Latest News

Crystal McElroy Named Director of Sales, Universal Spa Equipment

Crystal McElroy, a professional stage speaker and licensed esthetician, joins Universal Companies as Director of Sales for the Universal Spa Equipment division.

Universal Companies announced that Crystal McElroy has joined its team as Director of Sales for the Universal Spa Equipment division. Crystal is an esthetics and spa management professional with a diverse background, including 5+ years of hands on spa and spa management experience, an international spa development background, and import/export experience. She is also a professional stage sales and education speaker and a licensed esthetician.

Brenda Elliott, Universal Companies CEO said, “It is a pleasure to welcome Crystal to Universal Companies. Her experience and understanding of the spa industry will serve our customers well, as she and her team work to help them create a brand, a successful business, and an exceptional spa experience for their clients.”

Prior to joining Universal Companies, Crystal was Executive Brand Director and National Educator for Dermatude, North America. There, she managed the growth of the Dermatude brand for the Americas. Before that, she was Vice President of Education, Sales, and Events for Jayberry LLC, where she oversaw national sales education seminars for multiple clients in the beauty industry and post secondary education. She has also worked with Ritz Carlton, branding the spa division by developing, implementing, and launching new brand strategies.

“I am excited to join the Universal Companies spa equipment specialists,” said Crystal. “I am thrilled to be a part of this team and am looking forward to helping our customers build their spa businesses, whether they are buying new equipment, renovating, or building a new spa.

[Image courtesy of Universal Companies]

Grande Naturals Supports T.E.A.L. for Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

In honor of September being Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, Grande Naturals is aiming to raise $50,000 by September 30th for  T.E.A.L. – Tell Every Amazing Lady About Ovarian Cancer Louisa M. McGregor Ovarian Cancer Foundation. The organization’s goal is to decrease mortality rates by helping women identify signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer and urging them to seek medical help at the earliest possible stages. This organization is dear to the brand as Customer Service & Sales Associate Marc Tull’s mother passed away from ovarian cancer in 2003. Marc and his family have supported the cause for several years and Grande Naturals is eager to support the organization and help make a difference in women’s lives.
To help reach their goal of raising $50,000, Grande Naturals will donate 50% of the proceeds from the limited edition GrandeTEAL Kit on to T.E.A.L.

The GrandeTEAL Kit contains:

· GrandeLASH-MD: A safe and proven formula that helps to improve the appearance of eyelashes in length, fullness, thickness and darkness in 4-8 weeks.

· GrandeMASCARA: A lash boosting formula that gives lashes instant, extreme volume and length plus healthier looking lashes from its peptide blend.

· GrandeLIPS:(Mini-Size) Provides an instant plumping effect in 3-5 minutes and gives your natural lips the appearance of fuller, more youthful lips in 30 days.
The kit retails for $84.95 at In addition, Grande Naturals is also a sponsor of the T.E.A.L. Walk/Run on September 12th in Brooklyn and is hosting fundraisers at local businesses to support the cause.

Agapi Stassinopoulos Announced as Keynote for 2015 Global Wellness Summit


Best-selling author joins Dr. Deepak Chopra as a speaker at this year’s global wellness conference at the St. Regis Mexico City, November 13-15

The Global Wellness Summit (GWS), an annual event that attracts international leaders from across the wellness industries, today announced that Agapi Stassinopoulos, best-selling author and renowned speaker, joins Dr. Deepak Chopra as a keynote speaker at the conference. The conference takes place November 13-15 at the St. Regis Mexico City with the theme of “Building a Well World.”

In addition to sharing inspiration and insights from her book, Unbinding the Heart: A Dose of Greek Wisdom, Generosity, and Unconditional Love, Ms. Stassinopoulos will run two “Thrive” workshops based on her sister’s, Arianna Huffington, book Thrive. The workshops are designed to provide tools to bring the principles of well-being into today’s workplace, encouraging the ability to draw on our intuition, inner wisdom and sense of wonder, as well as our capacity for compassion and giving, so that, ultimately, we can live a meaningful life and thrive.

