It was 2006 when Erin Owens and Lisa Vukonich opened the first of five locations for Fuchsia Spa, a longheld dream of the two women who had met while employed in executive roles at the University of Phoenix.
It was a leap of faith for both mothers of active teens and young children – especially as they were and well-established in their higher education careers.
Through the 2008 economic downturn and last August’s fire and flood at their Mesa Village Square at Dana Park facility, the women remained as positive as circumstances allowed.
A part of that optimism is their commitment to growing their business, keeping ahead of the curve by bringing to their spas the latest in services.
Take, for example, the new LED Bar – the first in Arizona – which launched Nov. 1 in Ahwatukee with other locations to be added later.
“As business owners and women, we find it important to always find the silver lining,” said Vukonich, a former Ahwatukee resident now residing in Gilbert.
Owens echoed the sentiment, adding that their firm has grown stronger because they’d learned something from each of the adversities.
“We’d been open only 16 months when the 2008 recession hit, and though that was rough experience, it taught us how to be smarter businesswomen,” Owens said.
“And the fire at our Dana Park spa in August was a very scary time, and in many ways still is as we work on renovations in anticipation of a grand re-opening, but we can always look for the opportunities that come from these times,” she added.
The fire at their 4,000 square foot Fuchsia Spa was determined to have started late night Aug. 13. Their fire alarm didn’t sound, but the spa’s sprinkler system kicked in.
“The sprinklers actually did their job very well, running until 4 a.m. when a neighboring tenant’s fire alarm went off. Our spa was flooded,” Owens recalled.
Optimism for the duo is in addition to, not in lieu of, solid business acumen.
Owens served as director of enrollment at the University of Phoenix, and it was there she met Vukonich who joined the team five years later.
Though both women praise their time at the university, they often worked up to 50 hours a week and wanted to make time to enjoy their children and spouses.
While lunching one day and discussing spa services they craved at reasonable costs, they considered launching their own spa business.
At first, they considered an Arizona-based massage franchise that was just beginning its entrance into the national day spa market.
But as they left a meeting where they’d been presented a contract, the two came to a life-altering decision during the 14-floor elevator descent.
“We decided we had our own vision for a spa that everyday women could come to and receive facial and massage treatments at an affordable price,” said Owens.
“And that franchise didn’t offer nail or aesthetic services. They also didn’t have the warmth, energy and fun we hoped to create,” added Vukonich, an Arizona native.
So, in 2006, they launched Fuchsia Spa focusing on skincare, massage, nail services and more with an affordable membership.
“We’re on a quest to provide a 5-star experience at Fuchsia on a three star budget,” Vukonich said. “We recently updated our Tranquility Lounge to be more relaxing with individual reclining chairs where clients can start their relaxation time with hot tea, a cookie, and a warm neck wrap.”
The Fuchsia Spa staff - with more than 65 men and women – regularly receives training in the latest of spa techniques including the most recent in their expanding service menu, Celluma - a low-level light therapy utilizing LED energy.
“What light therapy is doing is delivering energy to our compromised cells,” explained Vukonich. “Cells that are under-functioning due to aging and environmental toxins.
“It’s a biochemical response inside the cell where it is going to properly function again, and it works the same whether we’re talking about acne, wrinkles or pain.”
She said Celluma has two FDA clearances – one for wrinkles and the other for acne – as well as seven for pain.
“We’re creating the first LED bar with multiple lights in use,” she said, adding that the therapy increases collagen and elastin.
“As a woman who’s almost 50, I’m noticing differences in my skin that I’d like to change in a totally natural way. I don’t want to look fake or frozen. The Celluma LED is extremely safe and very effective for wrinkle reduction and also leaves your skin glowing,” said Vukonich
Owens is also enthused about the new LED service as her lifestyle often keeps her outside helping her father with his horse ranch west of Phoenix.
“I like to tell people Fuchsia Spa is my third career and none of them were related to each other,” the second-generation Arizona native laughed.
Her first career was in horse racing, where she was a steward and director of racing and on the Arizona State Racing Commission for 11 years before going to University of Phoenix in enrollment and marketing.
“The university taught me a lot and I got my MBA there,” Owens said.
Another new addition launching Nov. 1 at all Fuchsia Spa locations is their new Elite Membership, focusing more on beauty, health and wellness services that is tailored for the woman on the go as the weekly sessions run approximately 30-45 minutes.
“With the launch of the new Elite membership, we’re excited to see our guests a little more often,” Vukonich said. “The fire has caused us to really look at our spa and say how can we make our experience even better.”
Owens added that while Fuchsia Spa’s goal is not “to be the lowest price in the market, but instead to be the highest quality.”
“Our world is filled with an overload of activities and responsibilities and as women, we tend to take on the world,” she added. “Our membership gives women the permission to say I deserve a little me-time.”
Fuchsia Spa locations in Phoenix and Tucson are franchises.
For more information on Fuchsia Spa, their services and locations, see FuchsiaSpa.com.