A Spa’s Journey From Family Recipes to Whole Foods to ‘Survival Mode’

“One advantage a small-business owner has is the total freedom to change, adapt, pivot and completely rethink their businesses in order to suit them for now and the future,” said David Sax, author of “The Soul of an Entrepreneur: Work and Life Beyond The Startup Myth.”

The initial step for Ms. Owens and her team was to dust off the Iwi Fresh virtual storefront. “We had a website and an online presence, but there was a lesson learned in gearing things up,” she said. “We took the e-commerce site for granted and had put more energy into our in-house spa services, so while we didn’t have to start from scratch, there were glitches — technical issues that we hadn’t expected.” Now rebooted, online sales have been steadily climbing.

Next, she rebranded. “How do we re-create as a no-touch service?” she said. “I had to think about what we really do — we provide self-care and wellness. We now have to give our customers what they were always getting hands on from a digital perspective.”

To do so, Ms. Owens started the Zero Waste Save Face campaign via the Instagram account. “I host online self-care spa parties and tell people, for instance, how to save fruits or vegetables that may be too ripe to eat and make them into masks for their skin,” she said. “It makes our people feel that we’re still there for them, and these are techniques they can do at home on their own.”

And she and her team created pandemic-related promotions, including quarantine self-care home kits for curbside pickup and delivery. Finally, Ms. Owens offers virtual consultations with clients for $35 for a half-hour session, and is starting fee-based online courses on the elements of skin care.

Although Georgia has permitted the opening of salons and spas, Ms. Owens is holding off until at least mid-June. “I care too much about my staff, clients and their families,” she said. “I didn’t think it was a good idea.”

When Iwi Fresh does open its doors, Ms. Owens will be following state safety guidelines, including no walk-in appointments, an approved sanitation process on tools and equipment, temperature checks, gloves, face masks, and a customer medical questionnaire.

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