“As we live and embrace the intelligence and power of our heart, and we share it for the benefit of others, we reveal the essential truth of our lives – opening the doors to enhance our well-being,” said Ms. Stassinopoulos. “It is with great joy that I come to the Global Wellness Summit. I look forward to sharing ideas and insights with so many visionaries who care deeply about health and well-being, and to join forces to bring innovative, new tools to more people so we can help build a better world that is healthy, connected and thrives.”

Stassinopoulos is a much sought-after speaker for the unique wisdom and passion she imparts to her audiences. Accolades for her book and talks are far reaching and include this from Donna Karan: “Agapi shares her heart with us through her personal stories, full of hope and possibilities, and inspires us to open our own hearts to more loving for ourselves and others.” And fellow keynoter, Dr. Chopra says Agapi “is an authentic, genuine, and inspirational writer and speaker who knows how to connect with and move her audience. She brings out the beauty, power, and independence in all of us.”

“It’s a real honor to have Agapi join us at this year’s Summit and to give our delegates a first-hand look at the power of her Thrive workshops,” said Susie Ellis, Chairman and CEO of the Global Wellness Summit.

Whitney Lowe Receives 2015 Humanitarian Award

Image courtesy of Performance Health Brands

The American Massage Therapy Association presented Whitney Lowe, LMT with this year's Humanitarian Award at the AMTA National Convention.

During this year's American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) National Convention, held in Pittsburgh, PA in August, the 2015 Performance Health/Massage Therapy Foundation Humanitarian Award was presented to Whitney Lowe, LMT, by Marshall Dahneke, Chief Executive Officer, Performance Health. Lowe was honored for his efforts in embracing the power of massage and the mission of the Massage Therapy Foundation to promote education and research while serving others.

“This is our seventh year honoring the Performance Health/Massage Therapy Foundation Humanitarian Award winner and we look forward to many years to come. I am grateful to the Foundation for their work supporting and elevating the massage profession through research, education and community service, and for partnering with Performance Health to jointly honor individuals that give so much to others,” said Mr. Dahneke. “This is truly a blessed profession because of the service-minded people it attracts. And Whitney Lowe is another ‘poster child’ of generosity, commitment and leadership.

Upon receiving the award, Mr. Lowe said, “It is a wonderful honor to be recognized by the Massage Therapy Foundation and Performance Health. The massage therapy profession attracts a tremendous number of incredibly dedicated and generous individuals, so I am very grateful to be recognized among them. I am incredibly fortunate to have outstanding work relationships with so many of these individuals over the years and look forward to many more in the future."

Following nine years of post-secondary education, Mr. Lowe authored or contributed to nine foundational books on massage therapy. He has served on numerous advisory and editorial boards and task forces, supporting the advancement of research and promoting improved education across this profession. In addition to the many scholarly books, Mr. Lowe is routinely featured as an author in several professional journals and magazines.

“The Massage Therapy Foundation is pleased to award Whitney Lowe this 2015 Humanitarian Award. He has supported the Foundation in so many ways, with the most recent as an editor for the International Journal of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork,” said Jerrilyn Cambron, LMT, DC, MPH, PhD, Massage Therapy Foundation President. “Thank you, Whitney, for sharing your knowledge, your kindness and your generosity with the massage therapy profession.”

Performance Health, manufacturer and marketer of Biofreeze®, Bon Vital'®, Thera°Pearl®, Prossage®, TheraBandTM and Cramer® health and wellness products, annually partners with the Massage Therapy Foundation to present this award.

In addition to honoring Mr. Lowe at the AMTA Convention, Performance Health donated $2,500 to the Massage Therapy Foundation in his name.

The International SPA Association Announces 2015 Innovate Award Winners


This year's winners showcase creative solutions in the spa industry.

The International SPA Association (ISPA) has announced the 2015 ISPA Innovate Award winners. The ISPA Innovate Awards celebrate ISPA members with creative solutions that were implemented in the last year. This year garnered the most submissions since the inception of the award. Voting by the ISPA membership determined the winners.

“Innovation is the driving force behind growth in the spa industry,” said ISPA President Lynne McNees. “Recognizing the innovation that is occurring within ISPA’s membership will encourage and inspire future ideas.”

