and strong Eastern rituals for body care.
How do you practise inclusion and diversity in your business?
Being so multicultural we have zero tolerance towards any kind of discrimination. We have gender neutral bathrooms for clients and staff and our facilities are accessible. Being considerate of religious practices is a big thing. During Ramadan when we have some of the staff fasting, we won’t load them up with body treatments which take a lot of energy. In Bali religion is paramount and it has to be part of the workplace.
How do you give back to your community?
We support a lot of charities when they approach us for gift vouchers, and we do have favourite charities. We support a beautiful orphanage in Lombok Barat, called Peduli Anak. Whether it be monetarily or supplying them with the textbooks or pencils and crayons for the year. They are just wonderful.
They’ve got children from two months to 20 and if anyone wants to take on a career in beauty or massage we will put them through our school, which we’re opening in Bali next June, at no cost. We will train them and then give them a job. It’s about opening up opportunities for these children who would normally not have those opportunities. Our school is a commercial venture, but for any of the Peduli Anak children there will be no charge; we will even support their accommodation and living expenses if they move to New Zealand.
Do you have any tips about skin care?
My advice on skin care is to keep it consistent. If you’re going to do a facial, don’t don’t do one facial or buy a package and think it’s going to change your life. Keep it going and use quality products like Codage or the numerous other ones on the marketplace.
But don’t sweat it too much. In the end, it’s what’s on the inside. If you’re stressed from the inside, it’s going to affect your skin. It’s about mindfulness and taking time for yourself.
What inspires you as a business person?
Wellness is suddenly being taken very seriously. There are a lot of people out there who want to change their everyday behaviour and better their own personal health. It’s encouraging for us to see that people are taking their health seriously and using natural holistic modalities towards making themselves feel better.
What do you love about working across New Zealand and Bali?
I don’t do winter, that’s what! I’m following the sun and I don’t do the heat. I’m in New Zealand through the summer and then the minute those frosts arrive, I’m out of there. I was born in East Africa in Kenya, and I’m of Indian descent, and Kenya, New Zealand, and Bali are three of the most beautiful countries I’ve ever been to. Living in Bali is a new thing for me, but I’ve had a love affair with this island for a long, long time.
What are you excited for in the future?
The growth of our company, particularly in Asia at the moment where we’re looking at rolling out a lot more spas. And then there’s things like I just got an invite to a staff member’s daughter’s wedding, which is lovely. She moved to New Zealand as a divorcee and there are a lot of connotations around that in Bali, but she’s remarried, settled her kids, educated them. It’s exciting being able to help families to grow and change their lives in a beautiful country like New Zealand. We’ve got team members that have been with us for fifteen years now, and their children are growing up, and it’s really exciting to see.