The Transformation of a Small Town Spa & How to Welcome the Woo-Woo

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By Corrie Gallant

Owner, The Beauty Barn Spa;
Founder, Awakening to Better Beauty;
City Ambassador, World Wellness Weekend

Beyond Beauty

Today’s wellness industry is morphing into more than surface-level beauty. As a woman entrepreneur, philanthropist and second-generation spa owner, I’ve grown up watching this ever-changing industry evolve. Beauty and wellness mean so much more than external beauty services. 

Beauty has so many layers to it. It can range from basic personal care that makes you feel good on the outside to nurturing yourself internally. Although we’ve all heard the term ‘mind, body & soul,’ it is finding the balance between all three where internal wellness exists, and I believe this has become the key ingredient to aging gracefully.

Corrie Gallant

When I was a young girl in the early 80s, beauty for me meant perfume and makeup. I had no interest in those things. At five years old, I had my first perm. I hated that perm so much that I took my mother’s buzzers and shaved a strip in the center of my head (bye-bye curls!).

I was always a rebellious and adventurous soul, not your typical ‘spa girl.’ However, I’ve embraced the beauty industry since those days instead of running from it. Owning my own spa business has allowed me to revolutionize how a spa could look, run, and feel.

Our spa focuses on the entire experience. Not only are the services the main element, but everything becomes an integral part of the experience from the moment you walk through the doors. The sights, sounds, smell, and feel are the initial energy exchange between the client and the service provider.

A Holistic Evolution

My beauty journey has been unique since the beginning. I spent several years working on the Six Nations Reservation [in Ontario, Canada]. During that time, I studied holistic healing practices from an Indigenous Healer and Medicine Woman, Gail Whitlow, who became my Mentor.

Her traditional ways were handed down to her and then passed on to me. At that time, I became aware that this path was taking me so much deeper, and I knew it would be of utmost importance in my future endeavours. She taught me smudging, reflexology, herbal medicine, and crystal therapies.

There is something so beautiful about returning to our roots to discover where these practices originated. I have such respect for this healer and acknowledge the origins of her sacred practices. I feel blessed that she encouraged me to incorporate and share this in my business practices and keep learning from other healers.

Over the years, the wellness space has dabbled in holistic practices, although they have never been highly sought-after services. Some would call it ‘woo-woo.’ In my experience, there has been a significant shift in incorporating holistic services over the last few years. Pre-Covid spas were focused predominantly on touch-based services. Evolution was a crucial part of staying active in the industry.

Navigating through those times, in the face of adversity, is when I had a breakthrough. Like a blessing in disguise, it once again forced me to slow down and focus on staying positive. I was able to sink deeper into my passions, taking courses like Hibiscus Moon Crystal Healing Academy and The Copper Vessels – Sound Healers Academy.

I had the time and space to restructure my business plan and incorporate these beautiful new practices, transforming from a day and medical spa into a well-rounded spa, medical spa, and wellness centre. 

In the past, alternative services were not easily sourced, nor were they typically the top revenue-generating services for the business owner. We have since seen a transition; focusing on self-care and mental health has become a priority for many of our consumers; you could even say it’s become popular.

Once Considered Woo-Woo is Now Becoming Whoo-Hoo

Top spas like Miraval and the Four Seasons are ahead of the game, offering alternatives such as hiking, past life regression, nutrition options, cold/hot plunges, and so much more. For smaller spas, considering the transition to adding these modalities, I am happy to say the door has opened for us. The importance of taking time for yourself is finally on-trend.

Our spa has evolved; extending our wellness services, we have added a large deck and bunkie that hosts new outdoor events such as our Gather and Glow retreat. We have brought in more holistic practitioners and incorporated things like sound baths, gemstone facials, breath work, movement, astrology, sound bowl massage, light work therapies, fire release ceremonies, and even built a new gemstone labyrinth for walking meditation. 

Every year since opening, we give the gift of wellness to women in our community undergoing cancer treatments. We work directly with our local hospital to nominate deserving individuals for the Awakening to Better Beauty event. This year we were proud to include our new space, an outdoor sound bath, gemstone elements, and even more holistic services.

Adding Sparkle to the Spa Using Crystals

Our space incorporates crystals throughout, intentionally placed under the pedicure chairs and in the treatment rooms. Not only are the crystals beautiful, but they also bring in a sense of child-like wonder and sparkle, creating amazing energy in the space.

Since the transition, we have received accolades for thriving during such an unprecedented time for small businesses. We received the Business of Excellence Award for Entrepreneur of the Year 2021. We have also received an Honourable Mention Award alongside the Top 25 Leading Spas of Canada. 

In addition, in 2022, I was asked to become the City Ambassador for World Wellness Weekend, an event and opportunity that every wellness professional should consider. Every September, businesses gather to offer a wellness event of their choosing for their community. 

It is the largest event of its kind, with over 5000 wellness-based companies participating worldwide. It is a wellness experience that keeps improving each year, and I am honoured to participate.

The wellness shift is happening, and it is an exciting time to be a part of it! I hope that sharing what brings me light and joy can spark something in you too. As for my future plans, I will continue on my learning journey and trust the Universe to point me in the best direction in life and business.

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