ISPA Innovate Award winners by category:

Business Practices

BodiScience Wellness Center & Spa

  • Representative name: Dawn Tardif
  • Representative title: Founder and CEO
  • Ayurvedic philosophy used to empower others to enhance their well-being


  • Representative name: Lisa Edmondson
  • Representative title: National Director of Hospitality and Strategic Accounts
  • Improving lives by changing the sun protection habits of parents and children

Sanitas Skincare

  • Representative name: Lisa Crary
  • Representative title: President and CEO
  • Supporting local charities through buybacks, spa events and employee advocacy


  • Representative name: Heidi Burkhart
  • Representative title: President
  • Social media cancer awareness campaign


Encore Spa at Wynn Las Vegas

  • Representative name: Mary Weber
  • Representative title: Massage Therapist
  • Innovative, powerful massage and relaxation treatment program

Spa Gregorie’s

  • Representative name: Scott Duncan
  • Representative title: President
  • A spa ritual that gives back to community through clients vote

WTS International

  • Representative name: Susie Hammer
  • Representative title: Vice President of Spa
  • A “living wall” of herbs creating fresh air and fresh treatment ingredients


The Comphy Company

  • Representative name: Mia Richardson
  • Representative title: CEO and Founder
  • Luxury spa micro-fiber linens that are visually appealing and sumptuous to the touch


  • Representative name: April Zangl
  • Representative title: CEO
  • Sulfate, paraben and phthalate-free products that tackle imperfections

Living Earth Crafts

  • Representative name: James Chenevey
  • Representative title: CEO
  • Stationary massage chair with built-in sensory technology

The ISPA Conference & Expo Innovate Session will be held on October 21 at 4:15 pm at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, NV, where a select group of award recipients will share their innovations with ISPA Conference attendees. Attendees can register for the ISPA Conference & Expo by visiting

Pevonia International Hosts National Sales Meeting and Launches New Promotional Program

Pevonia International hosted its National Sales Meeting on August 10-13 at its corporate offices in Daytona Beach, Florida.

Pevonia International Account executives from all over the country traveled to Daytona Beach Florida for the National Sales Meeting at corporate headquarters on August 10-13. With a focus on training, recognition and education, the event highlighted new technology, new people and new products. The National Sales Meeting included two days of professional skincare training, which provided Pevonia International Account Executives necessary educational tools to effectively train the prestige professional spa accounts across the USA.

Pevonia also launched school promotional events and contests with the new Event-In-A-Box Program, an all-inclusive program that equips spas with utensils to host a promotional event from start to finish. These tools will stimulate buzz, promote, and sell products generating revenue for the accounts that implicate these resources.

The August focus for the company included packaging this universal marketing strategy with the Spa Teen Selfie Skin Challenge for Back to School promotional efforts. It is a fun and interactive way to attract a new market, push product and service revenue, and get spas, clients, and Account Executives involved.

[Image courtesy of Pevonia International]

Spa News: Spa Industry Surpasses $15 Billion Mark

The International SPA Association (ISPA) released its annual findings of spa industry financial indicators, reporting the industry continues to grow.

The International SPA Association (ISPA) released its annual findings of spa industry financial indicators, reporting the industry continues to grow as it surpassed the $15 billion mark.

In its recent report on what is known as "The Big Five"—total revenue, spa visits, spa locations, revenue per visit and number of employees for the United States spa industry—The International SPA Association (ISPA) has announced that as of 2014, total revenue within the spa industry surpassed the $15 billion mark, up from $14.7 billion in 2013 to $15.5 billion in 2014 (5.3 percent increase).

“It is always an exciting time to reveal the Big Five, as these numbers are strong indicators of the future success and growth of the spa industry. As ISPA celebrates its 25th anniversary, we are proud to report this milestone for the spa industry,” said ISPA President Lynne McNees.

The increase in spa revenues was driven by strong growth in the number of spa visits, estimated to have increased to a record high of 176 million in 2014, up from 164 million in 2013 (6.7 percent increase). As the increase in visits outpaced the rise in spa revenues, there was a slight decline in average revenue per visit, from $89 in 2013 to $88 in 2014 (1.3 percent decrease).

