Simply Face & Body, Ramsey, N.J.

Real Simple: Red Door Spas’ new spinoff brings spa services to Main Street.
Posted July 13, 2009

Before Elizabeth Arden’s Red Door Salon & Spas’ designers began crafting a look for the luxury operator’s mass-market spin-off, they had to tackle some myth busting. Their initial challenge was how to debunk the idea that spas offering expert services have to be expensive—too expensive for a target market of consumers with household incomes around $75,000.

The solution was simplicity itself. “We felt that an aesthetic that was simple and straightforward would communicate affordability. So, throughout the design development process, we referenced the phrase, ‘Keep it simple,’” says Patrick Dooley, Red Door Spa’s vice president design and construction.

Natural Beauty

Spa-goers who visit the new Simply Face & Body locations won’t find pared-down versions of the chandeliers and posh furniture they’d expect at an ultra-luxe Red Door Spa. In fact, no front-of-the-house elements cross over between the two brands. Instead, the design team focused on sustainable chic to create an easy upscale ambience that would look accessible and inviting to a generation used to Starbucks, Ikea and Gap.

The brand’s signature color, green, signals its environmental commitment. “We had fun exploring green design, both literally and figuratively,” says Dooley. Earth-friendly design elements are layered throughout the prototype, a former storefront which debuted last January in the Interstate Shopping Center, Ramsey, N.J. Many of the finish, flooring and ceiling materials are recyclable and/or manufactured with a high recycled content. Walls paints are low VOC. The lighting is sensor-controlled, and appliances are Energy Star-rated. Demising walls were deconstructed and rebuilt with better acoustic cushioning. “No one wants to hear noise from adjacent tenants,” he adds.

Dooley purposely restricted the menu of surface types and finishes to provide a quiet, unintimidating backdrop. For example, walls are painted rather than stone-clad or wallpapered. All of the ceilings are acoustic rather than drywall. There are only two types of flooring: vinyl strip wood in the reception area and treatment rooms, carpet in the hallway to reduce noise.

What Stays, What Goes

Simply Face & Body’s 3000-square-foot prototype had no room for non-essentials such as locker rooms. Guests change in the treatment rooms. Communal relaxation areas are downsized but comfortable. “From our work with Red Door, we knew how create an efficient space plan that balanced the right amount of square footage for program and support activities with adequate room for a great guest experience,” says Dooley.

Making room for retail was a priority, both for guests and for the high-volume walk-by traffic the shopping center generates. Red Door’s design team worked with the landlord to develop a new façade with clear sightlines to product displays. Guest seating is positioned within easy reach of the products to encourage them to experiment and ask questions. In a nod to lessons learned from Elizabeth Arden’s retail expertise, Simply Face & Body offers testers for all of its organically-derived face and body care merchandise.

“Our goal is to bring affordable wellness to a broad segment of the population that hasn’t had access to expertly-delivered services,” Dooley says. The recession notwithstanding, Simply Face & Body’s first location is on track to do just that. Monthly bookings hit the 700 mark, and were running ahead of that pace for May and June. “There’s always been a tremendous focus on the higher end of the spa industry. That leaves out a huge market, and that’s exactly the market Simply Face & Body hopes to reach,” he adds.

Project Participants

Red Door Spas, Stamford, Conn.

Red Door Spas, Design and Construction, Stamford, Conn.-- Patrick Dooley, vp, design and construction; Louis Paduano, director, design and construction; Kate Murphy, facilities manager

Tricarico Architecture and Design, PC, Wayne, N.J.-- Nicholas J. Tricarico and Tony Czapka, architects; Nicole Tricarico and Joanna Pobicki, interior designers

Outside Design Consultants
Think 360◦, Inc., Tarrytown, N.Y.

DMX Music, Dallas

USG Interiors, Inc., Chicago

Exterior Signage
Alto Sign, Philadelphia

Armstrong Flooring, Lancaster, Pa.
C&A Tandus Group, Dalton, Ga.

Amerlux LLC, Fairfield, N.J.

Props/Decoratives/Interior Signage
Ace Designs, Bristol, Pa.

Spa Equipment and Fixtures
Design X Mfg. Inc., Old Saybrook, Conn. (also furniture)
Touch America, Hillsborough, N.C.
Pevonia International LLC, Daytona Beach, Fla.
P-Ryton Corp., Long Island City, N.Y.

Wall Paint
Benjamin Moore, Montvale, N.J.
Pratt & Lambert, Cleveland

Window Display System
Rose Displays Ltd., Boston