Blue Water Spa In the Media
Raleigh Medical Spa Serving Cary, Chapel Hill, Durham, and Surrounding Areas
Triangle Business Journal (September) 2003
New wrinkles add to spa’s bottom line
New wrinkles add to spa’s bottom line
RALEIGH – This story starts with a Broughton High School boy who leaves Raleigh, goes off to medical school and becomes a plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills.
While in California, he meets a spa maven skilled in the arts of collagen injections and microdermabrasion – and he falls in love with her.
This may sound like a plot of a episode of “Nip/Tuck,” the cable television drama centered around a Miami plastic surgeons’ practice. But it’s actually the true tale of a Raleigh native who decided to replant his practice back home, and with the help of his new wife, work a little more pampering into the business plan.
Michael and Kile Law settled Blue Water Spa in north Raleigh in December.
In a lobby that shames most waiting rooms, guests take a seat in sleek blue armchairs just past the water wall, a mesmerizing fluid sheet cascading from ceiling to floor.
Blue Water is half deluxe spa, half medical practice. Kile Law says the goal was to engineer a true hybrid – not a medical spa that offers mere massages, or a place heavy on relaxation but thin on medical knowledge.
“We don’t really need to sacrifice one in order to give the other,” says Kile Law, the company’s president. “What we wanted to do is bring in the best of both worlds.”
She, the California native and self-professed spa junkie, focuses on the spa side of the house. She spent two years as director of education for skin products supplier Pevonia, based in Daytona Beach, Fla., and has designed menus and trained staffers at destination spas such as San Diego’s La Costa Resort and Arizona’s Miraval and The Phoenician.
Michael Law, the Raleigh-bred, Emory-UCLA-trained doctor, performs the medical procedures, from Botox injections to facelifts and other hospital-based surgeries.
Kile Law confesses to feeling apprehensive about launching a high-end medical spa in Raleigh. Beverly Hills is a much more inviting venue – given its population base, deep-pocketed demographic profile and appearance-conscious nature. In the smaller Raleigh market, Blue Water competes against established spas including Iatria, Jolie and Skin Sense.
Nonetheless, Kile Law says, “I’ve been amazed” at the response. Blue Water has performed more than 7,400 procedures in its first nine months. The acceptance level has been high enough that the Laws are planning a second Blue Water Spa in the Triangle, possibly opening as early as 2004.
Some clients come to melt off stress, while others are looking for the fountain of youth at a time when baby boomers are fueling a plastic surgery rush nationally. Americans spent roughly $9 billion on plastic surgery in 2001, says the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Spending grew by 48 percent over 2000.
At Blue Water, about 40 percent of the clients have been men. They are greeted with a spa menu that includes massage, an anti-aging facial, a multi-hydroxy acid peel and Michael Law’s aesthetic surgery procedures. The spa price menu starts at $25 with steam therapy and tops out at $85 with Vichy shower treatments and advanced microdermabrasion, a procedure designed to renew the skin.
“Our most popular services are microdermabrasion and laser collagen remodeling facials,” Kile Law says.
Demand for Botox has been high. A Botox injection smoothes lined foreheads by relaxing muscles. It’s also been lifting plastic surgeons’ revenue. While some practices allow staffers to handle the injections, at Blue Water only Michael Law performs the procedure. “There really is an art to getting the very best out of those procedures,” Kile Law says.
Michael Law chose the current location, 3,000 square feet of new space off Durant Road not far from the golf community Wakefield Plantation. Kile Law flew West Coast professionals to Raleigh to train the staff, which has grown to 11 full- and part-timers.
Blue Water has built its client base by getting its name out the old-fashioned way. Kile Law, who majored in marketing in college, has been making the rounds of business mixers and women business owner functions while juggling the new business and a new baby, Luke, who was born in November. She says Blue Water has donated $15,000 in spa services that local charities may auction off or use as prizes. The spa scrapped its original plan to keep medical hours only during work time from Monday through Friday and has added some weekend and night hours.
Over the next year, Kile Law plans to begin to heavily market her personal line of skin products, which she worked with pharmacists to develop, while growing Blue Water’s following.
“We are looking for people who care about themselves and want to look their best and feel their best,” says Kile Law.