ORIGINS OPENS 1ST DAY SPA AT CHELSEA PIERS

Byline: Kim-Van Dang

NEW YORK — “We don’t believe there is just one way of doing business,” said William Lauder, just a few days before Origins Natural Resources opened its first day spa.
Situated in Manhattan’s new Chelsea Piers sports complex, the Origins Feel-Good Spa opened Thursday and is the company’s first foray into the spa service sector. Origins products are also sold in 225 department store doors, and the Estee Lauder division has 21 freestanding units in the U.S.
“This is a great opportunity to differentiate our brand even further,” said Lauder, who is president of Origins.
It is also a way, he said, for his staff to test new products and, while they are at it, to sell some. In its first year, the 1,800-square-foot spa is expected to gross $850,000, according to the company. Lauder estimated that 85 percent of the revenue will be generated by services rendered, with the balance in product sales.
The menu of spa services includes Four Play, a 60-minute massage administered simultaneously by male and female therapists, an acupressure facial, hydrotherapy and therapy with light, which is said to combat stress and seasonal affective disorder, or winter blues.
Services cost $15 to $120, with most in the $50 to $65 range. The company’s entire product line — 400 stockkeeping units of skin care, color cosmetics, essential oils and even herbal tea and relaxation-inducing chewing gum — will be on sale in the new location. In addition, the treatment range has been rounded out with facial masks and massage oils not yet introduced at retail. Designed by Thad Hayes, who created the company’s first retail display units, the eight-room spa is quiet and cocoon-like, with low ceilings and soft lighting.
Accessible only from the men’s and women’s locker rooms at Chelsea Piers’ Sports Center, the spa is meant to be a counterpoint to the giant high-energy gym surrounding it, Lauder said. The entire facility measures 1.7 million square feet.
To prepare, Origins consulted with counterparts who work at EstAe Lauder’s dozen U.S. spas.
“We learned from them about operations, pricing and client flow,” said Daria Myers, vice president of marketing at Origins. “But these are luxury spas skewed toward women. They do a big manicure business. The spirit of Origins is neutral-gendered. We want to attract a male clientele too.” It is no accident, she noted, that Sports Center membership is 60 percent men.
Lauder considers the spa to be an ongoing experiment.
“Our products really lend themselves to [spa] treatments, but the closest we ever came was to offer reflexology in our stores,” he said. “Will we open other spas? If we can find a way of replicating this environment. There are so many intangibles that make replication difficult.”
In another Origins development this week, the company is sponsoring a “sound installation” in a New York subway by artist Christopher Janney called Reach. Passengers on the BMT platform at the 34th Street station will be able to create different sounds by waving their hands, or other objects, across beams of light. The installation opened Wednesday and will stay up for a year.

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