I receive a LOT of press releases and information from PR reps every day, and the correspondence really has to stand out just to get me to read it, let alone respond with interest. When information on Pretty In Pink Spa Studio in Oakville hit my inbox, I was intrigued. It was titled “Spending time bonding builds self-esteem in children”, and the email went on to outline how Pretty In Pink is the place for moms and daughters to spend some uninterrupted time together. Sure, it’s a spa, but the release didn’t push the beauty angle, instead focusing on the parent/child relationship, which I actually thought was brilliant marketing. I made an appointment right away for Frannie and I to check it out.
Despite the great info I had received, I was still a bit worried before the visit about how the Spa Studio would fit with the values I want to instill in my girls. I want them to know that it’s important to take care of yourself and look your best, while always remembering that what’s on the outside has little importance compared to who you are on the inside. I also want them to feel like it’s fine to seek out and enjoy occasional pampering, but one never wants to earn the label “pampered child” – or worse, “pampered adult”!
My worries were completely unnecessary, because owner Sonia and her team absolutely nailed it.
Our drive was two hours, and while at first I wondered if I was crazy to spend that much time on the road, it really did support the goal of bonding with my daughter, as being in the car seems to spur conversation, and she confided quite a bit to be during the drive.
When we arrived at Pretty in Pink, we were greeted warmly and provided with a tour of the bright and clean spa, which was designed two years ago to serve a young clientele after Sonia realized she could address a need in the market. Her philosophy is that “a relaxing and age-appropriate spa environment, free from the unrealistic ideals that girls encounter daily in social media and advertising, can build confidence and encourage a process of healthy self-discovery”.
While adult services were not originally on the menu when the spa opened, mom after mom would bring her daughter and ask Sonia “What about me?”, which led to the expansion of services to meet the mothers’ needs as well.
Behind the inviting storefront.there are two spacious rooms for parties (they can accommodate up to 15 young guests), with treatment areas sized just right for little spa-goers – meaning, they can actually reach the foot bowls! – as well as a small treatment room (with two beds for mother/daughter or friend treatments; one bed is removed for solo services) where Frannie and I were treated to facials to begin our spa experience. Frannie, all decked out in a cozy pink robe, received a chocolate facial, with the yummy stuff painted right on her face (it’s edible, just in case!) I took an adorable photo of her covered in chocolate, but she was adamant that I not show that one on the blog so I am respecting her wishes.
During my facial, I didn’t have to worry about asking any questions, as Frannie had it covered. Where do you get your products? (They’re handmade in Hungary) What’s in them? (Organic ingredients like acai berry juice, coconut water and shea butter) What happens if you run out? (We order more!)
I received the “Express Facial”, with products targeted to meet my needs, and I confided that I’d like a bit of help with the signs of aging, so head esthetician Lucy used Eminence products like Firm Skin Acai Cleanser and Neroli Age Corrective Eye Serum
Frannie’s facial ended with a mini massage, which she really loved. “I’m going to teach this to my friends at school!”, she enthused.
Next, we moved to the manicure station. Frannie was asked what kind of music she likes and within seconds Taylor Swift was serenading us as our nails were tended to. My mani actually turned out very well with regular polish (instead of my usual gel), and in case you’re curious, their nail polishes are free of DBP, formaldehyde and toluene. Sonia thinks of all the details: we received fancy glasses with pink lemonade, and there was a chocolate cupcake waiting for Frannie at the end of her bright-red-with-silver-sparkles mani.
The birthday parties and camps that Pretty In Pink offers include beauty treatments, of course, but I was pleased to see that there’s so much more to them than that, like arts and crafts, music and drama. Even the questions the ladies were asking Frannie were right on, chatting about her friends, hobbies and Halloween plans. Other than asking her to select her nail colour, there really wasn’t a focus on appearances at all, and the “beauty tips” she received were age-appropriate: Drink lots of water and wash your face twice a day. (When tucking her in that night, Frannie jumped out of bed and said “Wait a minute; I’ll be right back! Lucy said to wash my face twice a day!”)
The inspirational wall behind the pedicure station offers great tidbits for the girls too, like “No one is perfect, that is why pencils have erasers.”
While we certainly received the royal treatment while there, I usually have a good instinct for when something is being staged for the sake of my “media” status, and that radar did not go off at all. I really believe that any little girl (or big girl!) who visits Pretty In Pink will leave feeling just as special.
On the way out (after the requisite picture-taking, of course) I had to stop and pick up a “Feeling Smitten Cupcake Bath Bomb” (one of Oprah’s Favourite Things, don’t you know?) from the display case as a birthday gift for a friend. (Even if you’re not interested in the services, you may want to check out the shop: from kids’ robes to loot bag goodies to organic spa products for adults, they have it all. I’m particularly interested in a natural deodorant they carry for tweens and teens, but we’re not quite ready for that yet.)
When reviewing products and services, I really like to get feedback from my kids as well, and Frannie doesn’t hesitate to share hers. The funny thing is, all of the things she “didn’t like” about this experience were actually positives! “I wish we could have stayed longer and done more things!”, “I don’t like how you said we can’t come back for their Zombie Halloween Party!” My two negatives: the fact that it’s way too far for us to visit on any regular basis (“Hey, you’re invited to Frannie’s birthday party; meet you in Oakville!” wouldn’t really fly) and…I could really have gone for one of those post-mani chocolate cupcakes myself!
More information about Pretty In Pink Spa Studio, including pricing, can be found on their website. The parties start at $290, which I know is more than some of my readers want (or are able) to spend on a fete, but I have no doubt that there is an abundance of interested clientele out there. Sonia takes care of everything from the invitations to the food, and because of her daughter’s celiac disease, she is very conscious of dietary needs, and can provide organic and allergen-free products upon request.
The visit certainly spurred Frannie’s imagination as well, as I walked in the bathroom the next morning to find her and her sister playing “spa” with the dolls:
While discussing the birthday party packages offered at Pretty In Pink, Sonia had mentioned using “The Melt”, a grilled cheese bar in the same plaza, to provide the food, so after our visit we walked down there for a fantastic lunch.
As we headed back to the car, Frannie looked at me, completely unprompted, and said “Mommy, that was the most awesome day ever, and I loved getting all of those things done, but do you know what the best part was? Spending all that time with you!” With tears in my eyes, I agreed.
Disclosure: Frannie and I received the services described above for review purposes. Opinions are, as always, our own.