The total number of spa locations rose from 20,180 in 2013 to 20,660 in 2014 (2.4 percent increase). Total employment is estimated to have risen to 360,000 as of May 2015, an increase of more than 10,000 on the May 2014 position (2.9 percent increase).

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) was commissioned to conduct the study by the ISPA Foundation. "This year's study highlights the strong performance in total revenue and number of spa visits. The growth in these areas shows the US spa industry is buoyant and building on the momentum established in the previous year,” said Colin McIlheney, global research director for PwC.

The complete study will be released in late September 2015.

Spa News: Dermalogica Hosts 2015 Congress in Las Vegas

Founder Jane Wurwand addresses the Dermalogica Congress (Image courtesy of Dermalogica)

Dermalogica's first Congress in seven years drew the world's largest gathering of skincare professionals from over 60 countries.

Dermalogica recently hosted its first Congress in seven years at The Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. The two-day summit, themed “Only Connect”, welcomed 2,500 attendees representing more than 60 countries, all of whom are part of the professional skincare industry, including spa and salon owners, distributors, students and staff members.

Congress provided not only an opportunity for guests to connect with each other, but to hear from 33 guest speaker presentations, including leaders from Dermalogica and The International Dermal Institute and other industry experts from around the globe, who shared revolutionary business concepts, retail insights, consumer trends, advances in digital marketing and technology, and new product demonstrations. Based on the high volume of attendees, original content and presentations provided, Dermalogica’s Congress is the world’s largest conference gathering of professional skin therapists hosted by a skincare brand, setting the predication of professional skincare trends across the industry.

Jane Wurwand, founder and chief visionary of Dermalogica and The International Dermal Institute, provided the opening and closing presentations for the two-day summit. Her opening presentation, “Productive Destruction”, gave not only a preview of Congress, but shared insights on how creative disruption is crucial to revolutionizing an industry. Wurwand’s closing presentation, “Only Connect”, emphasized the importance of connecting with the people around us. She explained that with the advancements of technology and smart phones, the idea of connection has never been more essential, and the professional skincare industry has a big role to play in helping people stay connected through the power of human touch.

“The professional skincare industry, although fluid and always changing, is poised to have the greatest impact on our planet of any industry,” said Wurwand. “Because we are really the last industry that reaches out and are literally changing the world with our bare hands. We are touching people with our physical touch, with our emotions and with our kindness.”

Attendees also had an opportunity to hear from Vasiliki Petrou, SVP of Prestige, Unilever, who presented on the future of Dermalogica as a result of its new partnership with Unilever. “The potential we can have together is just unstoppable, unbeatable. This is the unbeatable Tribe,” said Petrou.

Other presenters included Diana Howard, Ph.D., VP of Research & Development, Dermalogica, who presented on the brand’s upcoming new products including Overnight Retinol Repair and Charcoal Masque. Annet King, director of Global Education, Dermalogica, moderated a Q&A with Phillip Picardi, digital editorial director at Teen Vogue, who spoke on how to effectively communicate with the Millennial generation.

Dermalogica’s “Only Connect” Congress, which took two years to plan and was the first of its kind to be held in the United States, welcomed guests who traveled more than 11,000 miles to attend. The international summit’s presentations were translated into 11 languages, including sign language.

For more information on the speakers and presentations that took place at Congress, visit

To watch a brief recap video on Congress, please visit

Join AHSCP for the 8th Annual Holistic Skin Care Conference

The 8th Annual Holistic Skin Care Conference comes to Kalamazoo, Michigan in October 2015!

The 8th Annual Holistic Skin Care Conference will take place on October 4th & 5th in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Join the Association of Holistic Skin Care Practitioners (AHSCP) for this education-packed event, where you will experience the wisdom of wellness. Speakers include Elina Fedotova, founder of Elina Organics, and Dr. Nina Walsh, a naturopathic physician and East-Asian medicine practitioner, who also runs a wellness retreat.

