It's no surprise that lavish spas can be expensive. The soaring costs for extravagant beauty services have inspired one local woman to start a business. Terri Sitto, owner of Day Dream Nails and Spa in West Bloomfield, is merging pricey procedures with cheap rates, a unique concept.
"I wanted to open up a place that would accommodate working women who can't afford going to an expensive place. They can come here. And it's very elegant and nice, with affordable prices. So, they feel like they're going to a really nice spa, but they're not paying so much money," Sitto said.
The business opened earlier this year, and is already a success. "I just opened up, and I'm so busy. I feel like people are loving it here… They can see the atmosphere is so beautiful," Sitto said.
The European-themed spa is detailed with elegance emanating from every corner. Its massage chairs match a wall plastered with varying shades of purple while other furnishings are more traditional. Every product and piece of equipment is made in America. "I wanted to support my country," Sitto said.
The Iraqi native moved to the states when she was 17. Her Chaldean roots are a strong presence at the lounge. Baklava, a popular pastry of the Middle East, is offered along with Turkish coffee cup fortune readings. "It's something fun we do here. Between us, we sit and talk," Sitto said.
In addition to manicures and pedicures, the spa offers Botox, ultrasonic infusion, vein treatments, facial and body waxing, microdermabrasion, intense pulse light for treatment of facial redness and brown spots, laser hair removal, eyelash and eyebrow tinting and various peels including wrinkle lift, anti-aging, acne, pore reducing and age spot reduction, among others.
Certain procedures are performed by a professional doctor. "Even my doctor is not charging that much. I told her, if she wants to work in my place, it has to be for reasonable prices for working women, who can't afford to pay so much money to go to a regular spa or a doctor," she said.
A line of low priced Image Skincare and Vital C products can be found as well, ranging from hydrating facial cleansers with essential vitamins and anti-oxidants to anti-aging creams.
Jewelry is displayed on the front desk and near the windows. "I don't price my jewelry very high. Just perfect, so people can afford buying it," she said. Some pieces sell for under $15. Sitto carries nutrition bars, and may start selling health shakes this summer.
Despite the prolonged recession, Sitto says now is the best time to open a business because rent along with other resources is cheap.
Sitto has worked in the spa industry for 24 years. The nine associates she employees have more than 15 years of experience. She's in the process of hiring an additional six employees.
Before launching the business, medical conditions kept Sitto from working for two years. During that period she gathered ideas on what to do next. Her father's successful career as an entrepreneur, and her own experience in beauty care also influenced her.
She spent her whole life savings on the business. "I don't care, I took out all my retirement money," Sitto said. She's encouraging the next generation of young business owners to take a gamble in tough economic times.
"Don't be afraid. You have to be ambitious. You have to be a go-getter…When you have your own business, you can get much further in life," Sitto said.
While she admits managing a business can be a headache at times, it's rewarding. "I love having my own business. Because it gives me the leisure of doing whatever I want, and creating the prices I want. And of course serving people the way I want, not someone telling me how to do it."
Sitto faced challenges opening up. It was difficult to obtain a building permit, so she contacted the offices of Congressman Gary Peters and U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, and met with their representatives for advice on handling the issue. "People don't want to wait four or five months to get a permit," she said. The concerns reached West Bloomfield Township Supervisor, Michele Economou Ureste, who sent a letter to Sitto thanking her for highlighting the problem, and said new initiatives have been launched to expedite the process of granting permits to the next generation of business owners.
Sitto notes the contributions Chaldeans make to West Bloomfield and metro-Detroit as a whole. "Chaldeans, we're a driving force," she said. In the plaza where Sitto's business is located, Chaldean owned businesses occupy more than half the space.
Sitto says for a business to thrive, associates have to be treated well. "To be honest with you, treat your workers like they're your own family. If you treat them like employees they're not going to work hard for you," she said. "I do all types of things for my girls."
Sitto is currently working on an invention that is expected to get a patent in a few months. "Well I can't talk about it," she said. The product applies to both children and adults, and is in the third of a five stage process. A second invention is being looked into. Sitto plans on opening more spas in suburban areas within a year.
She incorporates diversity in the spa by employing people with different ethnic backgrounds. "I wanted to make it more comfortable for people who are walking in here, so I hire all types of people." The Arab American NewsNew Michigan Media