JUN 2013

DAYSPA is the business resource for spa & wellness professionals! Each issue covers the latest in skin care, spa treatments, wellness services and management strategies.

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Dtox Day Spa ( Neighborhood: Atwater Village, an "up and coming," formerly industrial area tucked into L.A.'s mountainous East Side Hook: Incarnated in a loft-like masonry building with giant wood tresses, this hip mecca serves as the East Side's first (and only) full-service day spa. Not many years ago, interior designer Cary Mock and his partner Kenneth King had to sate their frequent spa cravings by making arduous treks through L.A.'s notorious traffic to West Hollywood or Pasadena from their home base in Atwater Village. Atwater, a tightknit East Side enclave, had long been beloved by grungy rockers, starving artists and other variations on the "modern hipster" theme, yet was woefully lacking in the wellness department. "We thought it was crazy that there was nothing here yet," recalls Mock. So, he set to scouting neighborhood locations for his dream spa—eventually realized in Dtox's calming-yet-upscale, eco-friendly oasis. King, an entrepreneur, enrolled in massage school, and both men took a small business management class to ensure they were conducting proper market research and planning appropriately. Meanwhile, the couple's loved ones were dubious. "Everyone said we were crazy, that there was no demographic for a spa here," Mock says, "when in actuality, young professionals, maturing hipsters and industry folk were all starting to buy homes here. Plus, Angelenos love the possibility of not having to drive far." Mock had a point. By the time Dtox opened its doors on Los Feliz Boulevard, buzz was strong, thanks to jumbo street banners, local press attention and plenty of community support. As Mock and King prepped their warehouse space prior to Dtox's grand opening, curious 70 DAYSPA | JUNE 2013 An indigenous neighborhood passers-by and prospective business and social hub, Dtox staffers were popping in off enjoys ample community support. the street. "Everybody around here knows their neighbors—they're all out walking their dogs—and take pride in local mom-and-pop businesses," Mock says. "Plus, there turned out to be plenty of talented East Side therapists who were thrilled to not have to drive in to Beverly Hills to work." Excitement mounted once locals were able to actually experience Dtox's contemporary, minimalist Asian design—a giant Buddha and double waterfall set the tone—and its organic facials, body treatments and massages. Mock fashioned the spa's singularly hip boutique ambiance on a shoestring budget, but wisely brought in an experienced spa consultant to function as spa director and handle training and menu development. Trial-and-error was the name of the game during Dtox's early months. "At first we spent a lot on print ads, but soon discovered our best outlet was search engines," Mock says. "So we had therapists hand out business cards requesting positive Yelp reviews from happy clients." Mock believes that a dedication to service, plus his and King's luck in having established a loyal base clientele prior to the recession, helped Dtox weather the harsh economic storm. Other savvy business tactics

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