Mesa’s Fuchsia Spa opened in 2006 with the idea of being the “everyday spa for the everyday woman.”
Since then, business has grown so much that owners Erin Owens, 49, and Lisa Vukonich, 41, recently moved into a bigger location at Dana Park.
The two women — and moms — met while working at the University of Phoenix. Owens was Vukonich’s supervisor. She saw how busy and tough it was for Vukonich to juggle work and her young children, sometimes missing the kids’ school events because of work.
The two women started talking about what they would want — the occasional facial or massage where they could get an hour to themselves.
Then they took that conversation a step further. Owens’ family members own their own business.
“There’s always been that thought in the back of my head that this is something you should do,” Owens said.
With her own stepchildren a little older, and with 10 years under her belt at the University of Phoenix, Owens and Vukonich started to forge a plan to create a day spa with just the basics — massage and facials.
“We were looking for the work-life balance, but always wanted to give back to the women doing it every day: balancing kids, balancing work, balancing community responsibilities,” Owens said.
Originally, they looked at franchise possibilities. But, because they wanted to specialize, they came up with their own idea. Using a branding company, they came up with the name — Fuchsia — to represent something “different in the industry.”
“It’s in the pink family, but fuchsia stands out from the rest,” Owens explained.
With their business background from the University of Phoenix — and the education they both received there — Fuchsia was launched in the last spot available at Dana Park that year — a 1,900-square-foot, narrow location on the south end of the retail center.
Massages and facials remain the staple, but as the economy changed — and discretionary spending changed — the women also altered their business plan. They started to offer nail services so women could still get a treat for themselves, but at a lower cost.
As summer started a few months ago, Fuchsia moved into a 4,000-square-foot spot at Dana Park. The women expanded the area for pedicures and manicures and added a “blow-dry” bar, where clients can come get their hair styled without a cut or color.
The business model may change again in the spring. Owens and Vukonich hope to franchise their salon and make it available around the Valley.
Even with the downturn in the economy, Fuchsia remains viable, Owens said.
“Since we’ve started we’ve always delivered quality products and services,” she said. “We felt it was still important to invest in our team,” continuing training for the 35 employees.
Plus, they deliver the message to clients that they’re important.
“The reality is: Life is stressful and at some point you have to invest in yourself,” she said.
More people are taking steps to start their own businesses in the face of salary and job cuts, said Brent Kleinman, a business attorney who started Valley-based Kleinman Law Firm in 2011.
“There’s a lot of people who have either been laid off or their hours have been cut so people are trying to find a second job or create a second form of income,” Kleinman said. “It’s a good number of women. There have also been a couple of nonprofits, people who, now that they have time, they’re opening nonprofits.”
Kleinman said anyone considering starting a business — no matter if it’s in the home or at a location — should consult someone to talk about licenses, taxes and origination paperwork. Kleinman offers a free consultation.
“I help in creating the business plan, looking for financing and — especially if you’re going into business with a friend or relative — how to put everything down in writing,” he said.
Owens said that’s just what she and Vukonich did. They also assigned tasks to each other based on one another’s strengths.
“Anybody who has a dream and passion will certainly be successful,” she said. “Have a business plan. Have someone to bounce ideas off of. When you’re getting constructive feedback, listen to it. Don’t take it to heart as personal … Have great employees. You can’t put enough stock into the people on your team.”
Then, you can reap the benefits, she said.
“Having a business has allowed us to manage life outside of it.”
Contact writer: (480) 898-6549 or firstname.lastname@example.org