Pretty in Pink Spa for little girls is a happy, uplifting place to be – Canadian Living
The average spa caters to women over 20, perhaps with money, looking for a quiet moment away from noise (that includes the chattering of children!) and the clutter of the everyday. For Sonia Imerti, owner of Pretty in Pink Spa Studio, this model leaves out a critical but seemingly obvious client base: little girls.
Her “ah-ha” moment came when she was out of town for a family wedding and headed to a spa with the women in her family, including her young daughter. “When we checked in, it was a strict ‘No Kids’ policy,” she says. “We’d had no idea. My husband had already left with the ushers. I wanted to cancel my appointment but they’d already charged my credit card.” Imerti asked to speak with the manager and finally had her daughter admitted to the spa, for the full price of $120. “They did the seaweed mask on her legs. It was a long treatment. She couldn’t reach the bowls. Needless to say, she was devastated and hated the whole experience.”
Fast forward to 2013 and Imerti has filled this gap in the market (at least in Oakville, ON) with a thriving day spa that hosts birthday parties, mother-daughter treatments and monthly events (the next one’s on December 13), all in a pretty, girly space with beauty stations small enough for the under-five-foot set.
When Canadian Living‘s style intern, Helena, and I stopped by the spa one weekend, I expected to feel silly and out of place because of my age (much older than the average client aged 8 or 9). Instead, I felt right at home. Imerti says this reaction is common. When she first opened, “Moms would be dropping off their kids at the parties and say, ‘What about us?’” she remembers. “I’d giggle, but they’d say, ‘No, really. Can I have my bachelorette party here?’” The demand was so big that Imerti eventually hired an aesthetician named Lucy to give Éminence facials to women during the day while kids are at school. Teen boys have also been known to cross the threshold. “One boy whose acne was bad said, after coming to Lucy for a few sessions, ‘I can smile and it doesn’t hurt.’ That was huge.”
Imerti takes pride in being inclusive, especially when it comes to allergies. One of her daughters has celiac disease, so she is happy to cater to children’s food allergies at birthday parties (where the girls are offered cupcakes and lemonade in champagne glasses). The shop at the front of the space also carries a wide variety of organic and gluten-free beauty products from brands such as Éminence, 100% Pure and LACC nail polish. Whether or not a girl faces food or beauty restrictions, she can try almost anything at Pretty in Pink and be sure that it will be safe and smell and look good enough to eat.
It all sounds great, but for me the real proof that this spa concept works is the way it makes little girls feel. While Helena and I were getting our nails done (after a relaxing organic facial), a mother brought in her young daughter and friend for pedicures. The two girls donned bright pink robes, sipped lemonade and looked around with wonder, as though they couldn’t believe their eyes. Pretty in Pink is essentially a wonderland with its wall of inspirational quotes, accent colours and treasure trove of goodies in the shop, and the giddy joy that girls young and old can experience makes it a really special place.