SPA REVIEWS: Pampered People

Stacy Cox
Stacy Cox

We’ve all heard the expression, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” It would be hard to find anyone who has taken that adage more to heart than Stacy Cox, owner of Pampered People Spa in Los Angeles. Cox, who has built a spa business from scratch, weathered professional betrayal, withstood personal heartbreak and faced down a direct hit from the recession, sums up the entire experience with one simple proclamation: “I didn’t fold.” And she wants to stand proudly with other small business owners and shout, “We didn’t fold! We made it through the worst, and we’re going to keep making it.”

Themes of forward motion and perseverance tell Cox’s story. Pursuing a career in television after college, the L.A. native comfortably gravitated toward the hair, makeup and wardrobe departments. She worked in promotions for Donald Trump and his Miss Universe pageant where, she jokes, she begged him to utter the words “you’re fired” so that she could collect unemployment insurance and go to cosmetology school. Beauty school tips and a loan from her mother enabled Cox to buy her first piece of spa equipment and, in January of 1999, she set up Pampered People in the second bedroom of the apartment she shared with her future husband. “I had zero clients,” she says. “But I had faith in myself that I could nurture women’s egos and appearances. “

Cox slowly built a solid reputation while working part-time at another day spa, selling cosmetics, manning the front desk, doing waxing services and makeup applications—and even giving the occasional facial. “I learned how, and how not, to run a business,” she says. She also began to turn her apartment’s living room into a retail space.

“I realized it was important to ask myself over and over again how to make extra money,” she says. “I found that what I liked, other women also seemed to like. I love the idea that I can support other businesses by selling a candle, a lotion, some lingerie. Retail feels like another way for me to nurture.” —Andrea Renskoff