Before opening the doors to Purely You Spa in March 2010, Naples native Jennifer Alvarez Linguidi spent a decade in the hospitality industry. She worked at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort in Naples. She served in a variety of roles, including training staff members, interviewing prospective employees and managing the massage, fitness, tennis and childcare facilities, all focused on exceeding guest expectations.
Jennifer's decision to start an organic day spa was primarily fueled by a health scare and the subsequent toll it took on her body and mind. "I was working full-time while studying and was heavily involved at Florida Gulf Coast University," she said. "I was getting very little sleep, I had a poor diet and I was completely stressed out. All of that was a recipe for disaster. I ended up getting a tumor in my left leg called Fibromatosis. The tumor was growing fast so they removed part of three muscles in my leg, then I had to learn how to walk again. Three months later, the tumor came back and I did chemotherapy. After seven months, the chemo gave me acne, which is how I initially became interested in skin care. I was starting to recover, except I was still dealing with skin issues. I started doing more and more research on lifestyle changes related to skin care.”
Jennifer cleared her acne and her health improved. Along the way, she started helping other people as well. Initially it was for fun, but after realizing the potential to turn her passion into a business, she became a certified Skincare Specialist and has consistently been educating herself on the latest and greatest skin care. After six months of operating out of a small rented space, the demand for Jennifer's services exceeded her capacity.
"That's when I decided to go bigger," she said. "I found a new space and established a vision for what I wanted it to look like. I wanted to make an impact in the lives of others and do something that I love and am super passionate about."
Even though Jennifer's expansion to a larger location was fueled by demand, she was still launching and growing a business in the early aftermath of the Great Recession. As she shared, the major challenge came down to getting the word out and setting herself apart from the competition.
"Our location is hidden and our sign is somewhat unnoticeable," she said. "There's also an unbelievable amount of other companies providing massage and skincare services. To grow the business, I pounded the pavement, became very active in the community, joined networking groups, created relationships and, since opening, have donated over $100,000 in spa services for local charities in the area. Additionally, I am consistently being innovative."
Purely You Spa offers customized and results-oriented Spa treatments that include: facial services, body treatments, waxing services, and Eastern and Western massage services for ladies and gentlemen. What sets them apart are the products they use, their philosophy of being organic, the level of expertise of their specialists, and, as Jennifer mentioned, their innovative technology. There are 17 staff members that all are Specialists in the industry with over 10 years of experience. Jennifer, as a health coach, leads by example.
"We actually haven't formally announced it yet, but we're adding a component of virtual reality to our relaxation services," she said. "We're pairing the inability of people to travel with the need for stress relief. We're also developing some new meditation programs. We’re staying on top of skin care treatments like a botanically-based Dermalinfusion skin 3 in 1 resurfacing technology treatment. It's a non-invasive results oriented treatment to lighten dark brown spots, even skin tone, improve Rosacea, reduce skin inflammation, correct acne and help with softening fine lines and wrinkles."
Jennifer continued, "Additionally, Bemer (Body) Technology is designed to stimulate circulation throughout the body, reduce stress, reduce pain and improve the quality of your sleep."
For Jennifer, the joy comes from helping people experience the same level of results she experienced when dealing with her own health issues. "I really enjoy helping other people on a cellular level all the way to how they look and everything in between," she said. "When people tell me, 'Thank you, you changed my life' or when people say, 'My health has improved or my skin is drastically better'. These are super motivating to me."
Looking ahead, Jennifer's goal is to grow the annual membership of Purely You Spa and to expand in to several other locations. As she grows throughout Southwest Florida, the focus will be on keeping the quality of the experience intact.
What advice does Jennifer have for aspiring entrepreneurs? "Stay true to what you believe in," she said. "Go after your dreams even when others do not see it. Ensure to have a plan, evaluate its effectiveness, and consistently modify the plan to improve. Never settle and always strive to help others and do the right thing. Daily commitment provides huge results."