Topics include:

*Safe & Natural Alternatives to Having a Surgical Facelift
*Using Nutritional Response Testing to Address Problematic Skin
*Kneippism & Dynamism
*Esthetics & Oncology
*Nourish Your Soul
*Enemies and Allies of Beauty
*Holistic Microdermabrasion Using Organic Buffing Grains

For more information and to register call 269-384-2170 or email

[Image courtesy of Elina Organics]

American International Industries Hosts Vietnamese-Focused Nail Training Event

A.I.I. hosted a three-day intensive training event to commemorate Tippi Hedren's contributions to the nail industry.

Forty years ago, 20 women made history by becoming the first Vietnamese nail technicians in the U.S. with the help of actress and model Tippi Hedren. Hedren met the women – mostly wives of high ranking military officials – through her volunteer work at the Hope Valley refugee camp near Sacramento. With the assistance of her personal manicurist and a local beauty school, Hedren helped “The First 20” graduate and find work in Southern California. Since 1975, the number of Vietnamese nail technicians has grown to dominate the U.S. and especially the Southern California area with a staggering 80% of licensed nail techs in the southland being of Vietnamese descent. To commemorate this historical event, American International Industries (A.I.I.) hosted what is being called “The Second 20 (plus 3),” a three-day intensive training for three of the Southern California manufacturer’s top nail brands; ibd, EzFlow and SuperNail.

The first class of the special AEC Training hosted by A.I.I.

A.I.I. has long been committed to developing the next generation of talent in the growing nail industry, hosting educational seminars and classes around the world. July 26-29, 2015, the manufacturer and worldwide distributor further supported that commitment by hosting an A.I.I. Educational Consultant (AEC) Training specifically for the Vietnamese nail professional community. Spearheaded by A.I.I. Key Account Manager Kelvin St. Pham, A.I.I. identified 23 up-and-coming as well as established Vietnamese nail professionals from around the country to attend the three-day intensive training with the expectations that the AECs will be able to provide product knowledge and support to the community. Attendees underwent extensive training specifically focused on EzFlow Acrylics System, ibd Hard Gels and Just Gel Polish, and the overall SuperNail line. The classes covered product knowledge, chemistry, technique and presentation skills. Classes were led by A.I.I.’s Lead Educators Terry Burciaga, Teresa Hamm, Vicki Ornellas and Sreynin Peng.

Ms. Thuan Le, one of the first 20 licensed Vietnamese manicurists in the U.S. with AEC trainees Nhi Le and Amanda Pham.

To mark the end of training, the new AEC’s showcased their talent with a nail art competition on Wednesday, July 29th. The artists competed in three categories that included EzFlow acrylics with a summer theme, ibd gel negative space design, and a mixed media design that represented their hometown using a combination of the three brands’ products. The competition was attended by special guest Ms. Thuan Le, one of the original 20 Vietnamese manicurists, who served as a Competition judge.

    Nail art competition winners [top] Anthony Hoang for Summer Acrylics; [middle] Kevin Phan for Gel Negative Space; and [bottom] Sean Phan for Mixed Media.

Trainees proudly acknowledged their role as the next generation of Vietnamese nail stylists, bonding during the recruitment period via social media and over late night study sessions following each day’s class. Before the last session of the training came to a close, AEC Sean Phan gave special thanks on behalf of the entire class to A.I.I. for the opportunity to participate. The group, via Phan, also gave thanks to Ms. Le for the road she and the other members of “The First 20” paved so they could have the opportunities they do 40 years later. “You (Le) are the Godmother of the Vietnamese nail industry and you will always be in our hearts,” said Phan.

A.I.I. was honored to anniversary this monumental event with this special group of nail industry talent. “An overwhelming percentage of our business is Vietnamese based. The footprint you as nail stylists have on the industry is impressive. You have revolutionized the business and made it what it is today, and we are excited to partner with you to help make it better, make it more profitable and more fun all at the same time,” said Mark Moesta A.I.I. Vice President of Professional Sales, as he addressed the group on the final day of training, recognizing them as ambassadors not only for A.I.I.’s brands and the company as a whole, but for the entire nail industry.

[Images courtesy of A.I.I.]