How I came to be a spa consultant
I passionately believe Spa can heal the world.
Why such a bold statement? Well, if we nurtured opportunities to truly connect with who we are on a deeper level, we would have little interest in things that do not benefit the whole planet or individual beings. What I love about the spa and wellness industry overall is the fact that we can heal and do good. I believe an authentic spa experience offers an opportunity to connect with who we are at the level of the heart. Facilitated by therapists tapped in to their own healing energy, a brilliant skin care treatment reaches beyond the intention for improving the skin to holding a space for total rejuvenation.
I’ve seen this healing in action with my own eyes time and again growing up in Ireland, as women walked out of my own mother’s skin and wellness centre renewed. My mother initiated me into the world of skincare seminars and conferences in my youth, always teaching me about the quality and condition of people’s skin. She inspired me – a woman with her own business – and her passion for skin care trickled down to me. She gained her independent spirit from her own mother who struggled to raise her family of 8 children as the sole breadwinner after the war. This also fueled my desire to be part of an industry with a predominance of women helping to advance each other’s well being.
My mother guided me through traditions such as Bach Flower Remedies and plants for healing throughout my youth. This way of life spoke to me, and I eventually went on to pursue beauty therapy in Dublin, followed by an in-depth focus on aromatherapy. My curiosity to know more about the power of plants and food on health and wellbeing led me to study macrobiotics at Keintalerhof in Switzerland and at the East West Institute in Toronto. I took this one step further by becoming a certified exercise instructor, and a brisk hike in nature remains a crucial part of my day even now.
If my mother holds the keys to my love of all things skincare, my father rounded out my passion by keeping me close to nature while also instructing me in business. He had an affinity for not amassing ‘things’, but for choosing quality. I was blessed to have grown up in Ireland during tumultuous times as this has given me a deep appreciation of peace, and I share my father’s love of nature and the quietude it brings. To live and work in the beauty of British Columbia was therefore a natural choice for me; it brings me daily peace and keeps me close to nature.
I was drawn to Lions Bay in particular to open a holistic day spa retreat – I did not set out to become a spa consultant or open my own company. What happened next though was that hotels, resorts and individuals contacted me through word of mouth; calling for my help in shaping their projects. As I began to see that my guidance produced great results for them, and importantly for the quality of their guests’ experiences (which in turn paid dividends for their bottom lines); I shifted my focus to helping and consulting to clients in the spa and wellness world.
During this time I also had the good fortune to meet Dr. Franco Gasparri, one of the world’s leading environmental protective cosmetic chemists at the time, and with him in Italy created the range Peau Vive.
I feel lucky that my passion for helping people involves consulting on all things spa and wellness. I get to guide people in bringing their vision to life in a way that has the potential to make the world a better place. It is especially gratifying for me when I can help another person find their financial independence in the spa industry.
~ Vivienne O’Keeffe